A tailor-made hotel room

SmartRoom A tailor made hotel room

Can you image yourself falling asleep to the sound of the waves and the blue of the sea, or being able to touch the moon with your fingertips? Or perhaps you’re the kind of person who fancies experiencing a live earthquake? Hostelco 2014 invited visitors to enjoy these and other experiences in the totally interactive Smart Room, an example of an intelligent hotel bedroom developed by the Hotel Technology Institute (ITH) and Broomx which uses state-of-the-art technology from the IoT (Internet of Things) to offer the ultimate experience of comfort tailored to guests’ individual preferences.

By means of an exciting journey in an area of 80 sq. m we first experienced the assistance of a robot receptionist capable of identifying us thru facial recognition technology. Once in the room, using a mobile app and our own smartphone as a remote control, we were able to customize the room with changes to both the ambience (thanks to an immersive screen system more than 18 metres long) and the furnishings.

These are just some of the options that the new IoT technology can offer hotels, and we discovered them in the Smart Room at Hostelco 2014. The variety of services that mobile apps can bring to the hotel and restaurant industry were the stars of a live competition/demo session in the IoTS space of Hostelco. A panel of experts evaluated the functionalities and capacity for innovation of the 10 apps submitted before choosing the winners.

Hostelco is hosting the debut of IoT Solutions, Fira de Barcelona’s new project based on knowledge and innovation and dedicated to the emerging Internet of Things sector, which will be incorporated into a large number of its trade shows. IoTS@Hostelco showcased the latest innovations in the interconnectivity of objects via the internet which, along with M2M technology and Big Data, will be revolutionizing the hotel and restaurant industry in the near future.

Manufactured waves

Post Waves Manufactured wavesThey have been seen in swimming pools, water parks and lakes… but never in the sea. At least, not until now. At the Barcelona Boat Show you can test out a wave maker, installed for the first time ever in the waters of a port, according to Clément Courtaigne, president of My Wave, the company which has come up with this invention to enable you to go surfing regardless of geographical restrictions or bad weather conditions.

And there you have it: although it appears contradictory and downright impossible, surfing in Port Vell over the next few days will be a reality. The device that makes it possible features an advanced pumping system in front of an inflatable structure on a slope, collecting water from underneath and propelling it onto the platform at high pressure. As a result, a sheet of water is produced that simulates the angle of a breaking wave which allows you to glide over the top of it riding a surfboard. More experienced surfers can create spectacular turns and patterns with this new activity which has been christened surf flow.

Maybe it will never produce the perfect wave that thousands of keen surfers travel the world in search of – especially off the beaches of Australia, California and South-East Asia – but it does recreate the emotions experienced when surfing almost anywhere else, and it can do so on every day of the year.

Celebrity campers

Post Caravaning Celebrity campers

What do the three-times world motorcycling champion Marc Márquez; the fashion designers Custo Dalmau or Miriam Ponsa; the model Malena Costa, or the Malaga Football Club Manager Javi Gracia share in common? Although the answer might seem to be nothing, in actual fact these well-known people from the world of motor sports, fashion and football share a passion for the motorhome and camping lifestyle.

The three-times world motorcycling champion Marc Márquez prefers to relax in a motorhome rather than stay at a hotel during the Grand Prix weekends. “If I have the motorhome in the paddock, I don’t have to leave the circuit, and I’m more relaxed and concentrated,” explains the Cervera-born racer.

Another world champion, the Catalan Kilian Jornet, who recently won his third ultra-running world championship, views his camper as a true home. “I like moving around and I spend most of the summer in the camper, because it gives me the opportunity to wake up each morning in a different place, in the midst of nature,” he says. Kilian encourages anyone who has not travelled in a motorhome to try it: “You’ll be surprised. It’s a different, more relaxed way to travel, away from the crowds. I’m sure that the people who have not yet lived in a motorhome will be delighted with the benefits it offers.”

The famous designer Custo Dalmau says that travelling in a motorhome is “a way to become one with nature. It’s like going back to your childhood and revisiting forgotten sensations.” The Barcelona designer highlights that travelling in a motorhome is a way to “discover incredible places. I’ve visited many places around the world in this way and it’s a fantastic way to discover them. If you take children, it gives them a whole memory bank of unforgettable experiences.”

Javi Gracia, from Navarre and current manager of the First Division Malaga Football Club, says that caravanning “gets you closer to nature and you can travel without any ties”. The former player for teams such as Real Sociedad, Real Valladolid and Villarreal adds that “for those of us who have children, travelling in a motorhome or spending a holiday at a campsite is very comfortable and fun.”

Miriam Ponsa, a young designer who was one of the big names at the last Pasarela 080, thinks the same: “I love the freedom of travelling in a motorhome and being able to stop where and whenever I want. Also, family connections become much closer when we’re in a smaller space than we’re used to.”

All of them are fans of this lifestyle and have joined the ‘I am Caravaning’ movement, aimed at increasing interest in this way of enjoying holidays and leisure time and sponsored by Fira de Barcelona’s International Caravanning Show, to be held from 4 to 12 October at the Gran Via site.

