This is a work-related post, specifically about a recent mobile conference in Barcelona. If you’re hoping to read more about swimming nonsense, then please come back later 😉
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As I have done every year except one for the last 12 years I was out at Mobile World Congress last week. I spent two days at the show itself, two nights out in Barcelona and had two flights that were mainly full of congress attendees. Based on that short sojourn here are the key points I picked up from the show.
‘Mobile’ is dead
Although the show is ‘Mobile World Congress’ the term mobile is now pointless / redundant / undefinable. Does ‘mobile’ mean the handset you have? If so, where do we classify tablets, or even watches? Or maybe we use it as a verb and talk about ‘being mobile’ – but what about laptops or even fridges connected to data with a sim card? Or the fact that wifi is where all the ‘mobile’ traffic is now?
Throughout the show people were struggling with the concept of mobile and defining it differently for their own purposes in each different meeting attended.
Disruption of the network
One of the biggest issues that I came across was the fact that the OTT players are now the new norm in the content & platform part of the industry – leaving the operators in their wake. The next level of disruption they seem to be targeting is the network itself. This is of course linked to the announcement of a Google MVNO and Zuckerberg’s push for more free data to be offered to users.
This is all without talking about the event’s biggest elephant in the room. Apple never attends MWC formally, yet I heard some chatter about them ‘creating’ their own network. An iPhone-sized disruption to the network layer…?
Lots of buzz
There was lots of positivity around in Barcelona last week, possibly more than I’ve witnessed in the last few years. It may of course have been linked to my own positivity (I have a renewed enthusiasm for the show after a couple of years of it waning), but there were a lot of stands, visitors and, if the overheard conversations are anything to go by, deals struck.
And of course the biggest measurement of ‘buzz’ – there was plenty of beer drunk and ‘good times’ had.
A sleazy side to Barcelona
We have seen a sleazy side to the show in the past that appeared to be cleaned up by the GSMA (although apparently CBoss were back again this year). However this year we saw the sleazy side to the city with ads from the local ‘massage parlours’ being targeted directly at the show’s attendees.
While we can’t expect to speak for the city for the other 51 weeks of the year, there is a sense that the GSMA has to place itself above the likes of FIFA and when spending this much money demand a certain level of ‘behaviour’ from the city.
I loved it
My final point, as I’ve mentioned above, is I loved the show this year. Partly due to the fact that of where I stayed (thanks Helen), partly due to the Joshua PR sponsorship of Swedish Beers (and what a fun night that was!), partly due to the happy clients, partly due to people I met and partly due to the meetings I’ve already arranged on the back of the show’s activities.
Roll on MWC ’16!