How did brands do at #MWC23?

If anyone still doubts the resurgence of the European live events industry, MWC 2023 should put your mind at rest.

The world’s biggest telecoms and connectivity technology show was back to its best, with massive crowds, enormous stands, and plenty of interesting insight for people whose job is to engage live audiences.

We’ve been helping our clients cut through and deliver ROI at big shows like this for decades, so there are few things we find more interesting than the innovation and creativity on display in the MWC exhibition halls.

So what did we see at MWC23?

Imagine big screens differently

MWC is a hectic environment, it’s busy, noisy, and there’s a ton of flashy visual content vying for your attention at every moment. Some brands who captured that attention most effectively did it with large-scale LED screens.

Screen technology has reached a point of versatility where creativity is really the only limit on what can be achieved. Despite that, we still see large expensive screens displaying safe B2B messages - we’ll mention no names - rather than using dynamic animation and LED’s new capabilities to cut through more effectively.  

Two great examples, Etisalat and Telefonica, were absolutely not guilty of this. Their curved and spherical screens flowed seamlessly in and around their builds, lighting up the show floor and drawing the eye like beautiful, brightly lit beacons. 

Innovative LED screens at MWC23

The meta-where?

Although the metaverse featured heavily on the MWC conference agenda, on the show floor it was tough to spot anything truly game changing. Meta’s presence was remarkably low key, but that didn’t stop brands throwing around the M-word with abandon.

There was little in the way of anything genuinely new though, and a dispiriting lack of clarity on what exactly qualifies as ‘metaverse’. For more on this, read Wired’s ‘Inside the metaverse hype train at MWC 2023’ (warning, contains cynicism).

Jim Nokia VR Experience

That said, there was no denying the crowd-pulling power of VR – here’s our Creative Director Jim strapping into Nokia’s canoeing experience. “It looked fun as a bystander, but the lack of realism meant it didn’t quite cut the mustard as an immersive experience,” he said.

Exhibitors showcased VR use cases in remote piloting robots and vehicles, or for training and learning. And SK Telecom’s VR quadcopter air taxi experience attracted a massive queue of eager experiencers throughout the show.

SK telecom VR experience MWC 23

Hands-on experiences draw crowds

This is a show firmly rooted in hardware, so it’s no surprise brands were eager to get their technology into people’s hands.

Hands on at MWC23

And while MWC will always feature rows of up-lit tables with assorted mobile handsets for delegates to finger, this year we saw some remarkable examples of new technology demonstrated in interesting ways.

The possibilities for superfast 5G connectivity were a central theme, and Samsung’s visually impressive OLED EVD hyper connectivity installation effortlessly delivered the concept of remote vehicle operation, demonstrating the product in a compelling way with little explanation required.

Samsung remote EVD at MWC23

And we saw some great interactive use cases for remotely operated robots, like this surgical bot that enabled users to have a stab at operating the surgical arms, delivering a complex story at a glance.

Robots were everywhere, from humanoid personal companions, to climbing robots, to turbine repair devices. We saw an interactive robot that reminded us of R2D2 on Jabba the Hut’s pleasure barge - rolling around handing delegates printed marketing collateral.

We saw our design Director Seb transported from the show floor into one of Vive’s impressive virtual studios - ideal for livestreams where you want to deliver hybrid content from venues with limited space.

Seb in the virtual studio at MWC23

Clever design

Brands go big at MWC, and this was evident in some of the beautiful design elements. We loved the way this stand used big, bold colours as a simple way to create distinct zones, for instance.

Clever design at MWC23

iLovePDF created an interactive wall that invited delegates to submit three responses, which then lit up before their eyes. Simple, on-brand, and a clever way to capture delegate conversations.

IlovePDF at MWC23

The Spanish government’s pavilion featured a lightweight, reusable system that not only improved the sustainability performance of the project, but defined the entire look and feel of the stand in a pleasing way.

Spain's sustainable stand MWC23

Nokia unveiled their new brand at MWC23, and they did it with arguably the most eye-catching and impressive build at the show. It was Nokia, but not like we’ve ever seen them. Despite not being able to set foot in the invite-only part of the main stand, the exterior build made a serious impression. An immersive tunnel of LED screens was a visual spectacle. As you walked along the outer perimeter it revealed the entire stand was built to form the new logo. A hell of a way to launch a rebrand. Very smart!

Nokia at MWC23

It’s never too early to start planning for MWC24. If you’re wondering how you’ll cut through the noise at next year’s show, let us help you translate your brand story into a 3D exhibition experience that’ll maximise budget and deliver results.  Get in touch
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