MWC highlights

So this years Mobile World Congress week is over. Let’s see what I thought was remarkable enough to stick with me all the way back.
Monday


Monday was a day with the startups, attending Mobile Premier Awards (MPA). I had also entered Mobile Brain Bank into the the awards on several categories, but unfortunately was not nominated. Nominees and winners for many categories were selected by the Mobile Monday chapters, but none of the Finnish Mobile Mondays participated. I found that surprising and odd. After all, Mobile Monday was founded in Helsinki.

Augmented reality is obciously hot. Layar won the MPA in Entertainment and Marketing, also nominated for MPA in innovation for emerging startups. Other AR firms were Mobilizy, Mobile Acuity, and Flook.

My favorites were Flook, TaxiPal, Voicetap Technologies, and the winner of social change category, Rede Joven. Rede Joven is putting Brazilian slums onto the map. These areas have no streets, no addresses, but these young people created maps by walking around the allies with their gps enabled mobile phones.


Monday night was topped with Nokia party, with much talks around MeeGo. Many people recognize the whole Qt story as one of Nokia’s strong points during 2010 and 2011, and not the least with a full Qt UI framework introduced with Symbian^4. Qt also had a very busy stand at the expo hall.

Tuesday

Tuesday’s highlight was lunch with the Women in Mobile Data Association. Some tens of women cramped in an upstairs of a cozy Spanish restaurant, enjoying food, drinks, and good company. Thanks Helen, Anna, and HipLogic for making it happen. Impressive new friends made there include Nora Rothrock, who launched her first website in 1993 as the seventh domain in the internet, and Alice Bragg from the World Film Collective. The World Film Collective improves lives of disadvantaged children by introducing them to film making. There were a number of other really interesting people, too, especially developers and entrepreneurs, but unfortunately I didn’t have time to talk to everybody.


Tuesday’s party was of course the Symbian Foundation get-together. I met some new friends and colleagues, but mostly it was relaxing with the old friends. And by the way if you haven’t heard, Symbian source code is now open for anyone to access and deploy. Enjoy.

Wednesday


Wednesday was for touring the expo. If I start closer to home, the Finnish Mobile Association pavilion featured some interesting start-ups. Firstly, Powerkiss, of course. The wireless charging for any device, mounted in a table, or as a separate system. Awesome.


A totally new acquaintance was a company called Xtract. Their idea is to use insights from people’s social networks, and not just FB or Twitter, but actual phone use, to commercial benefits. They sell Social Network Analysis (SNA) to operators, so the the operator knows their customer better and can offer products and services that are more likely to appeal. I think that’s brilliant for two reasons: First, will reduce the amount of garbage advertisement I get from my operator, and second, finally some good commercial use for all the data that lies in the networks.

Wednesday night I spent with the Swedish Beers talking to many many Symbian developers from Israel, including Ofir Leitner who is not only the founder of Mobile Monday in Tel Aviv, but was also the mastermind behind the brilliant Java application “MWC parties” that guided me in the evenings. Vodafone and the OMTP guys were there and we had interesting talks on BONDI, and the newly launched Wholesale Application Community, and how that compares with for example Symbian’s Horizon and Nokia’s Ovi Store. (The answer: they all have a distinct role, but covering that to detail would take another full blog entry).

One of the constant talks at the Mobile Brain Bank, a peer network for mobile startups, is how and where to get funding. I was really excited about meeting Jouko Ahvenainen, Chairman of Grow VC. They claim to be the first global crowdfunding tool for web and mobile startups. TechCruch has mentioned Grow VC to be the “Kiva” for tech startups. I’m a member of Kiva, supporter of tech startups, and an investor so how can I refuse such a great opportunity. I will log onto Grow VC right after I finish this entry.

Thursday

Thursday was the day to go home, but I did have hours to make a final round at the expo hall. Mobile Brain Bank is planning an event later this year on mobile business in Africa, and I managed to find some potential participants to that event. As fun as the whole week was, getting home was nice, too. For pictures from the week, go to my MWC folder in Ovi.

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