This year’s Global Mobile Internet Conference (GMIC) in Beijing went well and beyond smartphones, covering everything from drones to smart home devices, facial recognition to virtual reality (something we expect to see at most, if not all, tech conferences in China this year).

Big data and artificial intelligence won the most limelight, underlining the fact that industry players across all kinds of verticals are increasingly seeing hardware, such as smartphones, smart watches, and drones, as just another channel to gather data.

“The reason I [created 3D Robotics] is not because I have any interest in drones,” said Chris Anderson, one of the speakers at GMIC and the CEO of 3D Robotics, a drone and UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) company. “I have an interest in data. I have an interest in measuring the world.”

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Eva Xiao

Eva Xiao is a tech reporter based in Shanghai. Contact her at eva.xiao@technode.com or evawxiao (wechat & twitter).