The expo floor at ad:tech New York played host to some of the world’s most well-known companies earlier this month, but some of the most talked about moments from this year’s show emerged from the innovative demos in the booths of companies both large and small.
Not even displays from 200 major Fortune 500 brands like IBM, Oracle, Microsoft, eBay, Dish Network, and American Express could fully overshadow up-and-coming technology startups like Koncept VR, Tagazu, Thinaire and StatSocial.
“I was really taken back by the number of young, hungry companies here,” tech blogger Kevin Matthies tells MMW. “Some of these fresh-faced CEOs make Mark Zuckerberg look like and old man.”
At no point during the show was youthful innovation more pronounced than throughout N3 – NOW. NEW. NEXT., a live pitch competition spanning the two-day event.
The competition featured a dozen promising startups assessed by a veteran judging panel comprised of industry leaders from the likes of M&C Saatchi Mobile, Thomson Reuters, L’Occitane, Battery Ventures, Foundation Capital and more.
N3 — a “Shark Tank” style competition — was such a hit that it’s sure to return next year, Matthies believes.
“We saw things this year that were really true to the spirit of the event,” Matthies says, noting that in previous years there was very little “ad tech” at ad:tech New York. “This year, there were innovative things on display that really fit with the occasion.”
One of the show’s most buzzed-about standouts was Airpush. In October, the Los Angeles, California based mobile ad company unveiled a platform that extends its reach into the nascent world of virtual reality. Reps from Airpush were on hand in New York City to demo this virtual reality ad network called VirtualSKY.
“VirtualSKY has been designed from the ground up to deliver gorgeous, immersive, virtual reality advertisement experiences from the world’s top brands and advertisers into virtually any VR app,” Airpush says.
As the company demonstrated for attendees visiting the Airpush booth, VirtualSKY places 10-30 second immersive “Experience Ads” at natural breaks in content, transporting viewers into the world of the ad with 360 degrees of video and sound.
With the latest industry estimates calling for virtual reality to reach $4.7 billion in sales of software as soon as 2018, it comes as little surprise that VR was featured so prominently in multiple booths during this year’s show.
AdsOptimal, a Silicon Valley startup headed by Brad Phaisan, was pushing VR-based web ads during ad:tech. The company rolled into the Big Apple to formally launch its virtual reality platform called 3DX. Those behind the startup say next year will be all about pushing virtual reality ads to mainstream digital media.
“Our goal is to be a platform that can show virtual reality across devices. We want to build the web version of VR where it can run anywhere, not specific to platforms and no installation required,” Phaisan told e27 last week.
For a closer look at this year’s show from event organizers, check out the official ad:tech New York site here.