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Catalan cell-phone industry shows its international success at the Mobile World Congress

Dozens of Catalan companies are on show at the 2015 Mobile World Congress, which is taking place in Barcelona until Thursday. Many of them are gaining notable success in international markets. For instance, an innovative multi-functional grip for smartphones to take photos, which is made in Barcelona, is selling not only throughout Europe but also in the USA, Canada, Hong Kong and Thailand. This grip, called the ‘Shoulderprod’, is, at the same time, a tripod mount, a hand grip for best stability in videos and photos, and a versatile stand with different positions. The mobile, tablet and TV games company Digital Legends has been internationally successful too. Besides, the Aparca&go app changes the concept of finding a parking space, since the user searches on the map the car parks nearest to its destination and makes a reservation.

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03 March 2015 08:58 PM

by

Jordi Julià

L’Hospitalet de Llobregat (CNA).- Among the hundreds of companies on show at the Mobile World Congress, dozens of Catalan companies are exhibiting their products at the  main event of the world's cell-phone-related industries, which takes place each year in Barcelona. Many of these Catalan companies are gaining success in international markets. For instance, an innovative multi-functional grip for smartphones to take photos, which is made in Barcelona, is not only selling throughout Europe but also in the USA, Canada, Hong Kong and Thailand.


This grip, called the ‘Shoulderprod’, is, at the same time, a tripod mount, a hand grip for best stability in videos and photos, and a versatile stand with different positions. It was designed by an engineer and architect, who are part of the manufacturing process. Ana María Vicens, co-founding partner of the company, told CNA that their intervention in the process, by mounting the spare pieces that they order from Catalan factories, and then packaging them, “allows us to keep control over the quality of the product”. She also stated that “the global market was a goal from the very beginning”.

15,000 units have been sold all over the world since its launch in June 2014, most of them online. A video by an Apple partner using it helped to foster product sales. “We are overwhelmed by the success”, declared the company’s co-founder.

Digital Legends: top video game creators

The mobile, tablet and TV games company Digital Legends has been internationally successful too. Their flagship game, ‘Respawnables’, available for iOs and Android, has reached more than 600,000 downloads in the Google Play Store alone. They have worked for big companies such as Disney and Electronic Arts, for which they made the popular ‘Battlefield’.

They have created 11 games, three of them on their own. Its CEO, Xavier Carrillo-Costa, told CNA that between their two main public groups – young people under 25 and people over 30 – “the adults are the ones that make up the biggest sales share”. In fact, in-game sales are their main way of earning, more than the ads that are occasionally shown.

Aparca&go: smart car park finder

With more than 9,000 users, the Aparca&go app changes the concept of finding a parking space. The user searches on the map the car parks nearest to its destination and makes a reservation. It only works, though, with those with whom they have an agreement, and only in the cities of Barcelona and Madrid. When they arrive at the car park, the user scans with their smartphone a QR code placed at the entrance, and the barrier opens automatically. When leaving, the user can go straight to the exit, repeat the same operation, and the stay is automatically charged to the user’s account.

In addition to the convenience of not having to go through the ticket machine, the user also gets a discount over the common fares. In the future, they plan to delete the scanning process. Erwan Navellou, Customer Service of the company, told CNA that this will be possible via GPS and Bluetooth: “when a user that made a reservation is at the parking location and the phone is detected via Bluetooth, the barrier will open automatically: you won’t have to do anything”. Nevertheless, it is still a work in progress.

Incubio: the projects incubator

All these projects could have been eligible for being ‘incubated’ by Incubio. This is a company initially focussed on Big Data and in fact founded in Silicon Valley in 2011, which ended up operating in Barcelona. Big Data is at the background of everything. Their ‘Yield’ shared-platform provides low-cost technology to easily introduce the use of Big Data to the startups created. They also provide help with formation via the Big Data Academy, not only to startups, but also to corporations such as Zurich. “There are many big companies that don’t know what to do with their data”, Pablo Casado, Chief Architect at Incubio, told the CNA. And for this reason, they “try to introduce Big Data and the startup way of doing things to the multinationals”.

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  • A stand grouping Catalan companies at the 2015 Mobile World Congress (by J. Morros)

  • A stand grouping Catalan companies at the 2015 Mobile World Congress (by J. Morros)