Lead by our CEO Jonas we attended the famous Mobile World Congress in Barcelona for the first time this year. A ticket price of at least 750 Euro must be worth the journey, right?
Four Years From Now (4YFN)
We started with the 4YFN (4 years from now) venue in one of the 10 halls.
We listened to interesting talks from Financial Times, who stated that they see their digital product much bigger as “just the website”, focusing on APIs at the core of their system, so they can deliver their content to multi platform devices. Talking to Accenture later the week we learned that FT build their API with apigee.com from Accenture.
Waze.com, an Israeli social navigation startup recently aquired by Google says that crowd sourcing citizens of a city makes the city smarter. Waze already imagines a world, where they tell you to leave one hour earlier in order to save 30 minutes – depending on the current traffic reports from other Waze users. Also, they reward their users for reporting issues and such contributing to the system by goodies for their users avatars.
Airbnb.com CEO Mike Curtis said that the sharing economy is a new concept and thus currently just at the start. They take security on the platform very seriously by offering identity checks, building a reputation model with user reviews or checking messages with algorithms to detect messaging fraud. Mike said that Europe is even a bigger market than the US and Asia is yet to come. They plan to personalize mobile search and anticipate where you want to go next based on your former trips. Most interestingly he asked: “What is the product of Airbnb?” It is not the website or the mobile app but the service behind, namely the place where you stay and the host that you meet. The trend will be to connect people in the physical world instead of the screen! It’s about the people you meet what connects you to a place. So in the future Airbnb wants to help you with the things you DO during the trip and not only to offer an accommodation service. The Airbnb vision is that nobody should feel like an outsider but should feel home everywhere. It’s about the people you meet said Curtis… So, hopefully the new app from creative workline that will be launched in March can help with that.
Following talks from Google Cloud Platform and a new startup wimi5.com that builds on Google’s infrastructure left no doubt about the fact that Google will continue to build on their three pillars information, computing and commmunication frameworks.
Bitcoin also was a topic at 4YFN. It’s about the merchants who need to accept bitcoin to help spread the cryptocurrency as the currency of the Internet. The speaker showed a hardcover credit card that is backed with bitcoins, nice! Hopefully we will see more of Bitcoin in the future like Bitcoin ATMs and more payment providers like coinkite, gocoin or bitpay. Not being depended on banks when doing internet payment transactions is a very attractive proposition.
Eventbrite CTO Renaud Visage gave an interesting talk about the future for the event booking and discovery platform. To date the focus of their business has been selling tickets only. This led to a ticket size sold of $ 1.5 billion in 2014 – wow! In the future Eventbrite – like Airbnb – want to expand their lifecycle and enhance the users experience to engage users over the long term. This means that you will be able to discover events around you in the future, Eventbrite is all going mobile. Users want events right here, right now, said Visage. They search for a possibility to connect users at the event or afterwards with chatting, swiping… In this aspect creative workline’s new app to be launched in March can be of help because it is all about connecting people right here, right now. Enhancing the personal experience of the user also is about data analysis for Eventbrite: analyze the events you have attended or shared in the past and make suggestions based on that, for example. Interesting to hear that the Eventbrite CTO sees native apps for Android and iOS also as the right development strategy when trying to connect users during the event. The content must be highly relevant and the app experience should be highly performant – therefore native.
Smart Cities and the Internet of Things
SmartCities was a hot topic at the Internet of Things (IoT) day at 4YFN. In smart cities of the future citizens will be reporting issues in their city they care about. This so called “soft or small data” of many users has then to be integrated in a system and combined in a meaningful way. For example Changify.org, a platform for locals to share all things they love or would like to change in their neighbourhood, offers the possibilty to post issues with pictures, text and a location. Other users then can “like” or “fan” this issue to identify hot topics / problems that then can be addressed. Mara Balestrini from Empathic Cities stated that they performed tests that showed how relating strangers and connecting them in a conversation leads to well being. She also said that they constantly test low tech IoT devices with people to see how people actually use technology. As a consequence, their prototypes have to be changed often due to the feedback testers. Tel Aviv showed their version of a personal city with DigiTel, a digital city card where citizens from the age of 13 and above can register name, picture and interest. The two minute video shows the “revolution”. I don’t know if citizens want to be connected like that with the authorities. But the trend shows that “the new mobile” is physical presence in space, secure authentication and location based consumption of content. Citizens will start to be PRODUCERS (of valuable information, for example) instead of consumers only. This is an interesting shift in society.
Dale Dougthery gave a talk about the growing DIY (Do It Yourself) community Maker Movement. In the future it will be much easier to be an entrepreneurial producer of things utilizing 3D printing. Why not find a 3D printer in your walking distance with 3D Hubs and start becoming a producer yourself?
Interesting mobile app companies to watch in 2015
- Be a Star: DubSmash
- Mobile Discounts: Whish.com
- India’s biggest Chat: get.hike.in
- Instant Events Tonight: yplanapp.com
- Instant Hotel Booking: HotelTonight.com
- Anynomous messaging around you: yikyakapp.com
The MWC companies show off
MWC was one of the most crowded conferences we have attend until now. So many people come to see what so many companies in the mobile space have to offer. Of course we visited the booths of many companies including Google, Huwei, Acer, Jolla (Sailfish OS supports native Android apps) , Accenture (apigee.com Backend as a Service), SmsGateway.to, Nokia (the new Android Tablet N1 launched in China looks a little like an iPad), Oracle (WebRTC, IoT, Mobile Security Solutions), Ford (cool new electro bicycle MoDe:Me), Mozilla (Firefox OS based on HTML5 is very slow!), Aptoide.com (huge independend Android Market), LG (curved Smartphones – not our taste, LG Smartwatch Urbane is ok), Samsung (New Android smartphone Samsung S6 Edge – their new iPhone killer?), FitBit App, Wiko (a french Android Smartphone Manufacturer (assembled in China) founded 2011), Fliplet.com, Mobile Marketing and User Aquisition companies and Berlin based TestObject.com and App Media.
We loved the igniting talks at 4YFN and the startup atmosphere there. The MWC itself is an “slightly” oversized venue with nine huge halls packed with hundreds of companies aiming to catch your attention – louder, bigger, brighter, faster! If we wouldn’t have written down the most important facts what we have seen and what we were having a conversation about at every booth we totally would have lost the overview – it’s simply too much! Also the attendees seem very “mature” and “business like”. But if you know who to aim and where to make meaningful connections, there is room for that too – we definitely did that. And finally, hearing the thoughts of Airbnb.com CEO and Eventbrite.com CTO as well as the trend in smart cities we are very confident that creative workline‘s new app launched in March will be a game changer of how you can connect with other people around you in your city.