Last week Toronto hosted Dx3 Canada, the nation’s leading technology, digital marketing, and retail conference.

Now in its fifth year, Dx3 brought brands, agencies, retailers, advertisers, and publishers together for two days of networking and education. Despite a winter storm that threatened to throw off the entire show, over 120 exhibitors from diverse verticals, 4,000 attendees from all over Canada, and over 60 speakers participated. It was a stimulating conference featuring some of the most exciting and innovative technological advancements in the B2C space. Here are all the highlights you need to know!

1. ClearPier Makes a Splash at Dx3

ClearPier proudly sponsored the event and showcased our vision of the future of performance ad trading on the exhibitor floor. The ClearPier mission at Dx3: redefine existing conceptions about programmatic in the Canadian market by setting the expectation for an open, transparent, and accountable media landscape.

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Above, Left: The ClearPier team happy to talk about transparent trading at Dx3 Canada 2016. Above Right: From left to right, Ben Mair, CRO, Sunil Abraham, CEO, Jignesh Shah, CTO.

Sunil Abraham, ClearPier CEO, firmly declares that change is underway for programmatic media buying in Canada. “Historically the least transparent elements of digital advertising have been price, performance, and placement. North American marketers have ‘exploited’ the traditional ad stack, hiding behind layers of broken vendor promises,” Abraham says.

ClearPier is out to change these preconceptions, remove marketer hesitations in Canada, and re-introduce transparency into the ad ecosystem.

“We’re on the precipice of something great here. It’s an exciting time for programmatic, for Canada, and for ClearPier. We’re very excited to be here at Dx3 Canada among all these leading vendors,” says Ben Mair, ClearPier CRO.

While the primary focus for ClearPier is to unify demand for publishers across performance, direct sold, and programmatic campaigns, providing advertisers access to the exclusive premium inventory they demand, more is to be expected from this team of innovative technologists making waves in the Canadian media landscape.

2. Physical and Virtual Realities Collide at the Retail Collective Lab

A number of impressive curated interactive zones were on display at Dx3’s Retail Collective Lab, a showcase of the top retail technologies from around the world that unites physical and virtual realities.

This year’s Collective Lab story focused on the ‘store as media’ – the idea that the retail space is the facilitator of brand story and product experience. All of which should and can be measured with the assistance of technology.

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Pictured above from left: Pepper the humanoid robot by SoftBank Robotics. A 3D screen shot taken live in Stefanka’s interactive fitting room.

Most prominently Pepper by SoftBank Robotics, the humanoid robot that reads your mood, recognizes facial and body language, and reacts accordingly, made its Canadian debut. For retailers, the wide-eyed four-foot tall robot promises to make communication of information with customers a more efficient in-store process.

Other fascinating retail focused technologies featured also included smart projection devices that helps shoppers select a variety of fabrics and furniture in real time by Vizera, and body scanning 3D interactive fitting rooms by Stefanka.

3. PayPal Startup Zone Features the Latest and Greatest

Besides the Collective Lab, Dx3 also hosted the PayPal Startup Zone where 25 of the leading Canadian marketing and retail startups exhibited.

The purpose: to reinforce the fact that if Canadian companies want to thrive in a commercial world with increasingly tech savvy consumers, they need to adapt to changing consumer needs and expectations.

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Pictured: The teaBot booth located in the PayPal Startup Zone at Dx3. teaBot uses robotics to bring consumers an immersive, personalized experience at their self-serve tea kiosks.

Companies like Fetch, the social shopping app still in its beta testing stage, and SmoothPay, an up and coming mobile commerce and customer engagement platform, are re-imagining the consumer shopping experience with innovative technology and unconventional business models.

4. Key Note Learning: Creativity is Key to Innovation in a Tech-Obsessed World

At 8:30 AM on the first morning of Dx3 Neil Stevenson, executive portfolio director at design and consulting firm IDEO, stood in front of a room packed to the brim with entrepreneurs, technologists, marketers, and designers, listening intently. Speaking on the essentialness of creativity to inspire innovation, he likens creativity to breathing – something that’s always unconsciously at work. But to breathe more life into our creative problem solving abilities, we need to nurture our creative souls.

“Most fundamentally, creativity has an input and output, you take something in and make something out of it,” Stevenson said.

If the purpose of businesses is to solve a consumer need, then we must find creative ways to solve them. Startups are great at disrupting conventional business models to bring out creative solutions, but success only comes when “you put your ideas out in an egoless way” and engage in a dialogue, whether it be with your creative team or your consumers.

For Stevenson, creative problem solving comes first, the technological solution, second, and listening is essential. It isn’t enough to bring your idea to the table. For ideas to become great, they must be ‘incubated’ – observed, critiqued, and re-shaped by more than one opinion based on the observed needs of the consumer.

5. Live Tweets from the Dx3 Exhibitor Floor

Dx3 was a big success – filled to the brim with fun, fantastic technological displays, and new learnings. Thank you to everyone who stopped by our booth to chat about transparent trading. Dx3 returns in in March once again next year and we hope to see you there.

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Above: The ClearPier team exhibiting at Dx3 Canada 2016.

BONUS! If you missed the show, click to watch our video for a total recap of Dx3 Canada 2016 in under two minutes.


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