In 2020, due to the Coronavirus-led pandemic, one of the world’s biggest tech events, the Mobile World Congress (MWC) was canceled. It was much like other in-person events that got canceled last year. However, this year, despite the risk of virus spread, organizers are planning on an in-person event, even if attendees are not vaccinated against the virus.
In a recent interview, John Hoffman, the CEO of GSM Association (GSMA), the firm which organizes the event, said that more than 100,000 people attend the MWC each year. This year, however, the CEO expects this number to go down to 50,000. So, if the event is held physically instead of virtually on online platforms, it could easily turn into a Coronavirus spread-fest.
“We could have done it virtually, but in person we could take the learnings”, stated Hoffman in the interview. “Our view is it would be great if the world was vaccinated, but we can’t rely on that in 2021,” he further added.
On its safety and security page, the organizers are claiming to provide “the best level of protection at the event”. They are reportedly working with Fira Barcelona, one of the biggest trade fair institutions in Spain, to maintain the crowd and keep them safe.
Now, although testing negative for COVID-19 might be useful, it is still not safe to hold an in-person event. Due to the ongoing global crisis which started early last year, we have seen many major companies pull out from MWC 2020. The organizers still tried to make the event physical by taking necessary safety measures last year. But alas! It got canceled for good reasons.
Nonetheless, GSMA insists on holding the event physically this year. However, the organizers have established various safety-guidelines for attendees to follow during the event. So, despite the risk of spreading the virus, MWC is currently planned to be held as an in-person event in June.