Mobile World Congress 2018 – Call for Papers

It’s that time of year again – submissions for Mobile World Congress 2018 are being accepted from 26th June – 27th September via our online Call for Papers Portal.

This your chance to be part of the 350-strong speaker line up and get in front of the 23,000+ attendees (20% C-level, 25% VP/EVP/SVP and 25% Director/Senior Director) from the telecoms, tech and media world that make up the conference audience at Mobile World Congress.

As well as booking in time for a Summer Research Briefing with the team, we encourage all companies that would like the opportunity to present at Mobile World Congress to prepare a brief submission that outlines their speaking proposal. This includes background information on the company, the speaker, how the session will be presented and any other details, for example if the session will include a demo and how that might run on the day.

Last year alone, we received a record-breaking 2,300 submissions. And yes, we read them all! We are often asked why some submissions are selected whilst others aren’t. Although it’s not possible for us to provide individual feedback on each submission, in this post, members of the content team have shared their thoughts on the submission process, as well as top tips to ensure that your proposal grabs our attention and stands out for all the right reasons.

We’re looking for innovation, originality, and above all, a compelling story that ties in to the key themes and topics for the event.

Here’s a reminder of the key themes that shaped the MWC Conference agenda in 2017. The 2018 themes will be published in the coming weeks.
• Consumer IoT
• Content, Media and Entertainment
• The UN Sustainable Development Goals
• The Fourth Industrial Revolution
• The Network
• Technology Platforms
• Innovation/Disruption

Mobile World Congress 2018: Research Timeline & Milestones

Avoid buzzwords

When reading through thousands of submissions, standing out can be tricky and some fall into the trap of simply listing buzzwords or clichés. Phrases like “Data explosion is having a severe impact”, or “The race to 5G is on” won’t differentiate a submission. Rather, those that explore the direct impact of the message they are hoping to share with the audience at MWC will have greater impact.

Utilise the sections of the form to structure your submission

It is also important to structure your submission well whilst also being succinct and insightful. A great example of a future looking submission that was informative and packed with relevant data, straight to the point but also fun and quirky, was the Small Robot Company. The submission had a logical flow and presented the nature of the challenges in a very clear and concise way in the summary, then followed that up in the main body of the submission with an engaging and informative narrative. This is a great example of how to optimise the different sections. A strong submission uses the abstract to define a problem or solution in an engaging way – that makes you look forward to reading the full proposal.

Collaboration and sustainability are key

We want to see great examples of collaboration across the sector, showcasing the diversity and complexity of the connected mobile ecosystem. And most importantly, we want to understand a company’s sustainability; how is your company going to continue to make such fantastic impacts in the regions/sectors that you function in? A recent submission by Medical Aid Film captured the passion of the project so well, that the team had to get on a call with them as soon as possible. And as a result, this small, exciting media company will be presenting on the main stage at the our largest M360 event in Tanzania.

Point to research and results

Drawing on research or reports can also be valuable to draw on insights that support and strengthen your submission. Including relevant data and statistics an also be very impactful. For example, a submission from Telstra on Millennials, Mobiles and Money summarised an original research report on millennials and their mobile app behaviour using data analytics. The report illustrated how data analytics can be used to create personalised experiences for millennials and the submission clearly stated the study objectives and summarised the key findings and included some insightful data points. We see lots of examples of original research throughout the CFPs but this one was particularly well-written, succinct and insightful. It also provided recommendations for institutions on developing new business models, using insights from the report.

Everyone loves a demo

Some of the most engaging sessions are the ones that include a live demo, or make use of the staging and AV available at the Fira to do something different and unique that really brings the subject to life. We’re always keen to make the most of the excellent production facilities available to us and the fantastic staging. The live unveiling of the latest Roborace car, Nokia keynote 5G v 4G remote control car demo and the Ericsson live demo of 5G tactile robotic surgery at Barcelona last year are both fantastic examples of this.

The session on 5G Impact! started as a comment in a meeting… “why don’t we bring the stand-out 5G demos from the exhibition into Hall 4?”. The result was 90 minutes of demos showcasing the incredible breadth of technology being shown at MWC on one stage. We overcame some intense logistical and functional challenges to be able to showcase tactile haptic gloves, remote medicine demos and latency demonstrations, among others.

Achieving greater diversity across GSMA events

We are keen to have as diverse a speaker line-up as possible, but we need your help to do this. We receive a disproportionately low number of submissions from senior female speakers, in particular. The GSMA is committed to closing the gender gap in the telecoms and wider tech sectors, in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goal #5: To achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.

Women4Tech is a GSMA programme designed to address the gender gap in the mobile and wider tech communities. It focuses on industry action for female leadership in the digital age. To discover more about the Women4Tech programme and its activities, please visit GSMA’s websites: Mobile World Congress, 4YFN or Mobile 360 Series or drop the team a line at: women4techteam@gsma.com

Our top picks

It is extremely difficult for us to pick a favourite session, not just because the standard this year was particularly high, but also because we as Research Managers spend months developing the topics and become emotionally invested in each one. We wanted to share just a couple of the teams’ top sessions from 2017.

The AI Assisted Society – Digital Health and Beyond panel had the audience gripped the entire time, a real testament to the pre-event preparation of the panellists. The seniority of the speakers also meant that the conversation could take a holistic approach, featuring for example, the CEO of Orange Healthcare.

The Artificial Intelligence: Chatbots and Virtual Assistants session was one of the most popular this year in terms of attendance. The subject is of course hugely topical – chatbots and virtual assistants are ground breaking product innovations that will have far ranging and as yet unforeseen consequences. It was also great to be able to hear from the leaders in this field like IBM and Google as well as from smaller companies like Sage and Dashbot.io. The full line up was:

• Moderator: Cliff Raskind, Senior Director, Smart Devices & IoT, Strategy Analytics
• Gummi Hafsteinsson, Product Management Director, Google Assistant
• Rob High, IBM Fellow, VP, CTO Watson, IBM Watson
• Alex Jinsung Choi, CTO, SK Telecom
• Kriti Sharma, Director, Bots & AI, Sage
• Arte Merritt, CEO & Co-Founder, Dashbot.io

Disruption in Digital Finance featured a really diverse mix of speakers from payments providers, a mobile operator, a banking AI/chatbot provder and retail banks. Each speaker provided their own perspective on disruption in digital finance and how it influenced their companies, products and the financial services industry. This was an example of great pre-session prep by the moderator and the format used a mix of presentations, fireside chats and a group discussion which added variety to the session.

• Moderator: Samee Zafar, Director, Edgar, Dunn & Company
• Rocky Scopelliti, Global Industry Executive, Telstra Corporation
• Pere Nebot, CIO, CaixaBank
• Anuj Nayar, Head of Global Initiatives, PayPal
• Dror Oren, Co-Founder & VP, Product, Kasisto
• Gulru Atak Gundem, Head, Global Innovation & Dublin Lab, Treasury & Trade Solutions, Citi

 

We hope that this has provided some useful insight into what makes a strong submission for Mobile World Congress and look forward to receiving your proposals now that the Call for Papers is open.