The home decoration must-have for the coldest of months

Post Expohogar144 The home decoration must have for the coldest of months

The simple act of adding, removing or relocating decorative items like picture frames, candlesticks, vases, pictures, cushions, boxes or candles helps to customise or revamp the character of any room. Catalan company Foimpex, headed up by Alegría Fernández Barnosell, has selected the “must-have” items of the season for Expohogar, presenting four styles that set the tone this autumn-winter with the addition of home decoration objects that need not cost a fortune.

‘Victoria Station’: Using British Racing Green, a dark green associated with British racing cars from the 1920s. It is a shade that adds an air of dignified elegance to a living room. Touches such as a clock, an umbrella stand, a side unit or simply a change of chairs… The only condition being that it has to be green. This also provides the still on-trend vintage feel. Surprising results can be achieved with the addition of a patch rug (in red, brown, grey or blue).

Bistro Black: Black is back, always in fashion. Tables, shelves, chests of drawers, mirrors… will be excellent features for bringing some bistro style (from French café society) to any corner. And if you mix black with white, another very fashionable colour, it can give any room a luxurious modern look. Simply combine pieces of furniture or add a black and white mirror. Metal signs also feature, along with clocks with messages, even seen on cushions, bags and wash bags. Another trend comes in the form of wooden or metal letters, with or without lights, used individually or together to make up words or whole phrases. We find them on shelves, on top of furniture, on the wall, set down on the floor…

Merchant of Venice: With Christmas round the corner, gold comes into its own, an essential later in the year. A candle, a lamp, a vase, a picture frame… Small gold items provide yule-tide warmth to a lobby or lounge. Antique styling is also hot, reminiscent of the Merchant of Venice, reflected in suitcases and trunks made of linen with leather corners and decorated with stars, drawings and messages. Similarly, wooden items marked with graffiti, allow the quality of the material to show through.

‘Wildlife’: Modernity that harmoniously blends wood and white. Cushions that make the wild wolf king of the lounge or an armchair home to a deer grazing among snow-covered trees. Tree trunks are brought in as placemats or candle holders, dressed up oil lamps, the house infused with touches of the forest.

Where do fish come from?

Post Seafood3 Where do fish come from?In many people’s minds, hake comes from the north, prawns from Huelva or Arenys, langoustines from Sant Carles de la Ràpita, clams from Carril and eels from Aguinaga. Leaving exorbitant prices aside, the seafood products that Catalans, Spanish and Europeans eat come from all over the world. The Seafood show, held at Gran Via venue, made this very clear and illustrated, once again, the economic importance of the sector and the crucial role that seafood plays in our diets.

Looking at the data from the popular Mercat del Peix (fish market) in Barcelona, you can choose from around one thousand varieties of fish and shellfish, fresh or frozen, from all over the world: half the fish we eat is imported; 18% is caught off the Catalan coast, within what we refer to as Km0 or very close to the coast, while the remaining 23% is caught in other Spanish waters. This is without counting the growing importance of fish farming: 40% of the fish sold in Spain now comes from this reproduction technique, making it possible to eat species that were once prohibitively expensive on a regular basis.

But even in the hinterland of Catalonia there are surprises. In contrast to what many people assume – or used to assume – the fishing fleet based in the Port of Barcelona catches more than those of Roses, Cambrils or Arenys.

Yet beyond the democratization of certain types of products and their origin, when it comes to children they usually have the same reaction to fish as they do to vegetables. There’s a certain lack of enthusiasm in choosing a nice fish fillet in preference to a burger, even though experts assure us that every euro invested in eating fish, with all its nutritional properties and indispensable role in a healthy, balanced diet, will result in a 10 euro saving on the healthcare bill within ten years.

Thanks to new awareness-raising campaigns, this is a message that society is increasingly taking on board and also opens up new business opportunities. Seafood Expo Southern Europe has no doubt about it.

Walls that talk

Today the world is facing major challenges in the near future. Its societies, organized in megacities that comprise large and small buildings have a duty to find solutions for sustainability, safety and energy efficiency together with an exponential growth and a pressing shortage of resources. Urban development has entered the twenty-first century with one of the biggest challenges in its history, but the good news is that it has already begun to work on the first solutions. Smarts cities and smart buildings will certainly change the world of construction, urban planning and architecture as we have known them so far.

Buildings will cease to be independent and passive structures and become interconnected horizontally and vertically managed, integrated and automated. It’s not just about more or less automated buildings or the amount of technology applied but rather of structures that talk, share information and act accordingly to obtain more flexible, more adaptable and more efficient structures regarding energy consumption, safety, or comfort with less environmental impact and significant cost savings. This also involves changing the way they are built and the materials used.
HVAC, lighting, or the building’s response in the event of fire, space management, maintenance systems, control input or the use of parking are just some of the areas where a smart building can give better solutions.

Fira de Barcelona also faces these challenges reinventing its international Construction Exhibition. Construmat will become Beyond Building Barcelona in its next edition in May 2015 Be to go beyond innovation with smart buildings, new materials and technology for home automation and building solutions. To go beyond a networking platform for national and international business and design for the latest market trends in construction and architecture.
With Beyond Building Barcelona, ​​Fira will be close to an industry facing major challenges and will contribute to building a new future for it.

