MWC’19: All The How’s and Why’s
We attended Mobile World Congress. It’s one of the biggest annual tech conferences worldwide, and we just couldn’t miss the opportunity to share our impressions in a blog post.
At Ego Creative Innovations we are always on the lookout for new tech events. Our company is eager to learn about new trends and practice s and improve our expertise as a reliable development agency.
Recently, we attended Mobile World Congress (MWC)’19 – one of the biggest annual tech conferences worldwide – in Barcelona. The agenda and the speakers of this year’s event resonated with our team. Moreover, MWC’19 aimed to provide development companies with impressive networking opportunities – so we decided to set off to Barcelona.
We were primarily interested in new hi-tech industry trends and attending scheduled meetings with prospective clients, getting familiarized with top-notch technologies and startups.
What did our team expect from MWC19?
We wanted to make it to as many stands as possible to properly get to know the ‘wins and fails’ that SMEs are coming across.
- How do they adapt to the market changes and co-exist with other global players?
- What are the trends and innovative solutions in the mobile and web development?
- What are companies concerned about? Particularly in terms of security, promotion, and upcoming standards for the data transfer that come with the introduction of a 5G.
These were the questions we wanted to get answers on.
What we actually found at MWC19
February 24th – Settling in Barcelona
We arrived in Barcelona on the first day and successfully applied for registration. Thanks to Breez – an innovative face recognition system – for four days we forgot what it means to stand in endless lines, as is usually the case with other events.
February 25th – Geography is a ‘thing’
On day one of the event we had to spend almost half a day trying to get our bearings together to effectively move through the pavilions and show up for all the scheduled meetings on time.
We were really impressed with the geographical spread of the companies. In the context of global corporations from the USA, UK, and China having an extensive sales office network around the world, you somehow start getting used to such a geography.
Being at such a global event is a great opportunity to stumble onto out-of-the box solutions and companies from all around the world. We found too that sometimes companies originate from countries that were not stereotypically associated with the flagships of technical innovations.
We’ve also noticed the growing trend towards niche solutions for the digital grocery business. For example, the Italian company Greenshare is developing advanced solutions for extensive infomobility systems.
There were lots of agencies whose expertise was in helping to promote existing products of different sizes and levels of success. As an example, Jampp – an agency with Uber on their client list – are positioning themselves as promotion experts for digital products with an established user audience of over 100,000 users.
And related companies that develop tools to get analytics regarding products and number of downloads, visibility, and recognition among users and organic searches. Another good example is Apptweak, a company that focuses on mobile applications.
A big enough part of the exhibition was devoted to the heavily hyped Graphene trend. A lot of assumptions were made forecasting that in the near future we’ll see heavy duty graphene screens (for mobile phones as well), graphene quick charge batteries, and many other products based on its break into our lives. It may sound a bit fantastic now, but these trends move fast and sometimes become commonplace before our eyes.
The main point of the conversation was to bring Graphene-based products and European companies who have been dealing with it to a wider audience to communicate the idea that the market already has all the means to overcome the main deal breaker – which is the impossibility of mass production of cheap graphene raw materials on an industrial scale.
It was interesting to learn more about Galileo – a European global navigation satellite system – which seems to be ready to compete with American GPS. They actively promote themselves among startups through various competitions and among mobile phone production monsters such as Samsung and others.
We were also quite impressed by the number of manufacturers of mobile devices – smartphones in particular. Companies from Asia try to occupy all possible niches, thus were trying hard to impress people with their smartphones able to withstand any extreme conditions.
Smartphones that operate underwater, hammer-resistant screens, integrated walkie-talkies, high capacity batteries – these are only a few of the items we found on every corner of the event.
We often came across all possible kinds of CMSs for website and mobile app development (a telling example here is eZ Commerce). Meanwhile, companies helping to integrate any possible IoT systems and solutions like E-nizing tried to present their services as the most unique and innovative ones.
There was also a small Italian company, a MS partner, with their Mixed Reality solution (quite interesting, we must admit). During their presentation we noticed a lack of flexibility in their solution; however, AR, NR, and VR technologies slowly but steadily come to mass market and gain credibility among regular users.
There were also lots of niche Asian developers of software and hardware products that usually stay unnoticed and overshadowed by world-wide brands and corporations. A standout example was a company that delivers software solutions to a number of automotive giants.
February 26th – Meetings, 5G, VR, AI, ML
Day two left us with lots of meetings with a diverse range of companies – from five-man startups to large companies of 1,000 employees working on a complex software solutions, integration, and security.
The number of companies from the latter category was lower; however, the quality of meetings was top-notch. We got a chance to discuss with a few of these companies the projects they were working on at the moment and ground a solid foundation for future relations. From Japan and Korea to the US to Romania and Russia, we were able to connect with innovators from all over.
We noticed a trend focused on the development of an expertise within a niche, making outsourcing companies an exception rather than a rule. One example – VNC Automotive – is a UK company that developed a solution for an automotive ecosystem which integrates remote access and allows one to gain control over a vehicle via mobile phone.
We were heartened by the presence of companies which thoroughly focus on pre-development stages of products. A great example of this – the German company Do Well Research – conducts research regarding user experience to help support products with user-focused design for medium and large companies all around the world.
HealthCare and FINTECH – two major tech industries – presented lots of innovative solutions in hardware, software, and infrastructure means, as they often do at large events such as MWC.
