Claire Waring
Jul 1, 2016

Cannes 2016: APAC's simple yet genius mobile innovation

Juror Claire Waring details this year's Mobile category at Cannes, where Asia has seen the re-emergence of clever innovation.

Cannes 2016: APAC's simple yet genius mobile innovation

The mobile jury at Cannes this year saw 1,228 entries flood in from all over the world. It was a year of animals, kids and the tinder of everything. Mobile is a diverse category.  Engagement, entertainment and enablement were three key things the judges were on the lookout for and whilst engaging and entertaining work was everywhere, mobile as an enabler was where we saw the most innovative solutions. Nowhere was this more evident than Asia Pacific where utility for humankind really stood out. 

Geo targeted messaging was a big theme for innovation coming out of APAC at Cannes this year.

The Helpmet is an excellent example; it makes response and rescue possible while a rider is unconscious. Thailand has the second highest rate of road deaths in the world. Accident reporting currently relies on voice, depending on the victim or a passerby calling for help. Helpmet changes this with a built in piezo shock sensor to detect serious head impact, calling for help with an SMS when riders are unconscious. Geolocation, emergency contact, insurance details and registered health information are all sent to emergency services in real time.

Toyota’s Landcruiser Emergency network brings communications to the most remote parts of the outback in Australia where reception is non-existent.The device uses a mix of WI-FI, UHF and Delay Tolerant Networking (DTN) technology to turn vehicles into communications hotspots each with up to a 25km range. In an emergency it creates a pop-up network to send for help.

In Malaysia the MyTeksi app enables the search for missing children to be mobilized instantly. Geolocation based Alerts are received by taxi drivers in the immediate area of missing children. Sightings can be reported directly to authorities through the app. China did the same utilizing users of the QQ network.

To tackle the problem of maritime safety FCB New Zealand created the virtual coastguard. An always-on system that patrols more than 9,000 miles of New Zealand’s coastline, powered by geo-fence technology. When a boat crosses the fence users are reminded, through ads on mobile apps and websites, to wear their life jacket and warned if danger is imminent based on their location.

Simple yet genius innovation

One member of the  jury observed  that innovation doesn’t have to involve complex tech solutions. Some of the best work we saw took existing software, networks or basic hardware to solve age old problems in very clever ways. To me this is creativity and technology together at its best.

Out of Peru, the simplicity of #hashtagsforlife which leveraged social to create a database of blood donors was genius.

From India, the “blessed solution” of the traffic Gaye is also great example. Being sacred, cows are allowed to roam free in the streets causing major traffic delays. In an initiative for Videocon mobile, the animals are fitted and tracked via GPS with discarded feature phones, held in a solar charging collar. Using an app drivers can track traffic and cows to avoid congestion. In addition the app maps alternative back routes that cows take through the city – drivers can then find alternative routes, based on the way the animals move.

Entries from Asia weren’t without fun – the Japanese Mentos quickshot campaign utilizing the accelerometer of mobiles was great. The Japan Disney holiday parade moving across multiple mobile screens was an absolute delight as was the Singtel firecracker app. Both designed to bring people together during the festive season. Connecting devices is a great way to create a social entertainment experience on what is often quite an anti-social device and I expect we’ll see much more of this.

On the note of social, the Giga Selfie app from Japan for Australian Tourism is a stand out for innovation. The Giga app triggers high definition cameras, placed around a 100 meters away from a designated platform. Your image and the surroundings are stitched together to create a short video clip that starts as a selfie close-up, but pulls away to reveal the huge surrounding landscape.

Who Art You used facial recognition technology to match your face to a classic masterpiece. It was a nice way to encourage Alibaba users in China to try out the new facial recognition payment option for the first time. Shanghai's 3D Selfie Campaign for Budweiser on WeChat showed the industry’s first use of  Web GL technology in brand marketing.

And what didn’t we see come out of Asia? Well, Asia was very quiet on the VR front but, to be honest, the jury expected much more worldwide than was submitted in this category. With the Grand Prix awarded to NY times VR, I suspect next year will be a different story.

Claire Waring is chief creative for SapientNitro SEA.

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