The views of a MWC first-timer

Posted on: Thursday 09 March 2017 | Catherine Cribbin

The IAB’s Senior Mobile and Marketing Executive, Catherine Cribbin shares her experience of her first visit to Mobile World Congress.

As a 'first timer' at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona there was quite a lot to take in, from VR headsets on every corner to robots playing the drums. I even got a 3D print chocolate lollipop of my head. You could spend nearly a whole day wandering around each of the halls (of which there are 8). Needless to say, if I had a Fitbit, it would be impressed. To help make sense of some of the mobile mania one experiences at MWC, I thought I would share my three key takeouts from the week. 

Augmented Reality  

AR was everywhere at MWC, from screens that take you way down 'under the sea' as you walk past, to climbing walls with ARpin-ballgames. Pokemon Go no doubt rocketed AR into the mainstream, but we are yet to see what it can really do. AR promises a whole new realm in which advertisers can have fun. We often see brands like Walkers use Snapchat filters to connect with people and the retail sector using AR – which helps their customers visualise products in their own lives - but I think this is just the start. I can't wait to see what the future holds for brands who use AR to find new ways to find new ways to play and interact with their customers.



Back to the Future 

Perhaps the biggest news of the week was the launch of the oh-so-coveted Nokia 3310, as we all fondly remember the indestructible mobile device with battery that lasts for days, and best of all... Snake. The updated model has a larger screen, will stay on for a whole month on standby mode and is available in black, red and yellow (if you're feeling funky). The launch of the old-school device and the hype it created at MWC and beyond gives us an insight into a back-to-the-future type reality where we realise that, whilst people relish the most up-to-date exciting tech, they also yearn for the comfort and reliability of simpler times. It will be interesting to see if this trend of ‘throwback’ product launches continues throughout 2017…


Data, data, data… 

On the Tuesday IAB US and dmexco held a one-day conference in the Fira Gran Via. Notable speakers included Andreas Gall from Red Bull Media House who explored how to use data and technology to build unique mobile experiences, such as creating a bespoke 'eagle cam' which makes you feel like you are flying when you watch the footage. A unique experience for the audience in his session was Andreas' on-screen heart-rate monitor which he bravely shared in real time with us, even as we asked questions. Next up Paul-Henri Ferrand from Google focused on the extremely hot topics of machine learning and AI. With MWC boasting an 'innovation city' to explore, the conference revels in novel promises of smart shoes, connected cars and even smart cities. The implications of these exciting steps will no doubt have a vast impact on the world of AI and machine learning, presenting a huge opportunity for brands to reach and wow their audiences in new and seamless ways.

After a whirlwind week, seeing some of the most exciting tech yet to hit the market I took away with me lots of inspiration and excitement for what's to come throughout 2017 and beyond. I'm already looking forward to MWC 2018!

Written by

Catherine Cribbin


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