Hello world: hello MWC

I’m sipping my coffee in my room at Hilton Gatwick (the cognitive dissonance of hotels: it’s a Hilton, but at Gatwick), after a crazy 3 days at MWC (and another one in London, not related to this story.)

I attended the MWC as an exhibitor: we demoed the first-ever in car payments solution with Shell and Jaguar Land Rover at the Accenture stand, and we also won a GloMo award, the combination of the two resulting in a nice alternate hood ornament for our demo Rangie:

The three days felt like Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, without the drugs. Arriving on Sunday, we realised the car shipped for our demo (an otherwise gorgeous 2017 Jaguar F-Type) didn’t contain the software/config we needed for the demo. 2 days of absolute madness ensued including, but not limited to, working with British and Spanish Jaguar engineers (and with English and Spanish diagnostic/service kits) to first reconfig, then reflash the car (and I thought my days of playing with cooked ROMs were over!), then, after finally accepting defeat with the F-Type, getting a replacement car (and storing the first one in an office room) – first an orange Evoque cabrio (which I’ll have to admit looks a lot better in real life than on specs sheet and pictures), then, after that didn’t contain the right software either, a white Range Rover Sport from a town called Vic… just to find that yet again, everything was against us, and all WiFi and all 4G networks were so congested at MWC that our demo app didn’t work reliably. Some punk coding commenced, and by next morning, we had our ultimate setup: the white Rangie, and an app that had all traces of internet usage stripped away.

And we rejoiced and delighted in it. And praised it and demoed it with success.

MWC, as the most important wireless technology event in the world, fails miserably when it comes to wireless connectivity. There is no full WiFi coverage (buying the right to operate a WiFi hotspot is crazy expensive), and from what I saw, no extra measures taken to prevent the 4G networks from failing. Yes, there are around a 100,000 people visiting, but this is GSMA and the Mobile World Congress. Are we really saying this is the state of wireless in 2017?

Nonetheless, it was a crazy big event and for us, a hell of a ride. VR, AI, Connected Cars are the hype, and 5G is coming… in 2-7 years.

Until then, if you have to demo at the MWC, prepare with a fully offline demo app.

And with this, I officially open my new English blog. Soar, little blog, like those corporate jets soared with corporate executives of corporate corporations to and from MWC!



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