Barcelona is known for beautiful sandy beaches, amazing views of the Mediterranean, and endless delicious tapas. It is known for breathtaking architecture in the Gothic Quarter and, of course, Segrada Familia, among other monumental sacred buildings. The daily pace is leisurely (at best) and the gin and tonic is treated like a magic elixir with the care and delicacy in which it is prepared.
The FordDev team didn’t get to see any of that. (Save for a G&T or two!)
The Fira Gran Via, in the heart of Barcelona, is home to Mobile World Congress each year. This is where the FordDev team also makes its home for a very long week. The lovely strolls along the beach are replaced by manic dashes from hall 1 all the way down to hall 8 (or 8.1, if you may). The views of the tranquil waters are replaced by a sea of humanity that seems to have no beginning and no end, but only continuously delivers new attendees to the shore of the Ford booth to see the latest applications enabled for in-vehicle use.
Nordes is nowhere to be found in these halls. The team subsists on water. A lot of water. Many times it is heated and brewed with a strong Arabica bean to deliver substance to the FordDev team members who perform hundreds and hundreds of demos each day to reporters, influencers, interested developers, and sometimes, to those executives from OEMS who have heard about SDL and want to see it with their own eyes but are shy, so they turn their name tags around so as not to be found out. We see you…and we welcome you! SDL is open for all to use. Please, come join us!
Among the chaos and cacophony that envelopes the Fira Gran Via for the week of MWC, pay attention, and one can see a calm underlying message. A crystal clear eddy pool. That message for 2017 is that connected cars are pretty damn cool. Sound self-serving? Maybe a little, but how else can you explain the fact that the Fira was filthy with cars, trucks, SUVs, and even autonomous vehicles? You could see a vehicle in the center of nearly every other booth throughout the show…and these weren’t OEMs. These were the same exhibitors who turned their noses up and harrumphed loudly when Ford first showed up at MWC years ago. Un Coche? Por Que?!
I guess times they are-a-changing. Funny thing…time. Ford was the first OEM to exhibit at MWC, and today everyone else is showing off vehicles. Ford didn’t even bring a vehicle to the show this year. No Mustang or Raptor, not even the Mondeo for the European show. Nope. Instead we moved forward again, talking about connectivity and displaying new modes of transportation, new ways to stay connected.
Like our friends at Waze, who joined us in the FordDev booth to show off their SDL integration which will be available later in the year for all SDL members to integrate into their vehicles. The biggest and best crowd source navigation app is now going to be available on the biggest and best open source connected car solution. It just makes sense. And when things make sense, you get clarity. Clarity turns that sea of humanity back into humans. Within smiling faces and plenty of ideas to make connectivity in the vehicle go further…which makes that gin and tonic at the end of the day taste ever so beautiful.