The Amazing Technologies of the Dx3 Tradeshow

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Day 1 at the Dx3 Tradeshow, Toronto, March 8 2017

Last week I attended the Dx3 Tradeshow. It was a fascinating two days full of cutting edge tech and forward-thinking companies in retail, marketing, and data analytics. As much as it pains me to admit, I’m somewhat of a noob when it comes to tradeshows, so this represented a great opportunity for me to get out of my normal routine and network in an environment where I can meet interesting people and discover provocative ideas which could turn into big stories. I obtained media credentials to the event, so I was able to get in free, thanks to a press release which appeared in my old email (thanks Herscu & Goldsilver!)

What did I discover at Dx3? Many things, and I also took a few photos to prove it. Here’s what I discovered.

VR Tech is Coming to Real Estate

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Invent Dev uses VR technology to put home buyers inside a virtual showroom where they can alter floor plans and building materials.

There’s always virtual reality stuff at the Dx3 Tradeshow, and this year it drew big crowds as it always does. The most interesting application of this tech was at the Invent Dev booth. The company uses VR headsets to put people inside a virtual showroom for real estate properties where they can be transported into the living room of a home on the other side of the country. By navigating with an XBOX controller the user can move around the room, and by gazing at menus that pop up at certain locations the user can customize floor plans and change the materials used for the flooring and the counter tops.

Invent Dev has been using this technology to help their clients sell more units, and sell them faster, than ever before. I spoke to CEO David Payne, and as one example he cites the St. Leslieville Church Street Lofts. The developer only sold two out of 14 units in nine months, but when Invent Dev came in and set them up with a virtual showroom they were able to sell 75% of the units in just two weeks. As a case study, it clearly demonstrates how VR technology can empower real estate developers and real estate agents to serve their clients better, and ultimately sell more properties.

Holographics Have Come a Long Way

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Holocube uses holographic technology to create eye-catching ads like this one for Budweiser. The glass is real, but the golden beer is only a trick of light.

When I was a kid there was a holographic arcade game where you play a time travelling cowboy. I remember playing it at an arcade for my fifth grade birthday party. Today, holographic technology has come a long way and people are finding powerful applications for it in advertising. At Dx3, Holocube presented an intriguing optical illusion of a beer glass being refilled with smooth, golden lager over and over again. The glass itself was real, but the free-flowing beer was just a trick of light made possible by mirrors reflecting the image back onto the glass.

It certainly grabs your attention, and the applications for it in advertising are obvious. For advertising to be effective, it has to make people stop and look and to that end, the Holocube definitely does the job. The Holocube company offers a line-up of different holographic devices ranging from a tablet, to a 40-inch aluminum cube.

One thing that I was really looking forward to was the Microsoft Hololens presentation. It took some time to get the device up and running because the WiFi connection wasn’t cooperating, but once he finally got it set up it was worth the wait. Basically, it creates a holographic interface that only the user can see. With the hololens interface, retailers can play with holographic store displays by pointing and clicking the air with their fingers. They can add, remove, and move around different products on a holographic shelf that only they can see while wearing the Hololens.

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Bruno Capuano, technology innovation advisor for the Microsoft Hololens, demonstrates the Hololens is his presentation at the MediaNet Theatre. Uncooperative WiFi made for a difficult setup, but eventually he got it up and running for a demo.

The hololens has many other applications too. Say you’re cooking a meal at home; with the Hololens, you can have a recipe on display right in front of your eyes. You can even have multiple panels. For example, you can have one panel with the soccer game on, while in another panel you have that recipe for risotto you’re working on. These are just two examples, but the potential in this device is futuristic and far reaching.

Tobii Pro eye tracker glasses

I also had the chance to try out the Tobii Pro eye tracker glasses at the Dx3 Autolab. The purpose of the experiment was to simulate the experience of buying a car and provide Toyota with real data about what people look at, what holds their attention and interest, when they’re shopping for a car. The data will be compiled into a report slated to be released sometime in the next couple weeks. I think I may have been one of the first people to strap on the glasses and walk around the lab.

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The Dx3 Autolab where people would put on the Tobii Pro eye tracker glasses and peruse the cars. Each participant was collecting data for a report with would later be given to Toyota.

Tobii Pro creates eye tracker technologies and the platform to collect and analyze the data. The technology is powerful becuase it enables advertisers and marketers to glean some real data and useful insights about what makes people look. If they know that, they can make more effective advertisements and marketing materials. 18 of the world’s top 20 advertisers have employed Tobii Pro’s technology and services, each with pronounced improvements, so it goes to show how powerful this tech can be. It’s interesting to think about what might be some other applications for this technology. Like so many other things at Dx3, the technology opens us to a new world of possibilities.

The Technological Takeaway

I wasn’t able to sell a pitch related to the event, so I took the tradeshow as an opportunity to network and find some new ideas to write about. To that end, I would say I succeeded. I discovered many new and fascinating things that I had never seen before, and it fit with my specialization in technology and entrepreneurship.

The time to be proactive and dedicated is here, and the Dx3 Tradeshow gave me inspiration to move forward. There no limit to how far we can go when we keep our minds, and our hearts, open.

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