What we did at Mobile World Congress

Who says the rain in Spain falls mainly on the plain? It has been falling heavily in Barcelona for Mobile World Congress this week but doesn’t appear to have dampened the spirits of the expected 50,000 visitors to Fira for this year’s global gathering of the mobile phone community.

While a lot of chat early in the week was around the agreement between 15 of the world’s largest mobile operators, including Telefónica, to join forces to launch the ‘Wholesale Applications Community’, an open international applications platform, there was also all the usual launches of new handsets and operating systems, the latest technology and a look into what the future might hold.

We have had the launch of Windows Phone 7 Series, the latest operating system from Microsoft which they hope will bring them back into the smartphone market with a bang later in the year. A wide range of companies have signed up to work with Microsoft on this, including Telefónica. Watch this space.

Meanwhile, visitors to our Telefónica and O2 stand this year have had a chance to see what new applications may be just around the corner for business users and consumers. In an age when everyone is looking for ways to be more sustainable, one of the most exciting demonstrations was an application that is being developed in Spain to support ‘Telefónica Green’.

The app, which is currently being tested on the iPhone, helps people become more efficient with their energy use. Our test version allows you to control household devices like TV’s, games consoles and DVD players directly from the handset – switching them on and off or onto standby at the flick of an icon on the phone. Add to that real time energy usage and up to the minute charging and you really will be able to see the cost savings as they happen.

While reduced packaging, environmentally friendly chargers and more sustainable handsets, like the Sony Ericsson Naite, are a really good start, being able to work with customers and engage them in their energy use would undoubtedly be a big step forward.

If Mobile World Congress is the barometer of the mobile industry, the outlook’s definitely sunny.