WME | IMG Launches "Internet of Things" Joint Venture With AGT International

FashionRunway - H 2015
George Pimentel/Getty Images/Courtesy of WME

FashionRunway - H 2015

The tech company will help develop interactive technology for WME | IMG events.

WME | IMG has formed a joint venture with AGT International, a company that specializes in developing "Internet of Things" technology and delivering big data analytics, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

The Internet of Things, or IoT, is technology that connects household and everyday objects online in order to collect data and enhance user experience. Perhaps the most well-known current application of IoT technology is Nest Labs’ smart thermostats, smoke alarms and home security cameras, which are outfitted with an array of sensors that can be accessed remotely via mobile phone.

AGT will help develop an IoT platform for WME | IMG’s vast portfolio of more than 800 events, which include concerts as well as Wimbledon and Fashion Weeks around the world. The joint venture launched this week at Toronto Fashion Week with a small test sampling of volunteer models, designers and WME | IMG employees. The models are wearing biometric sensors and cameras that allow users to experience the catwalk from a first-person perspective. Meanwhile, employees in the audience are outfitted with their own biometric sensors that send real-time data to the designers about their physical reactions to each piece in their collections.

After a few more test runs at select events in the U.S. and Europe over the next couple of months, the joint venture will embark on a more comprehensive rollout next year. Soon, “smart” venues will be able to communicate with attendees to tell them the location of the nearest bathroom with the shortest line, or to send photos taken on venue-equipped cameras directly to attendees via a permission-based event app.

For WME | IMG clients, event organizers will be able to monitor user experience in real-time, allowing them to respond and adapt quickly as needs arise. And with enough attendee opt-ins, artists and organizers alike will have access to deeper and more detailed consumer feedback.

“Consumer and entertainment companies have been collecting insights for years, but very few of our clients and partners have had access to analytics that allow them to act on those insights to deliver relevant content and better experiences for their audiences,” WME | IMG co-CEO Ari Emanuel said in a statement. “Our partnership with AGT marks a paradigm shift, recognizing that IoT technology and data science will fundamentally change the way people experience live events, as well as how they consumer and share content that matters to them.”

The joint venture will be headquartered in New York, which also will host a research and data center in addition to the Switzerland-based AGT’s existing R&D sites in Silicon Valley, Germany and Israel.

“This exciting new venture is centered on the consumer experience, creating true Social IoT,” AGT CEO Mati Kochavi said in a statement. “There is no greater single source of sports and entertainment content and live events than WME | IMG. Layering our technology across their impressive event portfolio will produce a new level of engagement among event-goers, talent, brands and even fans at home. It’s a meaningful connection that is meant to start before an event and extend well past it.”