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Havas Tech Week: Recap

Highlights from the week


Earlier this month Havas held its inaugural Havas Tech Week, securing a series of engaging events and a line-up of inspiring speakers for five days of insightful presentations and enlightening conversation. We welcomed speakers from the likes of Spotify, TrueStart, and xAd to HKX, the Havas Village in Kings Cross, hosted by 18 Havas and Mobext. Designed to coincide with the wider London Tech Week,which showcases the best of tech together with social, learning and business opportunities, the one-week Havas initiative was intended to combine creativity and innovation with networking opportunities for our talent and existing or potential clients.

Mobext: Mobile xPosed

To kick off proceedings, Mobext tapped into the exciting use of mobile technology across successful brand marketing activity, introducing notable speakers from media partners Shazam, Spotify, xAd, LoopMe, Kargo and Drawbridge. Patricia Lopez, Head of Mobext, and May Mwanje, Business Director at Mobext, opened the event by explaining that time spent on mobile apps has surpassed time spent watching TV, supported by the fact that 50% of 18-24 year olds would prefer to spend a year without alcohol than mobile devices. Patricia showcased the importance of Mobext’s media partners in client work, and how working collaboratively allows the team to leverage their technologies to deliver best-in-class advertising.

Hugo Marshall, Account Director at Shazam and Greg Jarvis, Director of Sales at Spotify demonstrated a few amazing case studies, exhibiting the importance of understanding any given audience through music streaming. An important factor for brands operating in today’s digital world who aim to better comprehend their various target audiences, is that streaming intelligence should be considered as an important tool in the people-based marketing toolkit.

In contrast, xAd outlined the potential of location-based technologies and stated that “70% of mobile location signals are inaccurate”. ‘GeoBlocks’, xAd’s new satellite technology performing location intelligence, takes location services a step further. The service allows brands to identify the precise location customers come from when visiting a physical store.

Drawbridge, the company that specializes in programmatically performing cross-device attribution, addressed how it leverages its expertise to help Mobext clients build customer profiles. Drawbridge changes the way brands connect with customers, with the goal of filling the gap between where, how and on which devices consumers spend time, and the subsequent path to conversion.

Closing the media partners section of xPosed, Kargo talked about “big ideas for small screens”, pointing out that even though 75% of customers are on mobile, only 25% of digital ad money is spent on the device.

The event ended with a talk from Ali Shah, Head of Emerging Technologies & Strategic Direction at the BBC. Ali gave some important tips to cutting through the noise of content and video in today’s advertising, giving utmost importance to creativity, empathy, data and tailoring experiences.

MIDAS: Winning the War for Tech Talent

Manchester’s inward investment agency hosted an afternoon event at the HKX Cafe, with one primary goal: demonstrate that it is possible to attract and retain amazing talent in the north of England. MIDAS brought together Emma Cheshire, Co-Founder and CEO at DotForge, Phillip O’Neill, UK North Market Principal at ThoughtWorks, Mark Varley, Managing Partner at Havas Media Manchester, Darren Minshall, Chief Talent Officer at Havas Media Group UK&I, Jonathan Bowers, Managing Director at UKFast and Arlene Bulfin, Director and People Development at UKFast.

This event was the perfect environment for every HR professional as important key learnings were discussed and challenged. Darren argued that “potential employees look at three aspects prior to entering a given position and a company – reward and recognition, career path, and culture and environment.” The panel agreed that ‘people experience’ is a new and crucial aspect of recruiting, and concurrently, companies should consider taking the organisation’s purpose seriously, as this is one of the methods that can bring talent in.
TechFast: TrueStart

18 Havas established it’s 3rd TechFast as part of the Havas Tech Week with TrueStart, the startup investment fund and accelerator, introducing six inspiring startups. With a full HKX Forum audience, Baz Saidieh, CEO & Partner at TrueStart, advised retailers to “focus on either going frictionless or creating an experience”. The event focussed on the future of retail and the unprecedented stress currently taking over the retail industry. Consumers now do expect and demand much more from brands, making it harder for them to identify where and how to compete to win over the retail war. Startups including Hoxton Analytics, Localistico, Hullabalook, Curl, PixonEye and PhotoSpire, are all working on leveraging technological advancements to better assist retailers in servicing, understanding, and ultimately retaining their customers.

Most of the six startups that pitched agreed that artificial intelligence and machine learning plays a key part in the future of retail, and can even be leveraged to track and understand customers based on footsteps and the shoes each is wearing while entering a physical store. Big data and digital capabilities have proven to be very advantageous in providing interactive ways for buying online, as demonstrated by Hullabalook, who advised on solving the “fear of scrolling”. An insightful case study on ‘Hullabalook for Furniture’ displayed how using dimensions derived from standard product data feeds can allow customers to browse extensive product ranges by simply hovering over a horizontal scale on their mobile screens.


DreamStake: Life on the Frontier

The Havas Tech Week closed with a highly relevant event exploring how frontier technologies, including artificial intelligence, IoT and distributed ledger impact the way customers interact with brands. Havas was honoured to host a panel curated by Paul Dowling, Founder and CEO at DreamStake, which included Francesco Federico, Digital Director EMEA at JLL, Elena Corchero, Founder and CEO at RoomOne, Stuart Cupit, Co-Founder and CTO at Inition, and our very own Amalia Agathou, Innovations Manager at 18 Havas. Faced with a panel of such highly regarded professionals with combined experience ranging from wearable technology and business transformation, to experiential production and haptics, attendees had the opportunity to hear insightful opinions about how customer and brand interaction is evolving.

Amalia cleverly challenged whether offline and online boundaries still exist, expressing how important it is for brands to know how to operate in both worlds. The panel agreed that the untapped opportunity in distributed ledger, which is the architecture behind the fast-growing bitcoin trend, is still expected to make a substantial impact in supply chains. Elena Corchero closed the discussion with some ‘food-for-thought’, adding: “It’s not about the technology brands are using, but how the technology adds value to the way brands interact with their customers. What kind of technology can achieve the business goals, and most importantly, how is success measured?”