Mobile World Congress 2017 - Connecting everything?
By the time our team arrived in Barcelona, the hype of new product and solution launches had already peaked in the press. This also meant that the ordinary visitor had a much better chance to experience a wide range of demos because the press and all the representatives from big companies had already had their go. Since our team had been building some of the demos for our client we knew to some extend what would be the trending topics and possible hot technologies used in demonstrations.
If we slice the experience from the surface towards the different solutions presented, we couldn’t see much originality in the tag lines of different companies. Such as; “We simplify the wireless world”, “ We make connectivity simple”, “Drive network consolidation”, “Unlock the power of IoT”, “Industrial IoT”, “Take control of IoT”, “Growing 5G innovation”, “Evolution to 5G”, “5G enables autonomous driving”, “Connected cars of the future”, “Build more than a network”, “Always in touch to connect what’s essential in your life”, “Open roads to better connected world”. The list of similar subject lines felt endless. Surely everyone understands it is a must to bring out the big themes up front to the visitors and customers, but after that do the exhibitors make an impact through more deeper experiences after entering their stands. Some did, some didn’t.
With the crowds both at the event and on the way there, you end up valuing simplicity and brevity of the experience. Nearly everyone had virtual reality and interactive screen demos. This meant that lot of the experience depended on the delivery and presentation made by the demo presenter, and thus he or she would play a big role in making an impact. The challenge is often in finding the right balance between sharing a concrete scenario that everyone can relate to and describing the business benefits of the presented cloud powered solutions while also being able to prove the readiness of the solution through enough evidence. Many of the big players seemed to do this by giving almost equal presence for both their B2B and B2C products. A lot of the real estate at various stands was given to high tech consumer products; mobile devices of different screen sizes and input methods, as well as wearables. The attractiveness of the consumer products display was mostly relying on the visitor’s passion for sports or fashion and spiced up by a few differentiating products such as Nokia’s acquired Withings devices.
The best demo experiences were delivered by well trained staff members with clear presentation and differentiating branding down to the finalised designs of the demo’s digital design as well as the physical environment. The most advanced demo experiences were no longer virtual reality videos or 360-degree view through VR gear, but augmented reality such as HoloLens or gamification of 5G was added to make the experience more memorable and entertaining. Of course the presentation technology itself does not make cool experience, but if you use it in a way no one else does and bring your solutions to life like no competitor could. We could see that the limits of these technologies had not been pushed to its limits yet. Instantly ideas came to mind how we can learn from this to lift the visitor experience to the next level for the MWC 2018. Maybe that will be the year of merged reality, when it actually becomes hard to differentiate between VR, AR and actual reality.