BARCELONA -It's been a cold winter in Barcelona but as the temperatures rise, it signals the arrival of...Mobile World Congress 2015, set to kick off on Monday 2nd March.
Last year's congress had a record-beating attendance of over 70,000 visitors and this year could go beyond that milestone. The sheer scale and length of the show (4 days) means that good planning and stamina are required to get the most of the event.
As a rule, I'm not very interested in the telecom operator's rhetoric and prefer to listen to content providers, innovators and outsiders at the show that can bring a fresh perspective on where the "connected world" is heading.
This year the conference track of the show has a tantalizing line up with Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales keynoting on Day 2 together with ARM CEO Simon Segars. They will discuss how to get developing economies to benefit from inclusion in the connected world. On the same day, the Wearables session will provide insights from Pebble and Fitbit and address the question of whether Apple's iWatch will take wearables into the mainstream.
On the same day (Day 2 is clearly a key day at the show) the day will wrap up with a Keynote on Mobile Retail with VISA and Paypal. Paypal have always had smart insights into mobile payments so I'm eager to hear what Paypal has to say about Apple's move into their turf.
Day 3 considers the "explosion of imaging" with wunderkid Bernardo Hernandez from Flikr considering how image content will drive hardware needs in future.
Sadly this year's MWC will not have the traditional WIPJam developer event, so developers will be left to flock to branded development conferences and will thus need to keep their anarchic instincts at bay during the show.
In a continuation of recent year's trends, mobile devices are unlikely to be the stars of the show, with previously peripheral areas like connected devices and homes (and suppliers thereof) gaining prominence and providing a greater transformational impetus than the commoditised mobile market.