Wow. MY OVERALL FEELING LOOKING BACK AT MWC16…
Barcelona was beautiful and electric – mobile being the hottest topic in technology today. Over 2,200 exhibitors, 100,000 attendees and a million ideas. 1st lesson: comfortable shoes! The venue was massive, but built for connecting people. Pre arranged meetings were the chosen method for many, but the rest of us were happily winging it. I made my way around a considerable chunk over the four days, and met some amazing people. It was great to see such a strong Irish presence- which generated much attention thanks to Enterprise Ireland and their eye catching stand. An exhausting but very fruitful week for Ireland.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS: VAST AND CUSTOMER/PROBLEM CENTRIC
I was like a kid in a candy shop. It felt like peaking through the looking glass at what the world will become. From the very large to the smallest organization, everyone was screaming for attention! Demonstrations, virtual reality experiences, freebies… On first look I saw a lot of competitors, but through conversation I realised they are all solving slightly different pieces of the same puzzle. Interestingly, they all seemed to be solving these problems by putting the user front of mind. Most notably for me, were the innovations in the retail space.
The mobile industry is reshaping how the customer engages physically with the brand, how employees and process are managed, and how the business can secure their IP and gain a competitive edge.
Across the board, it’s about understanding how an organisation engages with technology, predicting their needs and providing specific solutions that will drive efficiency and lower costs. It’s no wonder that there were so many references to Henry Ford. While the consumer is driving adoption, industry is definitely shaping the future.
A STRONG IRISH PRESENCE
Having travelled alone, I must admit I felt like a very small fish in a very big new world. So… I made my way to the Irish Pavilion, Day 2. Luckily I had met Inhance Technology’s Conor O’Sullivan on the plane over, so I was given a proper Irish welcome from those guys. Making my way around the Irish stands, I saw the extent of our local mobile ecosystem. And it’s impressive. Everyone is honing their niche, Telco is playing a key role and the global expansion meetings I heard about are exciting for Ireland.
Later that evening the Irish pavilion party, the Guinness was flowing (we literally drank the bar dry) and the live Irish music made for a casual networking occasion. We had local and international press drop by- Emmet Ryan, from the Sunday Business Post was around giving new and established Irish companies a local voice.
I met Sailesh- a Mobile Evangelist. He introduced me to the ‘Tech Year’ – a calendar year being 4 tech years. Who knew? We spent about 20 minutes casually trying to predict what MWC will look like by 2020 (bare in mind that’s 20 tech years!). This conversation was a real eye opener – is it impossible to predict a future that is changing so rapidly..?
CAN ANYONE PREDICT OUT MOBILE FUTURE?
VMware / AirWatch are certainly hell bent on doing so. Day 3 was spent with them. Their stand was just built to tell the Enterprise Mobility story. They had talks on all day, their own networking and break out areas, a section dedicated to new technology in this ecosystem, and of course freebies (I’m now one selfie stick richer 😉 ). The sheer scale and extravagance of MWC was almost surreal!
The sessions I attended highlighted a key part of the puzzle – Infrastructure Preparedness – which was discussed by Shawn Bass, CTO of EUC at VMware, in his IOT presentation. It’s predicted that by 2020 we’re looking at 44zbs of data delivering content to mobile devices, and 85 different operating systems! That’s insane. Are we prepared for this? A panel speaker from Ericsson predicted that the mobile future will be built by software developers – notoriously unconcerned with stability, it’s up to us today to provision for the future as this area explodes.
Is that why so many people were meeting with the major players in global telecommunications?
VMWARE / AIRWATCH PARTY
That night I attended the VMware / AirWatch MWC party – Fab! Perfect venue, beautiful food and unlimited cocktails – classy with enough space to network before it was a cocktail too many. I had the opportunity to speak to AirWatch’s Nick Fowler, who has very much been on the Digital Transformation journey. I took the opportunity to corner him in the smoking area to talk about delivering the Enterprise Mobility message. Internally this is a culture shift – and with that comes a shift in thinking. It’s our role to educate and provide vision, which will see the traditional enterprise transforming with technology that is driven by their industry specific needs.
BY DAY 4…
I was wrecked and ready to go home! I spent the day saying goodbye and chilling out in one of the many networking areas, nursing my hangover and working through my thoughts. Live Frank Sinatra playing in the background and the sun shining, as I watched people coming and going. 100,000 really clever people all looking for their piece of the pie. This is an area where everyone is still finding their feet, including us.
I’m home with my head bursting with ideas and looking forward to #MWC17.