MWC 2024: Samsung, Google, More Smartphone Giants Leveraging AI To Turn Sales Around

Mobile World Congress (MWC), the world’s largest mobile phone trade fair, has commenced its proceedings in Barcelona on Monday amidst a backdrop of industry-wide interest in artificial intelligence (AI) as a potential remedy for declining sales. Anticipating 95,000 attendees and 2,400 exhibitors from across the globe, the four-day event is showcasing the latest innovations in handset technology, with particular emphasis on AI-powered features.

Telecom operators, recognising AI’s transformative potential, are keen to explore its applications in enhancing various aspects of their operations, from security measures to customer service enhancements. Thomas Husson, a principal analyst at Forrester, notes the widespread integration of AI across devices and networks, heralding a resurgence of innovation within the sector.

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Why Root For AI?

Despite a recent downturn in global smartphone shipments, which declined by 3.2 per cent to 1.17 billion units in 2023, signs of recovery are emerging, with a notable 8.5 per cent increase in shipments recorded in the fourth quarter. Industry heavyweights like Google and Samsung are leveraging AI to differentiate their flagship offerings, introducing features such as advanced photo editing and streamlined online search functionalities.

Smaller players like China’s Honor are also poised to unveil their latest offerings, including flagship phones equipped with AI-driven capabilities such as motion-sensing cameras. Peter Jarich, head of intelligence at GSMA, underscores the evolving landscape of AI adoption within the mobile industry since the previous congress in 2023, setting the stage for robust discussions on its future implications.

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Amidst discussions on AI, the congress is expected to delve into broader industry themes, including the consolidation of the European telecom market and the concept of equitable contribution from big tech towards network infrastructure costs. The event’s agenda reflects its evolution from a forum primarily centred on phones to one encompassing a diverse array of connected devices, including drones and robots.

Notably, this year’s congress coincides with Catalonia’s declaration of a drought emergency, imposing heightened water usage restrictions in Barcelona and its environs. In light of this, organisers are implementing measures to promote water conservation awareness among attendees, emphasising the importance of responsible resource management amidst environmental challenges.

(With inputs from AFP)