I got to form some initial impressions of Spain. It has been a while since I have travelled and got to spend more than a flying visit. I got to spend some time in Madrid.
Spain prior to the great recession was a country on the rise. It had invested in modern infrastructure that would shame the UK, from its buses to its high-speed trains. They are all still in place. The trains have airport-style baggage scanners prior to boarding and the buses are curiously devoid of advertising.
All of the transport system provided digital signage and mobile apps to keep passengers informed and on the move.
When you look beyond the processes and systems things start to get more interesting. QRcodes feature on advertising of all sorts. I saw an ‘erotic massage’ service on a traffic light using them on its fly poster. QRcodes also appeared on FMCG brands in railway station adverts. Part of the reason might be handsets in the Spanish market.
Looking around by what I saw people use on the street, in public transport and shops, the handset environment was very different to the UK. Well-off people had the latest iPhone, everyone else seemed to have a mid-tier Android handset up to four years old. The likely lack of memory in the handset meant that the mobile web is a more viable option than apps.
There seemed to be a corresponding lack of m-payments a la ApplePay. Adverts for the Huawei P9 were amongst the most prominent ads that I saw running in out-of-home placements, but I only saw Huawei phones in use one, running ordering software in a restaurant.