If you didn’t already suspect that the mobile industry is taking over just about everything, a visit to the Mobile World Congress this week in Barcelona, Spain, might instantly convince you.

Wandering amidst block after block of exhibit halls, product announcements, networking events, presentations, product demonstrations, royalty, gimmicks, and taxi lines that seem to stretch all the way to France, you simply can’t avoid the impact and reach of this vast global industry that’s rapidly transforming the entire world. 

A visit from the king

For New Relic, though, perhaps the biggest thrill at MWC was a visit to our booth in the Spanish Pavilion by King Felipe VI of Spain. I even got to shake his hand and try to convince him to wear a data nerd t-shirt!

 

Of course, New Relic has a booth in the Spanish Pavilion because last October we acquired Ducksboard, based here in Barcelona. And Ducksboard co-founder Diego Mariño, now a principal product manager at New Relic, participated in a 4YFN—a MWC-related “startup event devoted to innovation in the mobile and digital ecosystem”—on Innovations through global acquisitions. (Look for more on that session in an upcoming post).

Mobile World Congress speakers

 

We are also demoing New Relic Insights with mobile data at booth B13, complete with giveaways and free sangria!

 

MWC beyond New Relic

There was also plenty of real news, from a keynote by Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg (FCC chairman Tom Wheeler is scheduled for Tuesday) to introductions of hot new handsets from Samsung and HTC and much more. Top trends include lots of virtual reality products and more emphasis on mobile payments.

But Mobile World Congress shows that mobile is much bigger than a few celebrities and high-profile product launches. It’s also a showcase for incredible creativity in the mobile sphere:

Ikea, for example, announced “Home Smart” furniture—think nightstands—that can wirelessly charge your devices.

Windblocker, meanwhile, is designed to cut wind noise when using your phone outdoors:

 

The Viettel Group delivers wireless in some of the places you’d least expect it:

Viettel map

 

Next door to the New Relic booth was an outfit that claims to employ 500 astrologers. Seriously.

 

I even saw app-connected powered skateboards, but didn’t try riding one:

 

Perhaps my favorite exhibitor, though, was Icon Mobile’s Twitter-activated networked beer bot!

 

Just be careful not to mix that one with this one: The award for the most insane demo I saw goes to the Whiplash VR system (No attendees were visibly harmed):

Whiplash VR demo

 

Barcelona image courtesy of Shutterstock.com.

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