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Bulletins

Despite the pandemic, MWC 2021 is coming to Barcelona

Last year's Mobile World Congress in Barcelona was canceled a few weeks before it was set to begin. It was one of the first signs in the tech world that COVID-19 was likely going to disrupt more than China. A year later — and nearly 110 million global cases of the virus later — MWC plans to buck the virtual conference trend and is set to return to Barcelona.


The GSMA, the trade association that organizes MWC events, confirmed Wednesday that its event in Shanghai is slated to start on Feb. 23. Given the stringent requirements for entering China and the contact-tracing efforts across the country, it's unlikely there will be too many attendees from outside of China. But the GSMA also shared some of its plans for its larger Barcelona event, which will be taking place in June this year.

"COVID requirements will decrease our capacity," GSMA CEO John Hoffman told Mobile World Live. "We're not going to have 110,000 people, with travel restrictions, testing capacity and one-way traffic through the exhibition, there's no way."

For anyone wishing to attend this year's event, they'll have to provide a negative COVID result within 72 hours before the event. The organizers will apparently also leverage tech to create a "touchless environment" at the conference. It's unclear how many people the GSMA expects to attend, but Hoffman said that a vaccination will not be a requirement for a ticket.

Protocol | Enterprise

An oral history of #hugops

When something breaks on the internet, the people who know how to fix it just want to give their colleagues a hug — even if they're a rival.

The #hugops community in its happy place: the Velocity conference.

Image: James Duncan Davidson/O'Reilly Conferences

In almost every profession, it seems like there are two types of workers: the ones who get the glory, and the ones who do the essential work no one ever sees — unless something goes wrong.

In enterprise computing, those overlooked people are known as operations engineers. They're the ones who keep the rickety Rube Goldberg machine that is the modern internet from falling to pieces every day, while their glamorous counterparts — software developers — get to bask in the recognition that comes with shipping a new feature or creating a new service.

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Tom Krazit

Tom Krazit ( @tomkrazit) is a senior reporter at Protocol, covering cloud computing and enterprise technology out of the Pacific Northwest. He has written and edited stories about the technology industry for almost two decades for publications such as IDG, CNET, paidContent, and GeekWire. He has written and edited stories about the technology industry for almost two decades for publications such as IDG, CNET and paidContent, and served as executive editor of Gigaom and Structure.

Sponsored Content

Building better relationships in the age of all-remote work

How Stripe, Xero and ModSquad work with external partners and customers in Slack channels to build stronger, lasting relationships.

Image: Original by Damian Zaleski

Every business leader knows you can learn the most about your customers and partners by meeting them face-to-face. But in the wake of Covid-19, the kinds of conversations that were taking place over coffee, meals and in company halls are now relegated to video conferences—which can be less effective for nurturing relationships—and email.

Email inboxes, with hard-to-search threads and siloed messages, not only slow down communication but are also an easy target for scammers. Earlier this year, Google reported more than 18 million daily malware and phishing emails related to Covid-19 scams in just one week and more than 240 million daily spam messages.

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Transforming 2021

Blockchain, QR codes and your phone: the race to build vaccine passports

Digital verification systems could give people the freedom to work and travel. Here's how they could actually happen.

One day, you might not need to carry that physical passport around, either.

Photo: CommonPass

There will come a time, hopefully in the near future, when you'll feel comfortable getting on a plane again. You might even stop at the lounge at the airport, head to the regional office when you land and maybe even see a concert that evening. This seemingly distant reality will depend upon vaccine rollouts continuing on schedule, an open-sourced digital verification system and, amazingly, the blockchain.

Several countries around the world have begun to prepare for what comes after vaccinations. Swaths of the population will be vaccinated before others, but that hasn't stopped industries decimated by the pandemic from pioneering ways to get some people back to work and play. One of the most promising efforts is the idea of a "vaccine passport," which would allow individuals to show proof that they've been vaccinated against COVID-19 in a way that could be verified by businesses to allow them to travel, work or relax in public without a great fear of spreading the virus.

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Mike Murphy

Mike Murphy ( @mcwm) is the director of special projects at Protocol, focusing on the industries being rapidly upended by technology and the companies disrupting incumbents. Previously, Mike was the technology editor at Quartz, where he frequently wrote on robotics, artificial intelligence, and consumer electronics.

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