Ibrahim Kholilul Rohman, Research Fellow at UNU-EGOV, provides some insight of the Mobile World Congress 2017, which took place in Barcelona, Spain, between 27 February and 2 March 2017. The congress, organized by GSMA, is a combination of the world’s largest exhibition for the mobile industry and a conference with experts and speakers representing mobile operators, device manufacturers, technology providers, vendors, and content owners from across the world. This year’s edition was attended by more than 100,000 participants comprising professionals from almost all countries of the world. The event was covered by approximately 3,500 members of the international press and media and there were more than 2,300 companies present during the exhibition, which spanned nine halls and eleven outdoor spaces at the venue. The stream of exhibitions encompassed connected cars, virtual reality, new handsets and ingenious app ideas, 3D printing, privacy protection and back-end solutions. Visitors were able to experience impressive demonstrations of the most cutting-edge mobile enabled products and services in the world today.
Ibrahim joined the event together with the delegation of the Ministry of Information and Communications, Government of Indonesia, led by Prof. Ahmad Ramli and Dr. Denny Setiawan. As an archipelago country, Indonesia is currently trying to have a breakthrough policy on digital divide: the most efficient technology is needed to connect the utmost islands, the border and the unserved areas with the most efficient and reliable broadband connection. As telecommunications and mobile telephony in particular have been part of our everyday life with a greater degree of intensity over time (1G system and the subsequent 2G, 3G and 4G systems), we can expect wider benefits with the new 5G technology, ranging from virtual reality, artificial intelligence, robotic, and beyond. Such technology will potentially shift our paradigm on smart city, environment, energy, health, education, transportation system, and ultimately serve as a key driving factor creating employment and economic growth, with particular focus on developing countries where mobile telephone has been playing an important catalyst for socio-economic transformation.