Why does it seem comical that a mobile world congress is unable to make the mobile world, well, work-able? And what exactly were the world’s most powerful executives talking about in Barcelona? pervasively connected experiences, presumably. It is baffling to me that industry leaders dare to strut – in circumstances that betray their credibility – without training their corporations to solve the problem they are ‘whistling past’, in the form of a commercial product, or service.
I know. Progress is unevenly distributed. But why is such a poverty of the imagination so hard to detect?
…”That’s the problem with networking conventions,” said Google CEO Eric Schmidt during a keynote address this week. “Everyone is on the network.”
…Mobile World Congress was a peculiar event in that most people in attendance had smart devices with the ability to connect both to 3G networks as well as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Many of the attendees carried two such gizmos, like a BlackBerry and an Android phone, or an iPhone and an iPad.
That’s a whole lotta gadgets trying to suck down a whole lotta data. This year’s Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, which draws the same kind of uberwired crowd, had similar connectivity problems.
Cisco (CSCO, Fortune 500), which operated the free Wi-Fi network at Mobile World Congress — and plastered that fact all over the convention — estimated that there were 40,000 unique devices trying to connect to its network alone. Average peak usage reached about 3,200 devices managing to connect simultaneously to Cisco’s 110 access points.
Though Cisco asked to install more access points, Mobile World Congress’ operators limited the availability of the free network to 10% of the conference’s locations. (The convention ran its own paid Wi-Fi network as well, also managed by Cisco.) That led to digital stampedes: The press room access point, designed to supply connections to 200 clients, had 700 people accessing the network.
Cisco provided similar Wi-Fi access at this year’s Super Bowl. Despite having twice as many attendees, that event went off without a hitch.