From all indications, Mobile World Congress 2015, being held March 2-5 in Barcelona, is starting off to be about much more than mobile operators and devices.
While the new Samsung S6 and HTC’s One M9 launched onto the market within hours of each other in Barcelona on Sunday night (with complimentary fitness bands for attendees to measure caloric burn), an equally vibrant buzz is developing around how we connect as people and how access to technology enables participation in society – in short, who gets included and who is left behind in the mobile age.
The SAP Women in Telco reception, held Sunday evening at the Meliá Barcelona Sky Hotel, was among the notable venues to advance the discussion on the need for greater diversity in telecommunications, both within the telco workforce (where women make up less than 40 percent of workers) and among mobile phone users worldwide. Hosted by the Business Women’s Network at SAP, the reception offered an evening of networking, cocktails, and tapas for the 60 attendees, most of whom were in town for the Mobile World Congress 2015.
Diversity Makes Good Business Sense, Says SAP CIO
Speaking at the event, Ingrid-Helen Arnold, Chief Information Officer and Member of the Global Managing Board, SAP, highlighted the measurable benefits diversity brings to business. With SAP’s goal of 25 percent of leadership positions being held by a woman within the next two years, Arnold noted that the company is making good progress at 21.3 percent. She encouraged everyone present to make the best use of every opportunity to get connected through networking as a means to make a positive impact on the workplace.
Also speaking at the reception was Dominica Lindsey of GSMA, which represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide and hosts the Mobile World Congress each year. Lindsey offered a preview of the results of a study carried out by the Connected Women Team in GSMA to explore women’s attitudes towards mobile phones. The research, based on 11,000 extensive interviews of women in 11 developing countries, compares current attitudes with those uncovered in a similar study done in 2010. That study concluded that barriers facing women in mobile phone usage included costs, technology literacy, cultural barriers, and women not valuing a phone.
GSMA will publicly release the results of its new study on March 4, 2015, during Mobile World Congress 2015. Following that, the GSMA’s full report will be available to download at www.gsma.com/gender-gap-2015.
Digital Inclusion: Zuckerberg’s Plan for internet.org, FCC Chief on Net Neutrality
Mobile World Congress 2015 will offer more opportunities to explore the topic of inclusion in mobile technology. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg is slated to give a keynote address on Monday morning, in which he will discuss internet.org, his vision for providing internet access to everyone on earth. Zuckerberg will then be joined on stage by mobile operators, who no doubt will have something to say about this vision.
Tom Wheeler, chairman of the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is expected to use his keynote on Tuesday to discuss the value of imposing net neutrality rules, which he supports. Mobile operators once again are sure to be on hand to hear what he has to say.
You can follow the news from Mobile World Congress, as well as watch recordings of the keynotes at Mobile World Live.
Photo source: j. prause