Startups, robots and Bon Jovi will mingle with Cloud City for the new look of MWC Barcelona in June

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When attendees arrive for the start of Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on June 28, they will have a major surprise.

Instead of the gigantic Ericsson AB booth which normally dominates Hall 2 of Fira Gran Via during the event, they will have the opportunity to mingle with 100 telepresence robots, watch a live TV broadcast being broadcast from the site, speak personally with over 30 startups, and watch legendary rock star Jon Bon Jovi perform one night.

This was all made possible when the Swedish telecom giant pulled out of MWC this year and TelcoDR Inc., a consulting firm run by former Optiva Inc. CEO Danielle Royston, took over the site and l named Cloud City. As the April announcement that Amazon Web Services Inc. and DISH Network Corp. would team up to run what is believed to be the world’s first cloud-based 5G open radio access network, the telecommunications industry is in the throes of dramatic change – and MWC is just one example of the disruption to come.

“Things are changing, and they are changing very quickly,” Royston said. “A lot of people may have been surprised by DISH’s announcement and how close they are to partnering with AWS. I think people thought the cloud migration and cloud adoption was years away. DISH’s story proves it’s here and now.

Royston spoke with Jean Furrier, host of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s live streaming video studio, ahead of Mobile World Congress 2021. They discussed theCUBE participation in the live broadcast of the event, demonstrations at the booth of a certain number of startups and a preview of Royston’s expected main message at the conference. (* Disclosure below.)

Cloud-based community

In partnership with theCUBE, which will broadcast live interviews with industry leaders and product demonstrations from the 65,000 square foot booth, TelcoDR plans to offer presentations from its own main stage. The venue will feature an on-stage wall where virtual attendees can see and be seen by attendees in person, an unusual mix of live and virtual coming together in one place and all made possible by the cloud.

“The ‘roommates’ will see the ‘zoomies’ and vice versa,” Royston said. “We wanted to give the stand an experience so that it feels like a community. We’re really trying to make Cloud City the epicenter of the telecom cloud.

The community spirit of the TelcoDR booth will be fueled by the presence of a number of startups in the cloud space. Participants include Mavenir Inc., a cloud-native Open RAN player; Totogi Inc., a web-scale public cloud charging engine recently acquired by the Royston-based company; and OneWeb Inc.

“This is a low-earth orbit satellite company that delivers broadband to consumers,” Royston said of OneWeb.

TelcoDR’s prominent place at the MWC show also secured Royston a place in the prestigious conference presentation program. This will be an opportunity for the leader of TelcoDR to express her vision of a telecommunications industry led by the cloud.

“The greatest telecom speakers have this opportunity, and I’m really happy the GSMA is giving me a chance to share my message,” Royston said. “What I’m going to focus on is a message that says, ‘The future is here; the future is now. ‘”

Here is the full video interview, one of many CUBE conversations from SiliconANGLE and theCUBE. (* Disclosure: TheCUBE is a paid media partner for Mobile World Congress. Neither TelcoDR Inc., the event coverage sponsor of theCUBE, nor any other sponsor has editorial control over the content of theCUBE or SiliconANGLE.)

Photo: SiliconANGLE

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