Before it becomes nothing more than a fuzzy, Cava-tinged memory, we thought it would be useful to capture some of the Metaverse-inspired content that was on display at this year’s MWC Barcelona event.
MWC (formally know as Mobile World Congress) is an annual trade show organised by the GSMA (Global System for Mobile Communications Association), an industry organisation that represents the interests of mobile network operators worldwide.
Following a two-year hiatus brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic, Fira Barcelona welcomed over 60,000 physical attendees between 28th February ad 3rd March. This was down from previous years that had seen over 100,000 people attending and resulted in a generally more pleasant experience – as opposed to the crowded walkways of 2019.
The Metaverse was on most people’s lips at this year’s show and was evident in most places, with device manufacturers, network equipment providers, and representatives of wireless carriers all covering it off in some shape or form.
Meta’s Chris Weasler discussed how the Metaverse works and what it means for telcos, businesses, consumers, and the economy. Meta also spent time pointing out that home and cellular networks aren’t yet ready for the Metaverse and that it won’t be possible without improvements.
SK Telecom’s stand was dominated by their "4D Metaverse" virtual reality ride which took four people at a time on a flying taxi ride through a futuristic cityscape. Adjacent to this was a virtual concert booth with Dua Lipa’s “Don’t Start Now” on rotation and Ifland, SK Telecom’s Metaverse platform. Ifland, which was launched in July 2021, was reportedly seeing 1.1. million monthly active users by the end of last year.
Qualcomm were busy showcasing their research and development in the areas of augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies. Qualcomm’s President and CEO Cristiano Amon talked further about the company’s investment in research and development into devices which connect the physical and digital world and predicted that “[the Metaverse] can be as big as smart phones, especially if you think about glasses that we all can wear as a companion to your smart phone”.
On other stands Accenture invited visitors to “enter the Metaverse” and HTC were demonstrating VIVERSE, an open inclusive Metaverse platform, that provides universal access via a cryptocurrency wallet and allows users to travel “seamlessly” between different virtual worlds.
While note quite yet “Metaverse World Congress”, expect more of the same in 2023.