Companies from the US, Asia, and Europe brought to the table everything they had – from smart cities and smart agriculture to automated manufacturing and cloud VR.
A huge part of the event was dedicated to 5G. Nokia, Huawei, Ericsson, etc. were showcasing their 5G products and services.
The most exciting experiences came from everything that worked on AI or ML. The cute robot Rachel by Cloud Minds dominated the lion’s share of everyone’s attention.
For the most part, exhibitions demonstrated robotics solutions. It was pretty apparent that manufacturers paid much of their attention to the UI/UX aspects of robots to make them more attractive and even human-like by betting on positive emotions and an effective interface.
Robotics exhibitions were focused on showing daily routine operations, craftsmanship, and general performance. There were robot musicians, bartenders, and nannies alongside a robot sticking floss through a needle’s eye!
February 27th – Healthcare, wellness, VR and meetings, meetings, meetings
The next day was quite intensive and ended up providing us the highest number of meetings and positive emotions since we dedicated the whole day chatting to startups and small companies on 4YFN, who showed us the solutions they came with.
Lots of Medtech, Healthcare, and Wellness projects addressed psychological and mental health, nutrition, and various tests to be held at home and on the go. It was noticeable that such modern technologies as Machine Learning aim at integrating in almost every viable solution out there.
One company from the UK showed their new 3D-based immersive product that allows one to easily and freely assess the state of a visual system and develop, as well as adopt, the treatment by means of corresponding techniques to improve and standardise sight.
There were also app solutions for buying food, and those giving health nutrition recommendations.
Many of the B2B AI-based solutions focused on developing relations with clients, within teams, and automating different services by means of human-like and naturalized conversation. Retail Fintech and Healthcare companies are the ones who adopt this kind of technologies in the first place.
Considering the emerging globalization and visualisation of our everyday lives, it becomes clear why AR and VR technologies are becoming widely adopted. For example, this Japanese startup sees the future in their product, using a 3D camera and VR helmet to create a “being there” effect to connect remote employees in a single virtual office or conference room.
We noticed that a lot of companies from Japan, China, and Korea did not prepare their solutions to be adapted and presented on European markets (the language barrier plays a significant role here – their websites had little or no English content at all). However, it can still be justified when talking about startups who are on a constant optimization run, trying to reconcile their resources and possibilities in the most effective way possible.
We couldn’t pass by the Japanese startup Aquabit Spirals, which was presenting a “hyperlink of things” that links physical objects to online information and real-world services. People can go online instantly just by holding their smartphone over a small device – no app downloads necessary.
Also, we were quite impressed when the company’s founder made an app read an information right from his bare hand! (as we found out later, a microchip had been surgically implanted into his hand…)
An interesting fact – all Japanese startups founders were between the ages of 35-45, compared to Europeans who were much younger.
We also noticed a startup that came from Barcelona with an idea for a system able to re-create the reaction of different parts of the human body on drug medications.
To conclude the day, there was a Singaporean startup showing an innovative wireless laser network with ultra-high bandwidth wireless laser communication for telecoms and enterprises. Delivers connectivity at a fraction of the cost of a fiber optic network.
February 28th – The final look at MWC19
On the final day of MWC, relocation vibes were in the air as developers and investors alike prepared to pack up. Even free access to a Congress couldn’t change this atmosphere, but one interesting startup that took our attention was Wooclap, who turned things around – instead of taking part in battling smartphones, they turned them into learning tools. Their system allows students to effectively communicate with their teachers.
After four days at the conference, we had more than enough information, innovation, ideas, and meeting outcomes to process. All in all, this year’s conference kept up with the expectations.
Having said that, we would still touch on a few issues we noticed with this year’s MWC.
- Sometimes it was hard to move through tremendously huge pavilions.
- A number of marketing representatives (even of large companies) were baffled by simple questions like “What are you guys offering here?” : )
- From time to time, a lack of speaking English skills (mostly in Asian startups) made it hard to catch some important details of a product and other features a company had to offer.
- We often felt that mobile device developers were scattered through different pavilions on purpose – to highlight the MOBILE part of Mobile World Congress, instead of devoting different pavilions to different industries. There were companies that looked like real twins, resembling each other a little too much.
What does the future have in stock for technology?
Events like MWC clearly prove the impressive development pace today’s tech has been showing. Companies are looking forward to no longer developing technology for the sake of pure innovations – instead, they are creating practical applications for existing innovations, bringing AI, robotics, and other modern technologies one step closer to our doorstep. We’ve seen dozens of trends we still label as “emergent” successfully delivered to the market.
All things considered, here’s our team’s take on the future of tech after visiting MWC’19:
- Existing solutions will continue to integrate with third-party services to help increase the market size.
- Products and services will adapt to newly established data transfer standards (5G).
- Asian startups (especially from China, Korea, Singapore, Japan) will actively expand their solutions and products towards the European market in the near future.
- Robotics will penetrate deeper into our everyday lives.
- Companies that ground their businesses on obsolete strategies and models, who also don’t have the resources to automate their processes or to expand their functionality by adopting innovative technologies, will soon become a thing of the past.
To wrap things up, MWC’19 certainly proved well worth visiting. It was a pleasure to get to know hundreds of innovative companies and see how people all over the world can unite to further push the frontier of tech development.
We provided a lot of new connections with whom we’re looking forward to working productively. We’ll be coming to more tech events in the future – stay tuned for updates!