From Barcelona with love: part two — futures made of virtual reality…

James Ash, Ketchum’s roving reporter in Barcelona

Date: Tuesday, 23rd February 2016. Location: Barcelona, Catalonia, and the MWC party is well and truly under way at the Fira Grand Via and throughout the whole city it appears. With glorious sun, the breakout areas have been buzzing no more so than in the Android Garden with its fine topiary (yes that’s right, hedges carved in the shape of the Android icon), where the business of contracts and money hangs in the air.

Tuesday at MWC is like Saturday at the US Masters –moving day. After the bedding in period of day one, everyone has found the closest toilets to their respective booths, worked out the best WiFi network for various locations and it’s time to do some serious business.

With the second instalment of the show daily refreshed and Samsung’s VR Gear news as good as weeks old now (such is the volume of stories hitting the media channels), it’s time to check out some of the big news from today and see who tops the charts for stand of the day!

Yesterday we had Zuckerberg and Facebook taking the stage. Today was the turn of the heavy weight CEO of BuzzFeed, Jonah Peretti who announced the aptly titled BuzzFeed Video, which pulls together some of the best videos from the main catalogue.

BuzzFeed has cemented its position at the head of the viral news realm, and today claims more than 200 million unique monthly visitors. It’s algorithmic approach to publishing and monitoring its stories is one that many ‘traditional’ news outlets are desperately trying to emulate, despite many dismissing it off hand when it hit the scene in2008.

By bringing NBC Universal on board last year as an investor Peretti and BuzzFeed are nailing their colours to the mast regarding future intent, and when you consider that YouTube and Facebook have been slugging it out on the digital video front lately, it’s clear that video is playing an increasingly pivotal part in the fight for eyeballs and maximum mindshare.

Today saw LG launch a new handset, but packing a 360 video camera and a new VR headset, there’s plenty to distract you from the smartphones. Alcatel launched its new Idol 4, using the packaging as a VR headset and just about every other announcement today (as well as yesterday), seems to have a strong VR flavour.

While last year IoT was the en vogue topic, VR is rapidly creeping into every aspect of this year’s show. A good yardage stick for the impact VR is having (and set to continue to have in the future), is HTC’s stand… The mighty handset maker gives little space to its muted smartphone refresh, but plenty of play space to its VR offering Vive.

‘Connected’ cars are all over the show too: Audi R8s, Mercedes AMGs, BMW X5s, you name a car brand, and chances are it’s here somewhere. Today saw a big shot in the arm for the petrol head community here today, as Formula 1 triple World Champion; Lewis Hamilton took to the stage to talk about Qualcomm’s role in the recent success of the Silver Arrow and the importance of mobile technology in the wider automotive space.

So there you have it, day two at MWC done. Which only leave one more thing to do and that’s award the stand of the day and quote of the day… today’s winners are the Google developer stand in Hall 8, doing its best to emulate a level from Super Mario Brothers (complete with multi-coloured pipes), and Ford CEO, Mark Fields for this cracker — apparently everybody wants to be a tech company these days!

“Ford is looking to transition from being an automotive company to an auto and mobility company.”

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