MWC Barcelona 2023 – the flagship tech event hosted by the GSMA – kicks off from 27 February.

Here’s a sneak peek at just a few of the tech innovations we’ll be showing there…

MWC - what’s in store?

There are many positive real-world applications for 5G-powered drone technology.

Piloting drones from the metaverse

But what if the metaverse could help us take that a step further?

We have worked on trials exploring how drones can deliver medical supplies in remote areas, support emergency mountain rescue operations, or help farmers monitor their land from the sky.

This creates challenges for pilots that need to fly in hard-to-reach areas to carry out their jobs – for example, a mobile network engineer trying to inspect a cell tower in a mountainous region.

Drone pilots usually need to be within a close range of their drone and can’t fly it beyond the visual line of sight.

Visitors to our stand at MWC will be able to try a proto-type of this technology, using 5G-powered virtual reality in Barcelona to fly a connected drone nearly 1,000 km away at a secure location in Seville.

We’re exploring ways drones could be flown from within the metaverse, using virtual reality and 360 cameras to create an immersive experience.

Internet of Things (IoT): ultra-fast fire detection 

Forest fires are an emerging problem in Sardinia, responsible for the destruction of 20,000 hectares of land, the displacement of 1,000+ people, and the death of 30 million bees in the last year alone.

By introducing low-cost, IoT-connected gas sensors, we’re able to detect forest fires at early smouldering stages before they fully take hold.

We’re collaborating with  Extreme E and its partner,  Medsea, to help tackle that issue.

These sensors also monitor the microclimate of a forest – temperature, humidity and air pressure – which, when combined with artificial intelligence, can help predict fires before they occur.

The technology can function without mobile network coverage and runs maintenance free for 10-15 years.

Water monitoring

Understanding how it flows through our rivers – and how that’s changing in response to climate change – is critical to optimising our water use and preventing natural disasters.

Water is one of the planet’s most precious resources.

These sensors can deliver data in real-time to an expert monitoring water sources from a remote location, enabling them to spot risks, such as flooding or contamination, in advance and react accordingly. Visitors to our stand at MWC can learn more about how we’re applying this technology.

We’re exploring how sensors connected to our IoT network can help monitor water levels and water quality and detect changes at an early stage.

Managing public green areas

Through satellite image projection and artificial intelligence

Public green areas play an important role in the fight against pollution in cities. A significant amount of time is involved in managing these areas, with teams carrying out manual inspections of trees and plants to assess their health.

We’re exploring how this process could be improved by using satellites to take high-quality images of multiple public green areas. Through artificial intelligence, we can analyse those images quickly and in detail, helping teams spot issues and decide which areas need their attention first.