MB in Barcelona

This year I had the luxury to attend the Mobile World Congress as a visitor, after many years of attending as an exhibitor. I enjoyed the full experience – starting at a networking event on Sunday, four days of crazy at the main event, smaller networking events around the city, the mobile premiere awards and the app circus party.  It was also great to see the spatial design Moving Brands created for our long-time client Nokia Siemens Networks – stay tuned for the case study!

This year the event saw more attendees than ever – 67 000 people, and the exhibition showcased many new gadgets to be excited about. My intention is not to give you a summary of all things at the conference or exhibition, but tell you about what caught my attention. You can find a good summary of the “best of” from Engadget.

I won’t pretend I saw all the companies exhibiting, not at all, but two particular companies stood out in the ones I did have a chance to visit. One of them was Oonair, a company that had implemented a collaborative shopping experience to the Zara website, making it possible for the customers to send images of the items they were looking at to their friends for their opinion. Almost as good as having that honest girlfriend of yours in the fitting room with you to tell you if this or that makes your bottom look bigger. Another interesting company was Oblong Industries showcasing their spatial interface technology.

Another company I met at the event that I think especially worth mentioning is Fluid – a company that has patented a new user interface based on neurological investigation – basically, a circle. Check their blog for more.

On the new device sector there were several new launches. The ones that made it to my radar were the new Nokia Pureview 808 camera that you can also use as a phone, the LG 3G screen phone – that was really, really was cool, and the Samsung Galaxy that was projecting sketches all around the city. Here I would like to add that the VIP treatment and personalised tour I received at the Nokia stand made me like all the phones that little bit more. Thanks for the hospitality!

To my delight, it seems like many of the companies who’s trajectory I have been following for a long time seem to be doing very well and are facing a new phase in their lives head on: Comptel, a BSS/OSS (you may need to google that) vendor and are bringing their strategy to life with a fresh new look and the promise: Making Data Beautiful.

For me, the most interesting time spent in the event was at the Mobile Premiere Awards, the final for the apps showcased around the world in App Circus. Developers pitched to a brilliant jury of established app providers, operators, social media masters and more. The pitches were fantastic – although not professional speakers, they were enthusiastic about their topics, and the audience of investors, bloggers, other app providers and geeks helped create a welcoming and fun environment. Best of luck to the presenters – from the work we have done with some mobile applications (see Ness and Showyou), we know what it takes. A fellow attendee, familiar with our work, commented that having Moving Brands as the creative partner made a noticeable difference on the return on investment received. Now THAT is good stuff to build a conversation on!

Many of the conversations I had in the Mobile World Congress revolved around how to tell a story in a compelling, yet informative way. B2B technology companies are starting to talk about emotions too in regards to their brand and their message, although obviously in a different way to the B2C tech companies. Many of them are moving away from selling cryptic acronyms to specialised buyers to using real words and complete phrases when presenting their solutions, and that is truly nice to see and hear.

I look forward to all the changes this year will bring in this vibrant and fast moving sector.

Photo credit: Antti Pitkänen

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