Mobile World Congress Shanghai 2017: 13 things to see at the expo

MANILA, Philippines – Mobile World Congress (MWC) Shanghai 2017 is upon us, bringing the latest mobile innovations, smartphones, and other devices to the fore, and setting the stage for the future of mobile with keynote speeches from the world's tech leaders.

This year's MWC, set for June 28 to July 1, is a day longer than last year's (June 29 to July 1, 2016).

Organizing body GSMA expects around 65,000 attendees and 650 participating companies – 12,000 more attendees and 100 more companies than in 2016. The Shanghai New International Expo Centre is again where the action will be, with the expo filling up 8 of its halls.

Here's a map of the halls and what's in each:

Illustration from MWCShanghai.com

Illustration from MWCShanghai.

com

Here are some of the most exciting sights and happenings in these halls:

1. GSMA's first drone racing tourney 

Where: Halls E1 and E2
When: June 28 to July 1

The mobile organization debuts a drone race tournament, with China's top pilots battling 2016 World Drone Prix winner Luke Bannister, 2nd runner-up Maciej Poschwald, and the winner of the Shanghai Flying Cup of Drone Racing in 2016, Hai Lang. 

A "Drone Zone" will also be set up at the Experience Halls, where the latest drone hardware and services will be showcased, in partnership with EJ Krause's International Drone Expo (IDE).

2. MWC Shanghai's "Device City" 

Where: Halls E1 and E2
When: June 28 to July 1

Located at the Experience Halls as well is this area where mobile operators and device manufacturers showcase the latest mobile devices, trends, and products for attendees to see and experience.

The show offered a free "Experience Pass" for members of the public who pre-registered. Regular show passes go for $50. Gold and VIP passes meant for industry attendees go for $1,000 and $1,750, giving access to more exclusive areas.

3. An expert-guided consumer tech tour

Where: Hall W3
When: June 30, 10 am

MWC Shanghai features 4 show tours guided by industry experts: 5G & network function virtualization (NFV); internet-of-things (IoT) & enterprise; an Asia Innovation Tour; and a consumer tech tour.

At the consumer tech tour set for June 30, 10 am, participants will be shown the companies behind the mobile technology that are "advancing sports, lifestyle products, entertainment,and learning." Participants will get to experience the devices as well as talk to some of the creators behind the products.

4. A virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) zone

Where: Halls E1 and E2
When: June 28 to July 1

Among others, HTC Vive will showcase virtual reality experiences in this area, showing off the innovations it has developed recently. HTC will also be headlining the VR & AR Summit on June 30 to talk about the future of the industry, along with other VR and AR players.

Intriguing is the "Mixed Reality - Home Experience" booth that will show how mixed reality (MR), AR, and VR can work together.

MWC Shanghai said of the setup: "Attendees will be able to view an AR apartment floorplan, select their favorite furniture style and color, change the setting in a home environment using MR, and then view their dream bedroom designs with VR glasses and even virtually order furniture online."

5. A mobile multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) tournament featuring "King of Glory"

Where: Halls E1 and E2
When: June 28 to July 1

Chinese MOBA King of Glory takes center stage as MWC Shanghai hosts a tournament for the title. MWC Shanghai highlighted the presence of all-female teams that will compete at the 4-day tourney, such as KA girls club KA, Magic Girls, and DM Girls.

There will be other mobile games, and visitors can vie for 50,000 Chinese yuan (around P366,600) in prizes. Characters from Chinese historical novel "Romance of the Three Kingdoms" will also be cosplayed at the event. 

6. The Asia Mobile Awards (AMOs) 2017

Where: The DaGuan Theatre
When: June 28

The GSMA's AMOs will include 12 awards across 5 categories: 

The AMOs Presentation Ceremony takes place at The DaGuan Theatre in Pudong, Shanghai. 

7. A showcase of 150 startups from all over the globe

Where: Hall W2

Four Years From Now (4YFN) is MWC's startup business platform. In Shanghai, 150 startups from across the globe and their innovations will be on display, culminating with the 4YFN Shanghai Awards 2017 Finale. 

8. The "Innovation City"

Where: Hall W3

At "Innovation City" in Hall W3, the latest mobile products and services for consumers, enterprises, and governments take center stage. More importantly, the GSMA will be featuring its work supporting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as they relate to the mobile industry. 

9. A showcase of Pudong, Shanghai as a smart city model

Where: Hall W1

MWC's Smart City expo frames Shanghai district Pudong as a smart city model, showing off its tech, innovations, smart practices in trade and tourism, and its definition of a smart community. 

10. A discussion on the future of cars

Where: Hall W4/W5 
When: June 30, 11:30 am to 5:30 pm

The future of cars will be discussed at the Connected Vehicle Summit, including the growth of car intelligence, government policies on nascent car technologies, and new lifestyle and business models for car services. 

GSMA predicts that the connected vehicle market wil be worth $358 billion by 2020, and it's been a market prodded along not just by traditional car manufacturers but also internet companies, mobile network operators, and government authorities. 

Topics will range from advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), cooperative intelligent transport systems, traffic safety applications, and remote diagnostics, among others.

11. A discussion on life after smartphones

Where: Halls W4/W5
When: June 29, 11:30 am to 5:30 pm

How can smartphones excite again? As the high-end and middle markets reach a saturation point, MWC's Global Device Summit will tackle which products – even beyond smartphones – can create compelling propositions again or new ways to interact with the digital world. The device industry – even as leaders Apple and Samsung still remain on top – is changing now. What these changes are, and how device makers can create something out of these changes, will be discussed in this summit. 

The related Future Tech Summit, happening on June 30 from 11:30 am to 5:30 pm, peers further into the future, imagining what consumer tech innovation will look like 10, 20, and 30 years from now.

12. Discussing "The Human Element"

That's the tagline for this year's MWC Shanghai, and the words on which the main keynote speeches will revolve around. MWC Shanghai 2017 brings the focus back to people – those who actually use technology, benefit from it, and utilize it to hopefully benefit others and the world around them.

GSMA said of the "human element": "People often think of the digital world as being about technology. Nothing could be further from the truth. Digital is becoming elemental to us, but only because it is fundamentally about people. It connects us to each other, to information and resources beyond our physical reach. A digital world changes the way we relate to our friends; to our workplaces; to our societies and governments. We are more aware of global challenges in the decades ahead… but we have the potential to respond faster and more effectively than ever to those challenges. This is the power of The Human Element."

13. The release of GSMA's "Intelligence Report" for Q2

The organization will be releasing its mobile intelligence report for Q2 2017 during the event. – Rappler.com

Gelo Gonzales

Gelo Gonzales is Rappler’s technology editor. He covers consumer electronics, social media, emerging tech, and video games.

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