What’s new at MWC Barcelona 2020?

MWC Barcelona 2020 is back for another year and better than ever, offering access to more than 2,800 exhibitors and conference sessions packed with insights from the top names in tech. This year, there’s even more to explore. Mobile World Daily's Diana Goovaerts spotlights new features making their mark on the show in 2020.

Showroom shakeup

MWC Barcelona 2020 is shaking things up with a show floor makeover! Key changes include the addition of a new keynote auditorium and networking piazza in Hall 4.

A new manufacturing pavilion is coming to Hall 8.0, where Tech Mahindra will host a demonstration of a miniature factory powered by the networks of the future. Hall 8.0 will also house Deep Tech EU, an eye-opening showcase of leading-edge technologies from European flagships spanning wearables, data communications, AI and more.

Attendees looking for a quick place to recharge in between sessions and demos can stop by a new mindful touch relaxation lounge from Natura Bisse Wellness in Hall 8.0, which will offer a unique 15-minute treatment experience that combines a skincare ritual with virtual reality.

In Hall 7, guests can also catch a glimpse of a 5G hologram, which will showcase how technology can revolutionise live experiences in music, media and entertainment.

Elsewhere, attendees will be able to visit an expanded exhibition area in Hall 2, while those looking for some privacy will appreciate a new three-level executive meeting room hub in the South Village with more than 100 premium suites.


4 Years From Now (4YFN) is getting a new home, doubling its footprint in a move from Hall 8 to Halls 1 and 2 of Fira Montjuic to accommodate continued growth. Some 25,000 guests, 800 startups and exhibitors, 1000 investors and 400 speakers are expected to participate in the programme’s seventh year.

This year the programme will feature new hubs to draw attention to key verticals, including fintech, intelligent connectivity and health and wellness. Each hub will include a start-up showcase, targeted networking opportunities and a one-day summit to connect investors, corporations and entrepreneurs.

The 4YFN venue will also host a new experience called xside, which will bring together start-ups, designers, content creators and developers to explore the role that technology and innovation can play in shaping the future of creativity. Learn more about xside’s exciting mix of day and evening programming on Page 16.

A free shuttle will run between the Fira Gran Via North Entrance and Fira Montjuic every 5 to 7 minutes between 7 am and 9 pm.


Women4Tech heads into its fourth year with an expanded set of activities and events. Headlining the programme is the Women4Tech Summit, which will bring together thought leaders from across the tech industry in a series of keynotes and panel discussions to address this year’s theme of “Demonstrating How Diversity is Good for Business”.

Two exclusive industry awards will be presented during the summit, including the Women4Tech Industry Leadership Award, which will recognise initiatives by individuals or organizations that encourage and retain women and girls in the tech industry. New this year will be an award recognising Diversity in Tech, celebrating organisations which champion equality, diversity and human rights.

Also new to the Women4Tech programme this year is an empowerment coaching activity which will connect attendees with professional coaches to share advice about how to elevate their careers. The coaching sessions will focus along three different tracks: “Breaking Down Barriers: When and How to Call out Bias”; “Becoming an Authentic Leader”; and “Diversity and Demonstrating Your Worth”.

Biometric is back

MWC and Comba Telecom are once again teaming up to make conference entry a BREEZ, allowing even more attendees to access the show using facial recognition technology.

Last year GSMA pioneered the use of Comba Telecom’s ScanViS facial recognition solution (implemented via the BREEZ system) at all MWC entry points across the Fira Gran Via, offering the service as an opt-in alternative to registered attendees for secure venue entry without the need to show a passport or EU National ID each time. Following a positive response in 2019, 4YFN is using the technology to support a ‘badgeless’ event, with attendees now able to enter the event without the need for a badge.

The system enables rapid verification, which takes an average of one second to complete. No images are stored as part of this process, and facial points used for identification are immediately destroyed after authentication is completed to ensure user privacy.

Comba Telecom noted its ScanViS solution is designed to be used in private venues and other locations where a high level of security is needed. Beyond MWC, Comba Telecom said ScanViS has been employed for a range of use cases.

The company revealed ScanViS is already being used in an operator data centre and commercial centres in Hong Kong for staff attendance and visitor entry management, and in residential towers and clubhouses to protect residents and members from unauthorised entries. Other benefits of ScanViS include the prevention of card swapping and removing the need for the issue and cancellation of temporary pass cards when a person forgets or misplaces their access card.

The technology has also been deployed in an elder care facility in Hong Kong to help keep staff attendance and manage visitors, while improving hygiene by avoiding the need for physical check-in devices.

Attendees can enable BREEZ access by logging into their MWC registration account to grant consent and upload a photo for their biometric profile.

What else?

MWC is putting the spotlight on climate concerns this year, hosting its first ever Our Planet Summit in the Ministerial Programme area in Hall 4 on Thursday, 27 February. The full day summit will analyse the role the mobile sector has to play in supporting the transition to a net zero carbon economy and highlight climate initiatives already in progress.

Also new is an expanded programme from mSchools Changing Education Together in Hall 8.0, comprising a one-day seminar for educators and mobile industry leaders to explore and debate the role of technology in education, digital citizenship and the future of work. Previously a closed event, mSchools will now be open to all MWC Barcelona attendees to come tackle tough questions about what technology policies make sense in an educational context and how best to equip students for the future.

For those extending their stay in Barcelona through the end of the week, there’s one more treat in store. All MWC attendees will be eligible to sign up for a free ticket to visit Formula 1 pre-season testing at the Circuit de Barcelona track on Friday, 28 February.

Free tickets can be secured by visiting http://mwc.circuit.cat and following the ticketing process, using discount code MWCF1 at checkout. Attendees will be responsible for arranging their own transportation to the track, and tickets must be shown at the entrance.

Of course, this list is just a sampling of the many programmes and events on offer at MWC. As always, there will be plenty more to see and do! Be sure to share your favourite moments on social media using the hashtag #MWC20.