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5G takes center stage at Mobile World Congress 2021 in Barcelona

Barcelona, Spain | Xinhua | One of the star technologies on show at Barcelona’s Mobile World Congress 2021 (MWC21) this week was 5G, the fifth-generation technology standard for broadband cellular networks. Companies present at the major international trade fair that was called off last year due to the pandemic brought along an array of 5G-based technology solutions to the event that took place between June 28 and July 1.

Chinese tech giant Huawei, for example, showed off its Smart Airport Solution aimed at optimizing the operational efficiency of airports, while Spanish telecommunications multinational Telefonica presented a device developed by the Vertical Green research and development company for remotely monitoring crops.

In recent years, Barcelona has put great effort into turning the city into a 5G hub through projects such as the 5G Barcelona public-private initiative, which has the stated aim of turning the city into “an urban laboratory for the validation and adoption of 5G technologies.”

“This congress is a big shop window where people can see the progress made,” Eduard Martin, director of 5G Mobile World Capital Barcelona, told Xinhua. “At 5G Barcelona, we’ve so far launched 19 trial projects that use 5G technology in the past two and a half years.”

One of those trial projects unveiled on Wednesday is the 5G Autonomous Disinfectant Robot. A joint project of the Mobile World Capital Barcelona initiative, 5G Barcelona, Spanish energy conglomerate Acciona and multinational telecommunications company Orange, the robot is designed to eliminate germs with ultraviolet light in the city’s wholesale food market, Mercabarna.

“Every 5G trial project in Barcelona involving Mobile World Capital seeks to have a return, an economic return, a social return, a practical return, an industrial return, and this is a clear example,” Martin told Xinhua.

Another 5G project on display at the MWC was an initiative from the Catalan regional government to assist drivers in emergency situations. The 5G technology-based system allows operators to remotely take control of smart cars and move them to a place of safety.

“5G is one of the most influential technologies right now. It allows everything to be connected, it has a great capacity for transferring data and low latency, all of which allow us to carry out critical missions,” Daniel Marco, the Catalan government’s director general of innovation and digital economy, told Xinhua.

MWC21 also showed that 5G technology has applications beyond health, safety and mobility, and can also be applied to maximize communication and entertainment experiences. On show at the congress was a device developed by the Newtonlab Space company that can turn a video image into a hologram and transmit it over thousands of kilometers.

After last year’s hiatus, this year’s edition of the MWC was a hybrid event with many activities organized online. Attendance was expected to drop to a third of the more than 100,000 people who normally attend. Yet GSM Association that represents the interests of mobile network operators worldwide that organizes the MWC hopes to get back to normal next year and has already set Feb. 28 to March 3 as the date for next year’s event.



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