This year our Brit Abroad – Norfolk boy Lins is back at MWC in Barcelona!
Mobile World Congress is one of the world’s largest Technology conventions, with 70,000 visitors each year. It’s like a festival, except with the comfort of hotels and toilet attendants. Key note speakers this year include Mark Zukerberg, Facebook and F1 Driver Lewis Hamilton.
Here is Lins’ diary – Day -1:
I turned up and got to the hotel. Last year’s accommodation was what I would call a step up from a YMCA (I had my own room at least) but in an area of town where you didn’t feel very safe walking around in a suit. This year, I love it, It is pure chance but the hotel is on the walkway to the Arc De Triumph. Plus I have a room with a view, the costs are still the same per night as last year’s dive so I am a big fan of this place for Trip Advisor.
So I’m up early and I don’t need to be on the stand until 13:00 to set up my stuff and get everybody familiar with our game and scoreboard. This means I have a morning to kill. Opposite my hotel there is a park and I thought I would take a look around. Wow heheh I was blown away by the park. Gothic buildings, boating lake and a lovely fountain. That is really all the photos I could send on today. More of a look at Barcelona and the lack of ice : )
After that I thought I would figure out the public transport because you do get a 4 day public transport pass to get you to the event which will save a few quid on taxi fares, but last year my room was off the beaten track so I had to taxi it both days.
I think I got the hang of it. Line 1 for 6 stops and then line 8 until everyone gets off. Sorted!
Then I find out that the public transport here are having a strike this week. DOH!
They say a minimal service is still running and that does mean that taxis are going to be as rare as rocking horse shit which means I have an early start tomorrow to be on the stand by 07:45 giving enough time for travel hassles.
So my final photo is me rocking up outside the venue and seeing the familiar entrance. I thought I would grab a photo where I could get the whole metal sign in and the doors because as I remember last year that area gets packed (as does the whole place).
I go inside and our client, AsiaInfo are in shed 7. I love walking through because you see the money poured into some of the stands (one had a 30 foot long screen simulating a waterfall/rainforest backdrop). The whole place is a building site, there is sawing and drilling and plenty of shouting. Wherever you go you are in someones way and you get a loud shout before a ladder is coming through head height or a fork lift is piling down the alleyways. I do remember NEC and Earls Court being on the large side but I think if you put both together they would fit inside here easily. It’s not E3 but it is still massive.
On the stand, there’s plenty happening with putting it together and last year I had the panic moment of the 3 metre extension HDMI and USB leads not working so had to reinvent how our previous years’ game setup was going to work. This year is easy. I pull out the S6 phone, start it up, plop it into the Gear VR and shout ‘Who wants a go?’
A few of the AsiaInfo team who aren’t busy have a crack and love it. I told them our creative director Jeremy’s score (1430!) and they are all keen to beat it before Thursday.
Then the time came to try out the iPad scoreboard. Hit the app icon and it started and then it disappeared. Not good. tried it a few more times and it just wouldn’t start. Rebooted the iPad, put it on and offline, changed the system date and locations but it just would not go.
I rang Dave, who gave up his Sunday afternoon to go into the office. He wasn’t keen but I was facing a group of people telling me the scoreboard isn’t working again and I had run out of things to try at this end. From our further phone call I have my own conspiracy theory on Apple breaking development installs for Sunday for their own reasons, but with some quick thinking on our client’s part we restored the iPad settings to 20 days ago and it installed .
So I hung around a little longer, but could see I was just getting in the way again. They have to finish everything by 19:00 so that the cleaners and carpet layers can work through the night. I remember from last year’s panic that they face a heft hourly fine if you want to stay after hours to setup past 19:00. So I came away and left them to it.
One thing to mention:
I had a brief walk around to see what was nearby and next door is the HTC stand. They are all about the Vive and Steam this year. Posters and Vive branding everywhere, today they announced their retail price $800.
Now I have tried twice to get onto their development program (once through steam and once through HTC website) so during the week I am going to be popping over there and getting them to come across and play my game. Whilst also trying out their toys and harassing them into explaining why they aren’t letting me onto their developers program. I’ll let them know how much development we have done on the Cardboard, Gear VR, Oculus Rift and Rift with Leap too.
When I was meandering around their Vive stand, they were working on fitting the glass on a back area, but the front area had about 16 booths all set up with Vive’s all there. Just sitting there. A bit of me thought I wonder how far I would get if I grabbed one and legged it heheh, but of course I wouldn’t especially not having to turn up at the stand next door for the next 4 days. You can take the boy out of King’s Lynn …. : )
Well that is day (-1), I am due on the stand 07:45 tomorrow, the game and scoreboard are looking all good to go. The show goes on until 19:00 every night so I don’t know if I will be up for writing this much every day, but we’ll see how it goes. I am going in armed with a ton of business cards and going to be shouting VR! and The Fusion Works! to anyone who wants to listen.