Aegis Media has signed a sponsorship agreement with MIT Media Lab, giving the holding company first crack in implementing its developments in social, mobile, data and insights.
Aegis will be involved specifically with the Media Lab's Digital Life consortium, which "conducts basic research on technologies and techniques that spur expression as well as social and economic activity." That fits well with the company's goal of "bringing ecommerce and content ever closer together," says Nigel Morris, CEO of Aegis Media North America, which is leading the global sponsorship.
Other Digital Life sponsors include Google, Best Buy, British Telecom, Samsung, and one other ad holding company, Dentsu.
But Morris told Online Media Daily he sees no competitive conflicts there. Unlike the company-owned R&D labs of days gone by, such as Bell Labs, he said Media Labs' collaborative nature lends itself to today's open-source development model.
"Jump Tank," the Aegis cross-agency group focused on "driving innovation across the business" will be heavily involved with the Media Lab, Morris said. Aegis is very interested in "three or four" projects currently underway there, he added. It has already brought one of its own ideas to the Media Lab.
Under the initial three-year sponsorship arrangement, Aegis has the rights to license -- and if wants, resell -- any technologies developed from projects it backs. Under the Media Lab model, Aegis and other sponsors completely fund all Lab R&D; in return, they receive exclusive use of resulting intellectual property for two years -- without additional licensing fees or royalty payments. Recent offshoots from the Media Lab have included face recognition technology from Affectiva.