Social Media, Green Energy Are Hot Topics at GSM Mobile World Congress

BARCELONA – The GSM Mobile World Congress closed Thursday after a four-day stint showcasing future applications for the wireless world. Mobile advertising, banking, health, publishing and television all found niches in the congress platform, with the App Planet Forum, addressing the burgeoning creativity in the mobile applications.

The green Google stand, serving creamy smoothies, was a hotspot—giving attendees the chance to try out dozens of new applications on site. Speakers throughout the congress seemed bullish on the effectiveness of engaging consumers through applications for smart phones. “There is no super secret sauce” to guarantee app success according to Rovio CEO Mikael Hed, an app industry hero, following the success of the Angry Birds franchise. “In the current situation there are hundreds of thousands of competing apps out there.”
With location-based, real time, highly-customized apps, privacy issues surfaced repeatedly, with RIM’s director of developer relations Mike Kirkup reminding audiences that US companies have faced lawsuits alleging misuse of data and that “ultimately government legislation will likely come in to clean [the situation] up.”
Facebook and Twitter infused every cell of the congress, with speakers answering questions tweeted to them during the course of their presentations. Indeed, social networking and its ability to connect brands with audiences was the glue that bound the separate seminars and keynotes. “We used to create experiences for ourselves, now our users are creating experiences for us,” Twitter CEO Dick Costolo said. “Calling Twitter a micro-blogging service misses the point of the social, strong connection it creates. And we have to ask ‘What’s the impact on business?’”
Green energy efficiency was another battle cry at this year’s edition, with the congress setting the stage by adopting a raft of green measures, including a paper-free media center. The Green Technology Pavilion saw paperless contracts and green fuel cell technology. Elsewhere there were nifty gadgets like the PowerMat wireless charging system, which uses induction energy to charge wireless devices in offices, homes, cars and airports with no cords or vampire drain on electricity.
Offering the world’s first full mobile 3D experience, LG presented the LG Optimus 3D smartphone, featuring innovative technology, to be rolled out globally starting with Europe in the second quarter. The presentation speaks to the industry’s newest hot ticket—3D. Several exhibitors demonstrated cool 3D technology for wireless, including Innanosys, offering a compact full 3D camera module for handhelds and Israel’s Comodo Console, specifically designed for the car with 3D graphics.
Products like London-based Snuko’s Anti-Theft and Recovery software sound like they are straight out of a Hollywood spy thriller. The GSM reported record attendance for the mobile industry’s premiere event, with more than 60,000 visitors from 200 countries attended the 2011, including more than 3,000 CEOs. "The record attendance to this year's Mobile World Congress is indicative of the impact and importance of mobile in not only technology and telecommunications, but across nearly all facets of the private and public sectors," stated John Hoffman, CEO, GSM Association. "Mobile truly is leading a transformation in how the world communicates, how business is conducted and how people live their lives."