What just happened? Nvidia has decided not to send any employees to Mobile World Congress this year, citing concerns about the dangers of international travel during the coronavirus outbreak. While they’re not the first company to cancel their travel plans, as a major MWC partner they’re sacrificing more than most.
“Given public health risks around the coronavirus, ensuring the safety of out colleagues, partners and customers is out highest concern. We’ve been looking forward to sharing our work in AI, 5G and vRAN with the industry. We regret not attending, but believe this is the right decision.”
Nvidia isn’t known for their mobile products exactly, but they’ve got a vested interest in the GPU-powered AI that enables mobile speech recognition, camera optimizations, and more. Even when these services are provided on-device, the neural network training and designing is still done on servers with recognizable Nvidia hardware.
Nvidia has ten sessions and roundtables focusing on AI planned for this year’s MWC. They’ve also designed some sort of AI Edge Innovation Center revolving around AI, 5G and edge computing. Nvidia hasn’t clarified if these events are still going ahead, but without Nvidia employees present the events won’t benefit the company much regardless.
Most of MWC’s attendees haven’t expressed much concern about the coronavirus, with Qualcomm, Lenovo, Motorola, Xiaomi, Vivo and Honor reaffirming their plans to attend the event, according to The Verge.
ZTE cancelled their attendance, then changed their minds. LG and Ericsson are the two major withdrawals, apart from Nvidia.
The Mobile World Congress will begin on February 24 in Barcelona, and will bear witness to announcements and demonstrations of a variety of new flagship smartphones and 5G devices.