Mobile World Congress (MWC) was a real marathon: According to my wearable gadget, I walked 70,278 steps, or 53.7 km, in four days. So was it worth it apart from the workout?

MWC was certainly busy; it attracted more than 90,000 attendees, including about 50,000 C-level executives (of whom 4,500 were CEOs) — making it the largest MWC event to date. While MWC does not attempt to cater to CIOs’ requirements — only about one-third of the attendees come from outside the technology sector, mostly from government, financial institutions, and media and advertising firms — the event deals with all the critical topics that CIOs will have to address in the years ahead.

This year’s MWC focused on innovation, which is arguably the single most important business priority to ensure business survival in a rapidly changing marketplace. As a business enabler, every CIO must meet the expectation of today’s business customer that he can get what he wants in his immediate context and moment of need. MWC highlighted that:

  • Mobile is critical to provide a great user experience. Therefore, mobile is becoming a critical factor for CIOs in driving product, service, and process innovation and enhancing customer and employee engagement.
  • Consumerization is redefining enterprise mobility. At MWC we saw more and more vendors targeting the mobile mind shift taking place in the business segment. This is reflected in the shift of most mobile business solutions away from traditional sales and field force automation toward delivering mobile moments.

MWC remains a great platform for CIOs to gain insights for:

  • Developing the mobile mind shift part of the digital transformation process. Mobile is not an isolated trend, so CIOs need to make mobile an integral part of their digital transformation.
  • Preparing the required enterprise network infrastructure. No CIO can ignore the role that connectivity plays in mobile initiatives. The network greatly affects connectivity quality — and cloud and data initiatives rely on high-quality connectivity.
  • Learning to think exponentially about the pace of technology evolution. Traditional business models reach the end of linear thinking models. MWC made it very clear that mobile technology, in combination with cloud and data analytics, is dramatically increasing the pace at which businesses must adapt.

Ultimately, 70,278 steps seems a short distance to cover to obtain these kinds of insights. You can find many more observations regarding MWC as well as reflections on my expectations for MWC in a more detailed upcoming report.