Gareth Dimelow, our Executive Director of Engagement Planning, is at Mobile World Congress this week creating a Connected City for GSMA and observing the latest and greatest across the industry. He shares his initial thoughts with us here. For more from Gareth, follow him on Twitter at @EventYouAll

Greetings from GSMA Mobile World Congress 2014 at Fira 2 in Barcelona, where the great and the good of the IT and telecoms sectors gather to tell us what our world will look, sound and feel like in the future. Tens of thousands of engaged, excited and intrigued delegates looking for inspiration and information; at the same time as navigating eight enormous halls packed to the roof with spectacular stands. Personal mobility is a stand-out issue in 2014, not least for those who haven’t quite mastered walking and tweeting at the same time. As for everyone else, it’s clear that this year, more than any other, content truly is king.

In the ongoing quest for increased delegate dwell time, the leading brands have recognized that novelty value only generates fleeting interest. Quality time, on the other hand, demands quality content. So this year, the stands with the largest footprint were dedicating their expansive presence to theatre-style arrangements – offering thought leadership and insight, rather than the biggest and brightest spectacles. Of course, these ready-made presentation spaces also conveniently lend themselves to product reveals and press launches. But I’m sure that was no more than a happy coincidence.

This commitment to delivering a more compelling narrative is more vital than ever, especially since the lexicon of this sector is becoming increasingly homogenized. Words like ‘convergence,’ ‘connectivity’ and ‘networking’ are becoming so commonplace that even the largest brands are struggling to tell a differentiated story in their typographic treatments. Instead, guests are invited to stick around, spend some time with the brand, and discover a more detailed and distinctive narrative. Still, first impressions count. So it’ll be interesting to see how exhibitors reconcile this potential conflict in the years to come.