view of Barcelona from a plane window
PHOTO: Alana Harris

In a few weeks, more than 2,400 global technology companies will converge at the GSMA MWC Barcelona 2020, aka Mobile World Congress, to showcase the latest in mobile technology. We can expect 5G to again be a major conversation driver for powering the convergence of artificial intelligence (AI), big data and Internet of Things (IoT) in what the conference is dubbing as “an Era of Intelligent Connectivity.”

Beyond 5G powering consumer devices and applications, AI in the enterprise will be a major theme this year. The conference is taking place Feb. 24 to Feb. 27. Here are four enterprise technology topics being covered that I am looking forward to.

AI Applications in the Enterprise

After years of hype, MWC Barcelona attendees can look forward to seeing the real potential of AI in the areas of autonomous driving and robots in the workplace, as well as hear what others are doing to ensure diversity, promote ethics and eliminate algorithmic bias. In partnership with NVIDIA, an AI Innovation Center will also present opportunities in wireless radio access networks and cloud-native telco infrastructures that power enterprise systems.

One of my favorites every year is the Transformative AI Tour, which is held twice daily and takes attendees on a tour of companies that are leveraging various types of AI. You’ll see enterprise demos using machine learning, machine vision, deep learning and neural networks to gain business value from over 44 Zettabytes of data generated by IoT. This tour helps attendees cut through the thousands of companies and learn specifically about AI in the enterprise. 

Related Article: Why AI Isn't Mainstream in the Workplace Yet

Customer Experience Continues to Evolve

Mobile devices and apps have been the catalyst for accelerating customer expectations for faster and more seamless engagements — from network speed to frictionless onboarding to payments. As a result, customer engagement remains one of the toughest battlegrounds to win new customers and build loyalty. It is why I look forward to visiting the Customer Engagement track to get a pulse on how B2B and B2C organizations are integrating technology, connectivity, data and personalization into unforgettable, immersive experiences.

Also relevant to enterprises is the convergence of physical and digital commerce and the speed in which brands are enabling customers to purchase goods and services. It is usually a sign of what is to come to the enterprise within 18 months.

Digital transformation case studies are always inspiring to hear. This year, I look forward to hearing how Telefónica transformed its business from the inside out, comparing how Openet and Salesforce gained value by leveraging data to better understand customers, and hear the customer service debate of chatbots vs. human touch. There are many marketing technology sessions that you will want to take back to your organization. 

Related Article: The Evolution of Customer Experience Leads Back to the Employee

Industry X: The Fourth Industrial Revolution

If you want to be inspired by emerging technologies and applications, then Industry X is for you. It is a track culminating several new technologies, emerging business models and innovative approaches to Industry 4.0, also referred to as the Fourth Industrial Revolution — where there is human-machine collaboration. Digital transformation, enterprise information and communication technology (ICT) and cloud systems, the future of transportation, cities and aerospace all fall under the  umbrella of Industry X.

This track offers a range of fireside chats like How to Embed an Innovation Culture, Best Practices for Fundraising and Acquisitions, The Making and Mechanics of a Unicorn and Digital Supply Chains of the Future. You can also take a look at industries in action within various verticals and demos.

Related Article: CES 2019: Weeding Through the Tech Haze to Uncover Business Value

The Networking

The best part of MWC is networking and meeting brilliant people from both global companies and fast-growing startups. The organizers created several networking events to give attendees options relevant to their interests.

To promote diversity and inclusion, the conference is hosting Women4Tech for women to connect and share strategies for success. During the first three days of the conference there will be several panel discussions, networking activities and awards that celebrate diversity in tech and industry leadership. Empowerment coaching sessions will also be offered. Not just for women, the Women4Tech Summit is being held on Feb. 24 with highly relevant topics on transforming the workplace, empowerment and innovation in emerging technologies.

These are just four topics from the seven tracks on offer at MWC Barcelona this year. Other categories you may find interesting are Connectivity: The 5G Era; Media & Entertainment; Our Planet; and Security & Privacy. To maximize your time at the conference, plan your agenda ahead of time, venture into at least one session within Industry X to get a taste of what other industries outside of yours are doing, and download a business card scanner app that can read multiple languages.