Now in its 6th year in London, Advertising Week Europe is firmly embedded as a major feature of the advertising industry calendar. As ever, the list of speakers at this year’s event is glittering. And as ever it’s very hard to decide what session to attend and what to sacrifice in a packed week of presentations and panels.
However, new for this year is TechX, a welcome addition to the more standard Advertising Week scheduling. TechX takes place in a basement behind an assuming doorway in Windmill Street. Once in the door, delegates are invited on a tour of a range of inspiring start ups demonstrating bleeding edge technology including haptics, holograms, AI, VR, and AR. The assembled companies have all been assembled and curated by VentureFuel, the innovation resource for brands.
Beginning in Autumn 2017 at Advertising Week in New York, VentureFuel now curates TechX at all global Advertising Week conferences. For 2018 that means Mexico City, London, Sydney, Tokyo and New York. The company curates companies from the entire world for each. So for Advertising Week Europe this week in London companies from Ireland, the UK, Belgium, France and Germany are featured.
VentureFuel was brought on board because Advertising Week recognised that they needed to do more to embrace and celebrate technology in advertising. “They wanted to have a best in class experience with companies you may not know about,” says Fred Schonenberg, the Founder of VentureFuel. “But - and this is a key distinction - they wanted the experience to be customised for each marketer. So it’s not some giant science fair demo day, but actually has actionable, applicable innovations for corporations and agencies alike.”
Schonenberg is keen that the exhibitors on show are there to help provide practical solutions for brands looking to engage audiences in new and surprising ways. This is not just future facing naval gazing. “It’s not about innovation for innovation’s sake but ensuring that the individual marketers leave inspired and with a handful of actionable takeaways to propel their business forward.”
On show then are a range of companies offering a wide selection of cutting edge solutions. One of the most eye catching is Kino-mo, an award-winning British company developing hi-tech visual solutions. After an appearance on Dragon’s Den, the company’s potential was recognised by investors Mark Cuban and Sir Richard Branson. Their holographic tech - which they call Hypervsn technology - has potential applications across a wide range of industries including retail, hotels, cinemas, restaurants and events and allows brands to create what they describe as “the ultimate solution for delivering amazing, floating in mid-air 3D visuals with holographic effect”.
Recognising that audio is as important as visual, the exhibition also features Audio Spotlight, a directional sound system which creates a beam of sound as tight as the beam of light from a flashlight, so that separate, isolated listening experiences can be positioned merely a few feet away from one another.
The importance of personal data security has been very much in the spotlight this week, no doubt meaning that the poeple.io stand is a popular place to be. The company offers individuals rewards for taking ownership of their own data.
At the Zappar stand, delegates can see how well-delivered and intelligently crafted augmented content can deliver truly engaging experiences for consumers.
Elsewhere, start ups in as varied sectors as blockchain and fashion retail are featured, alongside companies offering in-flight VR solutions, 360 degree teleconferencing solutions and AI chatbots.
There’s something for everyone. And it’s an encouraging sign for the future of Advertising Week.