Greasy Food And Petty Crime? It Must Be Barcelona For Mobile World Congress

Hello! Andrew Scott here with a look ahead at Mobile World Congress.

We have less than 100 hours to go until the doors of the world’s biggest and best known mobile conference swing open in Barcelona for another year, so let’s pause to see what we have to look forward to.

As all good conferences, there’s nothing like guzzling alcohol paid for by someone else (who you most likely spent most of the day bitching about). The MWC veteran @LisaWhelan has put together an excellent MWC party list at so start clicking (or tell your PA to). Many are free and not all are yet full.

For something a little more interactive the Mobile Woodstock crew have created an unofficial app. Download it here.

What will be in the news?

The PR machine of companies large and small will be in overdrive. Here are my picks:

  • Tablet nirvana – tablets will be the “touch” of last year
  • Shrinking femto cells, 4G, smart downloading – everyone will be promising “it will be faster”
  • App Store arguments will rage on – it’s the new “who’s king of content” conversation of old
  • and finally, Nokia will announce something big in terms of O/S direction and be criticised for it
    ..or they won’t and they’ll be criticised for that too.
View of the madness from the steps going up to the Museum of National Art of Catalonia, Photo credit: Philipp Deprez

The Social Network

I’m always sceptical when unwieldy organisations try and build their own “social network”. In their wisdom the GSMA are no exception and if you attended last year you can go ahead and login; otherwise sign up provided you have a pass. To be fair to the GSMA you can download the Powerpoint presentations post the event although I do find page loads terribly slow.

First time at MWC?

For first timers at MWC, read the seven top tips for Mobile World Congress which have been posted on Mobile Industry Review the last weeks; or follow my quick 5 reminders are below:

  • Stealing is rife. Barcelona has it’s charms but also it’s problems. Yes you always think it won’t happen to you; but it may well. For Valentine week Barcelona is literally the bag-snatch and petty thief capital of the world. Adopt absolute vigilance.
  • Eating is a hassle. Cues for “lunch” consisting of a dry baguette with slice of dead pig can be long. Restaurants nearby are booked or full. So eat at unusual times and plan ahead.
  • Accommodation is expensive. Oh wait, you didn’t already book? Good luck…you’ll need it.
  • Consultant constipation. There will be more social media gurus and corporate consultants this year than ever before as the role of Twitter and Facebook for businesses grows rapidly. A lot of these people haven’t actually done that much in tech, mobile or social media. The latter is the new gold rush – the new SEO. It is valuable – so don’t underestimate your lack of strategy – but sharlatons are rife. You’ve been warned.
  • Meetings madness. Don’t meet with people who come from where you live. It amazes me how many people ask to do this! With 50,000 delegates find those from a far flung place whom might benefit your business who you don’t usually see. In anycase, you’ll magnate back to familiar faces after the fifth or six beer anyway…
  • Bonus tip: Did I mention Barcelona is full of thieves? On my 13th trip to Barcelona, in a posh restaurant, sitting with 3 Googlers my bag including laptop, camera & passport disappeared; with the restaurant staff claiming no knowledge. Petty crime is so bad it’s almost worth leaving a phone on INSIDE your bag running Google Lattitude just incase some crook dressed in a suit scuttles off with it. You think it won’t happen to you – it will. The Police don’t care, the locals accept it and many bar/restaurant staff turn a blind eye. Be careful!

So, feeling prepared? If you have an interesting product, service, technology or application you’d like me to cover, please contact me.

See you in Basque country!

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