Most of the start-ups pitching at TechStars NY demo day began by identifying a concrete problem that they were tackling: renting an apartment in New York or connecting co-workers at a big company.
For Immersive Labs, the challenge was to bring to life the kind of interactive advertisements that exist in the realm of science fiction, a grab at making fantasy into reality, not real life more palatable.
During his time onstage, founder Jason Sosa talked about creating digital ads that recognize who is looking at them and respond by displaying relevant ads. A man walks into a bus station, and the image on the wall changes from a tampon to a beer.
Sosa never addressed the biggest question around this tech during his demo, how exactly the signs identify users and what kind of privacy protections are in place. Turns out the tech keeps users pretty much anonymous, registering only a guess at their gender and age.
Once its got a lock on who you are, the sign allows users to interact further by touching the screen, pulling products around, customizing them and then making purchases through a phone.
At the end of the demo pitch, Sosa veered in a new direction, suggesting that Immersive could serve as a platform and unified ad market for what is a very fragmented universe at the moment. New Yorker’s can check it out with the upcoming debut of a new partner, the Hudson News kiosks at JFK.