Publicis Groupe Backs Innovation Startups, 19 IoT Ventures

The Internet of Things just received a substantial boost in confidence, thanks to heavy investment from one of the world’s largest agency holding companies.

Publicis Groupe unveiled 90 startups and digital projects that it will invest in through funding and mentorship.

More than 20% of the selected projects revealed at the first-annual Viva Technology Paris event involve the Internet of Things.

One of the 19 winning IoT-based projects is Wiseshelf, a smart shelf for retail that uses built-in sensors to notify the retailer and employees when a product is out-of-stock and needs replenishment.

The sensors collect data on consumer interaction with products on the shelves, such as how many times or for how long the product is lifted before being purchased. The product-on-the-shelf tracking is in real time.

Another IoT project called ART (Augmented Reality of Things) aims to connect the physical and digital worlds. ART uses augmented reality and connected devices technologies together to enable a smartphone user to point their phone at a device or object and immediately be able to control that device with a tap on their screen.

The other IoT-related companies focus on contextual advertising services, healthcare, especially accessibility focused, and nutrition.

The innovation investments mark the conclusion of Publicis90, a program celebrating the holding company’s 90th anniversary. Introduced in January, the program saw more than 3,500 applications from startups, students and even employees of Publicis’ agencies around the world.

The applications were evaluated first on the regional level by juries of industry leaders, as well as Publicis employees and then the final selections were made by a global jury. Selections were based on business potential.

Winners received funding between $10,000 and $550,000 depending on their stage of development, as well as a year of mentoring from experts within Publicis.

Of the final startups and digital projects, 65 came from external applicants and 25 were from employees of Publicis.

The grand prize winner was Emerald Medical Applications, an app that uses a combination of technologies to detect early stages of skin cancer based on images of the user’s body.

While many of the winners were not purely centered around connected technologies, the number of winners using IoT concepts suggests an encouraging sign for the industry.



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