Andrew Beckley

The future is not yet made – Trends spotted at MWC16

MWC can be really overwhelming. Being who we are and doing what we do, we set out to improve the conference experience. Our mission was to help people not only shortcut to the must see products and ideas plus understand their context, but also to have an open debate about what they meant.

Within hours of landing in Barcelona we had a Fjord team out on the conference floor scouting the show for trends, looking for what the future might hold, to bring it back to our MWC studio and capture it on the walls.

We invited them to our living studio for a real time trends session.

As Mark Curtis, Fjord’s chief client officer and co-founder, remarked “We’ve been writing up our thinking on the wall as a workspace for collaborating with clients. And it’s been immensely powerful because it has created a high degree of visibility for thinking. That’s what we do a lot with our design philosophy – make thinking very apparent, to make it big and allow people to collaboratively work on it.”


We then took our clients on tours. Andrew Beckley, design strategy lead, and Felipe Hillard, group director at Fjord Sao Paulo, led our clients on a fast paced journey through our MWC trends, where we could touch and experience the next big thing first hand.


Mobile World Congress was at a whole other level this year. We saw some really interesting themes emerging and were quite happy to see many of our Fjord Trends and Living Services POV’s validated throughout the show.

  • Lots of Little Living Things – Some people call it the Internet of Things, we prefer to call it Living Services. But what we saw was a move away from phones to projectors, earbuds, scales & jewelry.


  • Modular and Flexible – LG is the first major manufacturer to launch modular hardware. Upgradable and changeable ‘friends’ that can personalize your device – is hardware becoming like software?


  • Fashion and Luxury – This was everywhere. From styling of products to the authentic feel of a high-end department store, dressing your staff in athleisure gear, to partnering with the biggest fashion brands.


  • VR Has Taken Over – You couldn’t move without someone bumping into you because they couldn’t see where they were going. It was like being at a theme park. Long-term it’s obvious, but short term who knows what’s going to happen with VR.


  • Driving Partnerships – As we hinted above, other brands had arrived and they were the driving force. From Under Armour ‘designed by htc’ to LG giving up half their stand to B&O.


  • Making Experiments – Labs, garages, scientists and groups of people hacking and experimenting. It was mainly for show, but the message is we’re authentic, we invite you into our factory – above all we’re open and collaborative. Was this the start of the end of the glossy, over produced stand?


  • Back to Nature – The lasting impression was of tensions between what people said they did and the products they were selling, of the human marketing message and the very technical products. There was a divide between the wood and grass on the stands to very technical devices. Humanisation was talked about, but was rarely seen.


Watch our interviews with TVE’s Zoom net here and here, and check out our Fjord Trends 2016 for further inspiration. We look forward to seeing what Mobile World Congress 2017 will bring!

Andrew Beckley

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