After our participation at Lisbon Web Summit 2021, Klondike has returned to another European and international event: the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, organized from 28 February to 3 March.
Our participation (at the internal event 4YFN – For Years From Now dedicated to startups) was made possible thanks to the victory in November of the fourth edition of the My Start BCN award, competition promoted by the Italian Chamber of Commerce of Barcelona in collaboration with I3P – Politecnico di Torino, Abinsula and Banco Mediolanum.
What is the Mobile World Congress?
The Mobile World Congress, held in Barcelona since 2006, is an event that, one week a year, transforms the Catalan capital into a global showcase for the latest innovations and technological trends in the field of mobile telephony.
Much has changed since that first edition. Just think that phones had a physical keyboard, they were foldable and small in size, the cameras reached up to two megapixels and Bluetooth was the most used tool to connect different devices to each other. In 16 years, the world of mobile has changed radically and new scenarios have opened up that were previously unimaginable.
After the last two editions have been strongly influenced by the pandemic, with events that have been cancelled or postponed, carried out digitally or in hybrid form, the participants of the 17th edition of the MWC are finally back to fill in presence the Fira de Gran Via.
Having the good fortune to be hosted (for free) by our Lorenzo Tiberi – COO & co-founder of Klondike who already lives in Barcelona since a couple of years – we arrive a few days earlier here in Barcelona to better prepare our participation.
Between paella and tapas of all kinds, between long walks and a few cultural visits, we quickly get used to the Catalan climate. Maybe a little too much! We feel so comfortable that, given the hot Sunday of late February, we take courage and decide to dive into the sea. Not the best choice taken during this week, given the water temperature of only 13 degrees.
We arrive at Monday ready to start this new adventure. The MWC is a different event from the Web Summit, which is much more focused on startups, but no less interesting: here the master is obviously the mobile. The climate reflects a strong desire for recovery. The turnout is important and certifies the desire to want to turn the page and return to normality: the registered people are about 60 thousand, the double comparing last year but a number far from the 109 thousand registered in the 2019 edition. The exhibiting companies are about 1500, coming from 183 different countries. However, these are hopeful numbers.
The Ukrainian-Russian situation is miles from here but it is certainly one of the fixed thoughts of every visitor. There is a lingering thread of anxiety that often leads throughout the day to devote a few minutes to the search for news (in the hope there are good ones). At the entrance are distributed yellow-blue bows to show solidarity with the Ukrainian people, a small gesture that certainly will not change the fate of this conflict but that still creates a beautiful moment of humanity and unity.
As a result of this situation, the organizers of the MWC decided, in line with the current political and government sanctions, to block the exhibitions of the Russian pavilion, and in fact exclude Russia from the event.
Strolling through the various stands, there are so many novelties: smartphones and tablets are of the latest generation and of all kinds – the competition is tight – and the accessories among the most disparate. Linked to the theme of mobile there is clearly that of 5G and how it is possible to make the most of the new fast network (there is even a robot barman who prepares cocktails).
One of the greatest – and expected – novelties is surely the one that concerns the metaverse. There are so many companies that have enthusiastically embraced this innovation, a hybrid between physical and virtual, and have explored the possible and varied applications that can range from industry 4.0 to entertainment, education to health, through social relations.
4YFN, the internal event dedicated to startups
Also this year within the fair (in editions until 2019 this event was held in the pavilions of Montjuic), the 4YFN – 4 Years From Now is the part of the MWC dedicated to startups.
For the more than 500 startups from different countries this is undoubtedly an excellent European and international showcase that allows startups, investors and large companies to get in touch with each other and facilitate forms of collaboration in this way. The present digital ecosystem contains startups from every sector and the technologies used are really a lot: Artificial Intelligence, automation, big data, iot, virtual and augmented reality, robotics, blockchain, metaverse…
As soon as you enter Hall 6 you can immediately feel the change. We move from the stands of large corporate, characterized by giant screens and sparkling lights, to the many small corridors where exhibitors are full of activities.
Conferences are held continuously in many dedicated spaces, speech and keynote in which startuppers, investors and industry professionals share their opinions and experiences. There are so many speakers (just to name a few: Oscar Pierre and Maximilian Tayenthal, respectively co-founder Glovo and N26, both unicorns), but all the conferences are really stimulating and of absolute value.
Beyond the 4YFN
Barcelona is certainly a lively, dynamic and cosmopolitan city. The environment of 4YFN is really very youthful, and our Catalan days also go beyond the fair.
The events organized after the day at the MWC (which we obviously could not miss) that allow us to chat and learn about new realities are of fundamental importance and absolutely stimulating. We participate in some interesting parties, also thanks to the valuable advice of our “amigos” and neighbors of Ikigai stand (thanks again for the sweatshirt given to us!) and on Thursday evening – to end our Spanish adventure in the best way – we attend an event organized by Levels Up.
In the middle of a more formal evening, guests at the home of the Italian Consul of Barcelona Emanuele Manzitti, invited thanks to the victory of the MyStart BCN award. A definitely different evening that gives us the opportunity to know (in person and not only digitally) other interesting Italian realities present at the MWC with ICE (Agency for the promotion abroad and internationalization of Italian companies) and with Puglia Region.
The Barcelona ecosystem is currently among the best in the European Union for the creation of a startup and the 2nd hub preferred by the founders – also international – to create an emerging digital company. The air you breathe is that in the coming years the WMC will become increasingly important and will become a reference point for trade fairs in Europe and around the world.
And Klondike will be there! Appointment at the next Mobile World Congress!!