The countdown has commenced – it is but one month until Mobile World Congress 2014 starts and thousands of tech hotshots descend on Barcelona again. Everyone hopes for a successful event – however they may define success – but do you plan on being someone who is exhausted by the end of it, or one of the few who use the event to recharge and refuel their minds and souls?
Here are a few tips and tricks from us, gleaned over the years, and from watching how those who appear bright and bushy-eyed by the end of the week manage to achieve just that.
Mobile World Congress health
Take care of your health – it says a lot that Mobile World Congress is introducing a new program this year called mPowered Industries and that it will cover broadcast, marketing & advertising, travel & leisure, but, most importantly, health. The increasing use of mobile and M2M technology to help monitor our health and administer medicines says a lot about the emphasis companies and organizations are putting on it. Beyond technology though, you can stay healthy by trying to get sleep, wearing comfortable shoes, drinking plenty of water – if the lines to buy some are too long, swing by our stand for some (Hall 5 at Stand 5A80) – and swapping the jamon y queso baguette for some fruit and salad instead.
Know and plan your route
If you were at MWC last year you’ll have experienced the new venue. It’s being held there again, Fira Gran Via in Barcelona, so hopefully it’ll be less stressful trying to find the right Metro lines, the right halls and stands you need to be at. (If in doubt follow the thousands of people in suits headed in one direction.) Beware, however, several partner-led events are also being held at the old venue, Fira Montjuic, due to the increasing size of the events. These include the aforementioned mPowered Industries, 4 Years from Now and WIPJam.
Knowing your route goes not only for getting to and from the venue – share cabs with others (good way to network en route), take the Metro where possible to avoid traffic jams – but also inside Fira Gran Via. To save energy and make the most of the (precious little) time you have, plan your visits to each Hall based on who is where and which end of the building you’re at. There are travelators, but even these aren’t fast enough when you’re in a hurry. We have seen people use scooters to get around swiftly, but beware of knocking over those glued to their mobile devices.
Despite our recent blog post querying whether traditional text messaging is waning in popularity, it’s often the best way to communicate when at MWC. Wireless and internet connectivity isn’t always at its best, and if you don’t have an agreement with your operator on roaming fees or have invested in a Spanish SIM card, text messaging can be the foolproof option if you’re trying to get in touch with someone.
Also, take care of your mobile batteries. Finding sockets to charge from is another challenge you’ll face and it warrants having several batteries on you at all times to avoid running out of juice at that critical moment. Not least as you’ll be wanting to try out all the innovative technologies on display, from NFC-enabled catering outlets to a connected dartboard (using M2M and an app on your mobile device), and much more that’s hard to predict.
At an event where mobile is at the heart of all innovations on display, it’s hardly surprising that making connections is something everyone strives to do. You may have an exclusive list of people to meet, or you may be open to making new contacts and connections wherever you find yourself.
There are many ways to forge stronger connections in Barcelona, whether with traditional business cards, using NFC-enabled ones (POPwings) or through social media networks. It’s quite fitting, therefore, that Mark Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Facebook, will keynote at Mobile World Congress this year. Despite all the hype about youngsters leaving Facebook in droves as their parents and grandparents join, we firmly believe that there is still a huge global (and potentially untapped) audience and appetite for the social networking platform, which is why we will have a demo all about Facebook for SIM on our stand.
There is plenty more we could say about how to survive Mobile World Congress – it’s about recognizing that it’s work, but that you can play hard too if you wish. And to help you find where to start, here are some of the top restaurants to consider for when you do have a bit of spare time.