‘It’s just incredible’: MWC19 day two

The second day of the congress sees various technological wonders in robotic technology, with the metro strike continuing since Monday

CloudMinds' robot Nicole on February 26 at the MWC19 (by Mariona Puig)
CloudMinds' robot Nicole on February 26 at the MWC19 (by Mariona Puig) / ACN

ACN | Barcelona

February 26, 2019 06:09 PM

Barcelona’s 2019 Mobile World Congress may well be an industry trade fair – the largest in the world, in fact – but at first glance, one would be forgiven for mistaking it for a carnival.

Held in one of Barcelona’s largest fairgrounds on a total of 100,000 square meters, the event is separated into close to ten halls, holding over 2,400 exhibitors, most housed in a neon-lit installation designed to capture and retain attention.

And, milling in and out of the brightly colored installations bearing names like Nokia, Samsung, Huawei, IBM, and more, are hundreds of thousands of professionals. If organizers achieve what they’re hoping, attendance numbers could reach last year’s 107,000.

Kebbi the robot

As well as networking and exposure, pass-holders also come to see the present day’s most futuristic devices, like foldable phones or 5g ambulances. And, if your vision of the future included robots, the Mobile World Congress brings this just a bit closer, featuring real-world applications for the technology of robotics.

This runs the gamut from remote controlling the machinery of a loading and unloading platform, to an android called Kebbi that recognize the face and voice of members of the house and can perform tasks like dancing or helping the youngest ones with their homework.

A multinational event

The industry fair also boasts its own news channel, updating attendees on award-winners and conferences. But talks can also be found simply by walking the fairgrounds, where one can also hear a multitude of languages from around the world. Exhibitors, in fact, hail from 200 different countries.

"It's really exciting to see all these new developments and new technologies," said attendee Hanna-Mari Tuovinen. Meanwhile, Thomas Bruce and Lana Taylor both spoke highly of the event so far. "I can't believe how big and amazing it is, it's just incredible," said Taylor, while Bruce said: "It's just a really, really great show, and Metro's super easy to travel around.”

Metro strike continues

Indeed, the current state of the Barcelona metro has been a contentious issue. According to unions, many operators (as many as 90%) are currently adhering to a strike that has been called since Monday, with metro unions citing lack of response from the city’s transport company TMB regards medical issues.

Interviewed attendees at the congress spoke about taking a taxi as a solution to get around the strike. For their part, the Catalan government has upped the required minimal services workers cannot go below, in an effort to reduce pollution.