A Curate’s Egg – #MWC2013 #MWC13

On balance, it was an excellent event – we can say that straight away. Our clients seemed delighted with the levels of activity and have plenty of leads to pursue. But while some will definitely return, others are considering whether it might not be time to put the investment to better use elsewhere.

Make no mistake about it, MWC is a hugely costly event. In addition to the cost of simply being present on the show floor, there are so many additional expenses – manpower, the (generally) exorbitant rates charged by the hotels, excessive consumption (happily, often subsidised by the wealthier vendors ☺) and so on. At a time when we are all considering ROI, it’s worth reflecting when a few months have passed whether it still makes sense.

The problem is that MWC is still the flagship event in the calendar. For many vendors, if they want to be in mobile, they have almost no choice but to be there. We like smaller events – boutique conferences – of which there are many, but MWC remains a safe bet and the wisdom of crowds draws us, like the apocryphal lemmings to the Fira, time after time.

We shall undoubtedly return, but we will think long and hard before advocating the same for our customers. On the downside is the sheer size of the place – bigger, better, faster than before! Navigating the halls was quite a challenge, with many people seriously underestimating the time involved. What’s more, many missed the opportunity to break out into the welcome Catalonian sunshine for a breather.

Instead, many of us simply spent the days under the cavernous roof, hardly knowing if it was rainy or sunny, waiting for the next appointment to show up, possibly a little late from having had to commute from Hall 8 to Hall 5.

In addition, there were plenty of announcements and news, but little earth shattering. Several new mobile operating systems (hooray!), several big new contracts (well done!), some pledges and commitments from MNOs (excellent!). Lots of funky new apps, devices and, yes, even shiny new phones. And that was about it from the headlines.

But look a little closer and there was a lot of much more interesting stuff going on – what caught our eye was the growing emphasis on customer experience (which of course ties into the world of data analytics), network management tools and capabilities and the re-emergence of some plain-old value added services, which seem to have been overlooked in recent years. They never went away, but it was nice to see SMS / USSD back in the spotlight in some quarters. We must not forget that, despite rapidly changing environments, these still remain useful tools.

The good thing is that away from the smart cities, security and the intense focus on NFC, lots of small companies where showcasing their innovations and doggedly chasing after their customers. Joyn continues to develop apace (worth a separate article in due course) but what we mainly experienced was a thriving community of companies, all trying to make money, but in the main offering excellent products and services. It’s just increasingly hard to stand out amidst the noise.

But of course, that’s where we can help. We ran active programmes for our customers that started in November last year. If you do decide to exhibit at MWC next year – and there are lots of reasons why you might want to, as well as others why you may not, proper, co-ordinated planning is critical. Why not find out how we can help you get more from your MWC investments?

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