Future First: eco and its Members Look to the Future at MWC 2024

Together with member companies, eco – Association of the Internet Industry took part in the Mobile World Congress 2024. At the joint NRW stand, eco, VS-Apps, VIVAI and Janado showcased solutions for the Internet of Things of the future. Dr. Bettina Horster, Head of the eco IoT Competence Group, represented North Rhine-Westphalia as a business location. eco member Huawei offered a guided tour with a networking lunch.

In 2024, around 100,000 technology enthusiasts, industry leaders and visionaries once again flocked to the Fira Gran Via in Barcelona for the Mobile World Congress (MWC). With 1,100 speakers and 2,700 exhibitors and sponsors, the MWC is one of the largest technology conferences of the year. Groundbreaking innovations, future technologies and industry trends were showcased from 26 to 29 February. The MWC has established itself as one of the leading trade shows for IoT, infrastructure, technology and related applications.

This year, eco was once again part of the NRW joint stand organised by NRW.Global Business and Messe DĂĽsseldorf. For the second time, Dr Bettina Horster, Head of the eco IoT Competence Group, represented North Rhine-Westphalia as a business location.

“Together with outstanding exhibitors, as partners, NRW.Global Business and eco formed an impressive team at MWC24. We were able to expand our network during these days to avail of the latest technologies in the areas of apps, web and cloud in the future,” said Marco Bellof, Managing Director, VS-Apps, at the joint presence at the shared stand.


eco am NRW-Gemeinschaftsstand beim MWC
Aussteller am NRW-Gemeinschaftsstand beim MWC


As the core of the Mobile World Congress continues to revolve all around connectivity, infrastructure was a recurring topic in all areas of the trade fair.

  • 5G
  • Digital Everything – Focus on IoT
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Hardware Innovation
  • Sustainability

5G acceleration

As 5G access continues to grow, so does the demand for improved efficiency. Open RAN was one of the most important topics of the conference. By decoupling infrastructure and software, Open RAN promises a more flexible and interoperable RAN ecosystem. Key benefits include faster deployment and scaling of network infrastructure, lower investment and operating costs, and improved security.

The IoT and 5G revolution

The central role of the Internet of Things (IoT) and 5G networks in digital transformation was explicitly highlighted. From smart home solutions to precision agriculture, seismic activity monitoring and greater sustainability through digital solutions, these technologies are changing our interaction with the world around us. The potential for smart cities with improved energy efficiency, optimised mobility and enhanced security is evidence of the transformative power of IoT and 5G.

Digital Everything

In addition to the classic IoT application areas – smart cities, smart buildings, smart homes and smart factories – other industries and solutions that leverage the benefits of 5G and IoT were also showcased. Digital health took up a lot of space, showcasing innovative projects and approaches that are still relatively in their infancy. However, the food industry value chain, as well as sports and entertainment, have also recognised the central role of the interaction between 5G and IoT, and exhibitors showcased their solutions.

This shows that the IoT sector continues to grow strongly and that a number of innovations can still be expected in this field. Due to the increasing sector-wide digitalisation, there is also a growing demand for proprietary applications in the B2B environment, especially in the manufacturing sector. In this sector, the eco member VS-Apps, a co-exhibitor at the NRW joint stand, focuses on individual app solutions. “In recent years, companies have made significant progress in the development and use of business apps for customer retention and process automation. Some have realised that digital transformation is a key to greater competitiveness,” stated Florian Schulz, Managing Director of VS-Apps.

Artificial Intelligence

The superstar of MWC 2024, however, was artificial intelligence. AI permeated every corner of the conference, from virtual assistants to groundbreaking translation technologies. Google’s innovations in visual search hinted at a future where seamless access to information becomes second nature. In addition, the integration of generative AI models as virtual assistants, particularly in healthcare, showed the transformative potential of AI to revolutionise service quality and efficiency across industries.

However, it must also be made clear that empathy and non-verbal interpersonal communication are among the capabilities that are far from the abilities of current and imminent foreseeable generations of AI. While AI is a powerful and effective tool for improving our personal and professional lives, we are still far from the scary “what if” scenarios that are often depicted in this context.

Guided-Tour am Stand von Huawei beim MWC

Hardware Innovations

The highlights also included impressive demonstrations of technological ingenuity. Manufacturers defied conventional norms with products that almost resembled science fiction: devices that can be folded like paper and laptops with transparent screens. These innovations not only dazzle with their technical brilliance, but also pave the way for enhanced user experiences and new forms of interactions.

In addition to innovative developments in the hardware sector, the industry is also focusing on greater sustainability and the recycling of used hardware and the use of refurbished devices within companies. This is precisely where the eco member Janado, also a co-exhibitor at the NRW joint stand, comes in. Due to the typical replacement cycle of smartphones (2-3 years) and laptops (4-5 years), an increased supply of devices for remarketing is expected in the next one to two years. “This will not only reduce costs for companies, but also significantly improve their environmental footprint. By refurbishing and reusing these devices, we offer a sustainable solution for the growing volume of IT hardware, which is ultimately a win-win for the environment, businesses and consumers alike,” said Kamran Doorsoun, Head of Marketing, Janado GmbH.

Gruppenfoto Guided-Tour am Stand von Huawei beim MWC

Guided Tour & Networking Lunch

Once again this year, eco, together with its member company Huawei, organised a guided tour at the Huawei stand, followed by a networking lunch for members, partners and IoT enthusiasts. With a focus on IoT, the stand tour gave participants a behind-the-scenes look at 5.5G technology, solutions and applications. Among other aspects, the content was linked to the joint event of the eco IoT and Internet Competence Groups, “Digital Infrastructure as the Basis of Smart Home Applications”, which took place in the Huawei OpenLab in September 2023. The event concluded with a networking lunch in the Huawei Foodgarden, where participants were able to deepen their discussions and exchange ideas.

You can find more impressions of the Mobile World Congress in our “MWC Barcelona 2024” album.

Future First: eco and its Members Look to the Future at MWC 2024 2
Credits: Lennart Kalhöfer