Many MWC Barcelona attendees are learning they don’t need to be there to get value from the global wireless trade show. Virtual attendance is growing while actual attendance is still struggling to recover two years after COVID-19 hit. Since the coronavirus is not going anywhere, we are developing new ways to communicate, stay in touch and discuss what’s next in our industry.
Trade shows have always been a great gathering place for people in their industry. They are a great place to see the direction the industry is heading, what’s coming next, and it gives you the chance to mix and mingle with others in your space.
In fact, many people find the next big opportunity for their company or even themselves personally at these shows.
CEOs to front line workers mix and mingle with peers in their industry. Mixing top minds is where many of the best new ideas are hatched.
CES22 attendance was down, but many attendees participated virtually
Last month, we saw how the Consumer Electronics Show was struggling to get CES22 attendance back on track. That was a quiet show compared to the past. Yet people are finding new ways to participate, virtually.
With regards to in-person attendance, I think we can expect the same from the upcoming MWC22. This is a worldwide wireless trade show. Companies from around the globe want to participate.
The problem is the people. Many attendees are still fearful of the pandemic.
At some point, I think things will start getting back to normal. However, we are not there yet. Today, companies are struggling trying to find new ways to communicate with the world about their progress and their plans going forward.
Companies change how they communicate using Zoom, Skype, Teams
Executives at every company need to understand there has been a sea change in the last two years. As we look forward, we see how we will be stuck in this mode for a while.
Fortunately, we have been moving in this same direction for years with new conference calling apps like Zoom, Skype, Microsoft Teams and others.
The pandemic has only accelerated this ongoing trend to very high levels.
All that being said, because people are different, I think it will take time for trade shows like MWC Barcelona and CES to gear back up to speed with in-person attendance.
It will likely continue to increase, show after show until we eventually get back to normal.
Wireless growth remains healthy and in many different directions
That does not mean companies or industries are sitting still.
Wireless companies are flourishing. The wireless industry is healthier than ever and growing faster than ever in a wider variety of directions.
· Consider wireless network builders like Qualcomm, Ericsson, Nokia and even Huawei.
· Consider handset and tablet makers like Apple iPhone, Google Android, Samsung Galaxy and so many others.
· Consider wireless networks like Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile, AT&T Mobility and all the MVNO resellers like Xfinity Mobile, Spectrum Mobile, Altice Mobile, Dish, Cricket Wireless, Vision and countless others.
· Plus, there are countless companies who provide expertise, products and services in various parts of the wireless industry.
Qualcomm, Ericsson, Nokia, Apple, Android, Verizon, T-Mobile, AT&T
Bottom line, wireless as an industry continues to show the strongest growth in history with 5G, artificial intelligence, IoT, AR, VR automated driving, telehealth and healthcare and so much more.
With or without the pandemic, wireless, as an industry, continues to grow faster than ever before. I see this continuing as we move forward.
So, don’t let soft attendance numbers of MWC22 or CES22 fool you. They will be on an ongoing recovery curve as we move forward over the next few years.
Wireless continues to be an incredibly strong growth engine and that will only continue.
It’s the trade show business with people mixing and mingling in close quarters that is still struggling. And that will continue for a while longer.