The Tangram team packing things up after a long week at Mobile World Congress.
We're back from Barcelona, after a rather grueling Mobile World Congress - demonstrating Smart Rope from 9 am to 7 pm every day, talking to the press, meeting with analysts, buyers, retailers, and distributors and generally dealing with a monster trade show that sees 80-90,000 people descend on Barcelona for mobile tech. Here are some of our general thoughts on the conference:
1) Hungry for innovation. Despite this being a tech conference, we heard repeatedly that there's a general lack of innovation in the industry over the past few years. The big companies release their new flagship phones to a lot of fanfare every year because they basically feel like they need to follow a certain calendar of activity - whether or not there's really anything new to announce, there's always a big unveiling with millions of dollars poured into events and marketing.
And there's a general fatigue with the hype around wearables, with a flurry of devices that once held great promise now collecting dust in our collective desk drawer. We've said this before, but we really feel like wearable tech is going to be useful in specific applications, which is why we decided to empower the jump rope with new technology - making the actual workout smarter, instead of just monitoring the workout passively.
We were extremely flattered by the overwhelming response to Smart Rope, and the general reception that we've brought something new to a classic device. Trust me, we know we're not inventing cold fusion here, but we do think we're making something that's well-established a little better.
2) Pay to play. One thing you can't ignore is just the incredible size of MWC - this isn't just one massive convention hall, it's 8 halls (or really 9, but for some reason they named the 9th "8.1"). Walking straight from Hall 1 to Hall 8 takes a pretty serious 30 minute walk, even helped along with moving walkways. Naturally the big boys are grouped together in Halls 1, 2, and 3, even though we did have HTC and Fitbit with us in Hall 7. But all of these companies are paying hundreds and thousands of dollars just to pay for the booth space for four days - add to that the build-out, staffing costs, marketing and advertising, travel expenses for hundreds of people, and so on. It's very clear to see that he who shouts loudest wins the argument here, so we were doubly relieved that Smart Rope attracted as much attention as it did. In an increasingly crowded mobile tech market, you've got to either put down the cash to be heard or be smart and innovative enough for people to gravitate towards your offering organically. It ain't easy.
3) Lots to learn. As you can probably guess, we have strong ambitions for Smart Rope and our future offerings in the smart device / Internet of Things space. With Tangram being an outfit that's always been focused on the user experience, it's important for us to develop products that create real and tangible benefit for the end user - not just deploying tech for tech's sake, or designing an art project so we can win some obscure awards. It was refreshing and gratifying to speak to so many people who want to help us achieve our mission, both by sharing their expertise and by connecting us to the right people who'll help us get Smart Rope to more consumers. Whether they're from startups or big firms, people always have ideas and opinions to share - and it just further validates our decision to come to Kickstarter and interact with the community.
Here's a short clip of us talking about Smart Rope on AVing, who report regularly on-the-ground at the major tech shows:
We've received a bunch more press recently and we'll be sharing it with you shortly. For now, here's news on Smart Rope from GQ Italia (http://www.gqitalia.it/gadget/fitness/2015/03/02/palestra-in-casa-attrezzi-innovativi/ ) and Tabi Labo from Japan (http://tabi-labo.com/92248/smart-rope/ ). Thanks!