Editor's Corner: Will Entertainment Overshadow Tech at 3GSM?

If you are a veteran of the last two or three years of CTIA Wireless trade shows in the U.S., then you know to expect that some of the glitz and glamour of Hollywood will likely infiltrate the show either at the keynote sessions or at the late-night parties.

It now appears that we should expect the scenario at next week’s 3GSM World Congress in Barcelona. When I spoke with GSM Association Chief Marketing Officer Bill Gajda earlier this week he said that we should expect media and entertainment companies to have a higher profile at 3GSM. The GSMA has dedicated Hall 7 to exhibitors with music, gaming and entertainment applications, and Gajda says there will be about 70 to 100 exhibitors in that area.

I admit I’m a bit enamored with the thought of covering the Sundance Film Festival’s press conference in Barcelona on Monday or seeing which Bollywood short films may be making their way to mobile phones. Those types of stories certainly resonate more with my friends and family than say, telling them that I’m planning to write about wireless test equipment or the latest base stations.

That said, I think that some of these high-profile events at 3GSM, like the Sundance Film Festival press conference and the keynote sessions with Warner Music Group’s Edgar Bronfman Jr. and MTV Networks International’s Bill Roedy, detract from the real reason most of the 57,000-expected (up from 50,000 last year) wireless industry executives are heading to Spain this weekend.  And that is to check out the latest wireless technologies--whether it’s infrastructure, handsets, platforms or software. Bronfman and Roedy’s keynote comments will likely make headlines around the world, as will whatever the Sundance Film Festival is planning to announce, but I think it’s the HSDPA demos and devices that will garner the most tangible interest from conference-goers.

As an aside, I’d like to share a few tidbits with you to sooth any worries about crowded taxi lines and sneaky pick-pockets in Barcelona. Gajda says that the GSMA is going to have more stands for attendees to catch a cab. Last year, there were plenty of taxis but not enough stands so people ended up waiting in line for a very long time. Also, he said that the GSMA will beef up its security personnel and the number of bag checkers at the entrances. It will also increase the security around the Fira in the evening.

My colleague Brian Dolan and I are heading to Barcelona this weekend. Look for our coverage next week in both FierceWireless and FierceMobileContent. And if you happen to spot either of us making our way through the throngs of conference-goers, be sure to say hello. -Sue