The new Queen of the Seas

The Oasis of the Seas, the largest cruise ship in the world, is visiting Barcelona. This colossus has become the new Queen of the Seas, usurping Poseidon himself. The figures speak for themselves: 220,000 tonnes, 360 metres long —the length of three football pitches—and a capacity of 6,300 passengers and 2,300 crewmembers.
This is the first time a ship of this size has visited Europe, as up to now they have only operated in the Caribbean. During its three planned visits to the Catalan capital, up to 37,000 passengers will be disembarking, generating an economic impact of more than 4 million euros. This figure could only be surpassed by its twin sister, the Allure of the Seas. And it will be. In 2015, this other giant will be using Barcelona as its base port for its 25 cruises from the city (with , welcoming up to 158,000 passengers on board who will leave some 17.5 million euros in the city.
There is no doubt that the arrival of both ships further strengthens Barcelona’s leadership of the European and Mediterranean cruise market —last year the city was visited by a total of 2.6 million passengers. This means that hosting an international event on the cruise sector in Barcelona is no coincidence.
Indeed, later this month Seatrade Med will be launching at Fira de Barcelona, the biggest dedicated cruise sector congress in the Mediterranean, the world’s second most popular cruise destination. The meeting will be showcasing all that’s new in an industry that has changed exponentially since the famous TV series The Love Boat revealed a new way of travelling: on board giant floating cities. This travel option plays host to more than 20 million passengers every year, with around 300 companies offering some 2,000 destinations in practically every corner of the world.

Health “made in Fira”

This Saturday, there will be 30,000 more doctors in the city of Barcelona. It is not a plan to reinforce healthcare services during the summer, but rather cardiologists coming from around the world to visit the city and Fira for the European Society of Cardiology Congress. The symposium is one of a long list of medical or health-related events that Fira is hosting or organising, among which are the European Respiratory Society Congress 2013, the meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes, or the recently created MiHealth Forum.

It is the largest medical meeting held in the Catalan capital in recent years, but it is by far not the only one. Over the years, Barcelona has consolidated itself as the capital of medical congresses. Between 2011 and 2013, the city was the site of 390 meetings, bringing together a total of 258,000 delegates, according to Barcelona Convention Bureau data.

In recent years, the number of participants at these congresses has grown exponentially, even though the number of congresses and conferences in this sector has stayed at around 130 each year. Therefore, while in 2011 55,000 doctors visited the city, 79,000 came in 2010, and in 2013 a total of 123,443 industry professionals was recorded.

Table1 Health made in Fira

The following are some of the most noteworthy congresses in recent years:















2013 26th ECNP CONGRESS Barcelona


2012 ESTRO 31 Barcelona






A secret agent in Fira

Anacleto A secret agent in Fira

One of the most famous spies of the past 50 years is on a special mission in Fira. It’s not James Bond… more like Agent 86. We are talking about Anacleto, the beloved secret agent from the Spanish comic. This mythical character, created by the great Manuel Vázquez in 1964 for Editorial Bruguera, was one of the few people of the time that was ‘licensed to screw up’ (or con licencia para meter la pata, the Spanish title published in 1972).

His adventures—a parody of the novels and series of this genre such as 007, with hidden passageways, villains and coded messages—come to life on the big screen through the eyes of director Javier Ruiz Caldera (3 bodas de más, Promoción fantasma). The film, produced by Zeta Cinema, has an all-star cast, led by Imanol Arias and Quim Gutiérrez, along with other familiar faces such as Alexandra Giménez, Berto Romero, Carlos Areces, Rossy de Palma and Emilio Gutiérrez Cava.

One of the locations for the filming of Anacleto: agente secreto [Anacleto: secret agent], which takes place in Barcelona, is precisely hall 5 in the Montjuïc venue, which for a few days, according to the script, will be turned into a train station. Who knows what adventures—or misadventures—this unique spy will have at Fira? To find out, we will have to wait for the film to premiere in 2015.

A Hidden Treasure

Font1 A Hidden Treasure

The Magic Fountain is, with no doubt, one of the most emblematic features of Montjuïc mountain, with over 2.5 million tourists who visit Barcelona every year travelling to see it. Due to the recent restoration of the Venetian towers in Plaça d’Espanya (see our recent post), we discovered one of the treasures hidden in the installations built for the International Exposition in 1929: the original electric switchboard for the light and water show designed for the occasion.

Designed by engineer Carles Buigas, the fountain has 3,600 nozzles that shoot out two to four cubic metres of water per second. From the western tower (that closest to Hall 8), the lighting for the fountains as well as the towers of light that ran along either side of Avinguda Reina Maria Cristina and the hall façades was switched on and off.

Font2 A Hidden Treasure

Two of the fountain’s great innovations were the water spray system, without which the coloration of the fountains would not have been uniform, and the creation of a remote control system that allowed the ‘pianist’, as the person in charge of managing the show was known, to control the fountains through a keyboard located over the restaurant La Pèrgola, turning the play of light and water into a veritable concert instead of a mechanised programme.

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