I spent 3 days at MWC with 3 objectives.
- Launch the pureVLC brand
- Get a snapshot of the current mobile landscape
- Gauge how receptive the mobile industry is to Li-Fi.
PureVLC ™ is launched
On Monday we launched, or rather introduced, our new brand for the spin-out company, PureVLC ™. There was no ceremony and the idea of doing a press launch at MWC we knew was silly. The media had much more interest in what the Google CEO or Facebook CTO had to say, not to mention major new products launches from the likes of Microsoft. Instead we simply adopted the new name and style on Monday morning. Most of 60,000 delegates wore dark suits and so we did get noticed in canary yellow polo shirts.
There seems to be a lot of posturing for supremacy by the big boys. Eric Schmitt saying he wants Android ‘in every pocket’. Apple made the headlines by simply not being there. Smart phones are dominant, apps are everywhere at the show and there was a lot of talk about the Internet of Things, although I suspect some were just applying a sexier name to last years M2M technology.
I could not get any data over the MWC Wi-Fi network so I tweeted away about the need for Li-Fi (using a slow cellular connection). Wi-Fi was totally choked and several people told me how it was worse than last year, and asked why things seem to be going backwards. But, let’s pause on that note – why would it be much worse – surely there was no less infrastructure and I expect they made some upgrades. Of course the answer lies in the fact that the demand has risen much faster than the technology improvements. We were all trying to email, tweet and post pictures live on social media, MWC themselves were sending emails with links to graphic filled web pages. Some delegates could be observed with iPhone in one hand and Blackberry in the other.
So we were discussing Li-Fi technology with people – the fact that the Wi-Fi was choked helped get the point across and we encountered much less resistance than expected. I did observe that many people already knew something about the technology and were interested to learn more about the capabilities and status of the hardware. With one exception no one was dismissive.
Student protestors had violent clashes with Police outside the MWC main gate yesterday over Spain’s austerity measures. The main gate was closed, as were all roads around Plaça d’Espanya as armed police in heavy riot gear clashed with protestors.