The single idea of what the future holds is simply fascinating. Last Friday, MTN’s mPulse Planet opened portals to the future, 2044 to be precise. The summer event offered a glimpse into what the future might look and feel like, through simulating future advancements that imparted ideas on youngsters that attended the event. Families trooped in in their thousands, queued in long lines to register and take part in an experience of a lifetime.
This year’s event served as a sequel to the launch of the mPulse tariff last year. The mPulse platform is aimed at equipping young minds within the age range of 9 to 15 with tools necessary for skill development and effective learning. This is achieved by using pooled curated contents and externally sourced materials on its various channels. For the 2019 edition, the mPulse Planet converted the Landmark Event Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos into a tech fest sandwiched in talent shows and fun activities.
The bevy of activities mirrored the concept of a science convention fused with themes from an amusement park, and it easily overwhelmed with a sense of adventure that was felt right from the entrance, where participants signed in.
For the purpose of orderliness, the hall was segmented into two sections to meet specific interests, and by extension, prevent congestion. The main hall paraded activities that caught the fancy of the younger ones in the age spectrum. Walking in, one was greeted with Smallville, a fairy-tale kingdom of train rides and bouncy castles. It was strategically positioned to attract large number of person, which it achieved. However, the showstopper was the mPulse Radio stand, an avenue where youngsters slugged it out with their singing chops, for the top spot at a talent showcase. Manned by On-Air-Personality, Emmanuel Essien aka Mannie, the kids were enthralled by each other’s performances of popular songs and freestyle raps.
“For this particular event for MTN mPulse, I think it is a bit more intimate,” Mannie said, describing the ambience of the event. “It is an ‘activation’. Being on the radio and talking to children is not exactly the same as activation. It is short (fifteen minutes), but here, we are here for five hours. And you can feel and see the children’s passion for things that they love. You can feel that everyone has one voice; no child is looking at you, where you come from or what school you attend, everyone is the same.”
Dance Dance Revolution
Although, the event provided the perfect platform for kids to have fun and make new friends, it also served as hub for parents to spend quality time with their children at the Food Court, located outside the main building. Attendees were spoilt for choice with the vast range of pop-up restaurants, available to satisfy their unique palates.
Heading back from the Food Court into the hall led directly to the games arena, an area that boasted an eclectic selection of games to participate in. Be it for the dexterous that exhibited grace, handling game pads and air hockey strikers, or those good with their feet to take on a challenge on the Dance Dance Revolution (DDR) machine, it proved that there’s something for everyone.
Walking a short distance from the harnessed trampoline was the walkway that led into Tech Town, a world of creations and innovations. The Tech Town was everything the main hall wasn’t. It was more serene and void of frenzy; it was a place for learning. Here, participants were allotted a facilitator who walked them through the tasks in each category. After the brief lecture, they were allowed to work unassisted in groups to achieve tasks within a specific time.
According to the Chief Marketing Officer, MTN Nigeria; Rahul De, the concept will help condition the minds of those who attended the summer event to aspire to greatness. He said: “After last year’s launch, we have continued to improve on mPulse in accordance with the ever-evolving interest of young Nigerians aged 9 to 15. One of the factors that were to the fore was the need to usher them into the future. This summer event is a way of introducing our future (Nigerian youths) by stimulating their minds and interests.”
Some of the several categories in Tech Town required participants to assemble drones, using Lego building units to construct different models; others were given the task of building driverless cars and robots from scratch. In another category, participants were tasked with designing products or models on computers, the data were later fed to a 3D printing machine that was capable of producing three-dimensional models. Some designed items as tables and chairs, while others were more complex with their productions, going as far as reproducing their favourite cartoon characters.
Building brighter future
Immersed in the maze of activities structured to thoroughly engage participants, five hours felt like mere minutes. At the end of the tour through different sections, families retraced their steps back to Snapcity stand located in the main hall. There, they took selfies and group photographs over themed backdrops, sharing highlights of their day onto various social media outlets.
Establishing a time capsule that encompasses goals set for the future, the countdown to 2044 kicked off with most of them anticipating future transformations. While that is yet to come, what remained evident was the rekindling of spirits in the target audience, reminding them to join efforts together towards building a brighter future. As Rahul De hoped for at the opening of the event, the goal of spurring the creativity of young people to think beyond what they see and experience at the moment was truly achieved.