OMR Festival

OMR offers food for thought and beyond digital realm

13 May 2024
Power of positive stories, real cost savings thanks to virtual worlds and potential of AI

The appeal of the OMR Festival remains undiminished even in its 13th year. Around 67,000 delegates flocked to Hamburg's exhibition halls in early May for Europe's "largest knowledge and inspiration platform for the digital and marketing scene". And around one in ten came to hear the opening keynote by Robert Habeck, Germany's Minister of Economics and Climate Protection. The minister began by outlining the current challenges to freedom and democracy, before highlighting the power of "success stories". Habeck remarked: "They give us hope for the future. But if the discourse in the country is only about failure, then we will fail". Thus, he expressed hope for positive stories by the many media makers, influencers and founders attending the annual festival founded by Philipp Westermeyer.

"Influencer marketing incredibly important for us"

Robert Habeck, Germany's Minister of Economics, on OMR stage
Robert Habeck, Germany's Minister of Economics

Johannes Reck has made positive narratives his business model and with great success. After founding the GetYourGuide website in 2009, the business became a unicorn in 2019. "Tourism is a growth market in Europe," Recks said, whose "Originals by GetYourGuide" features celebrities including the French hip-hop duo "Bigflo et Oli", the English actress Paloma Faith and the U.S. football player Justin Jefferson. GetYourGuide is now launching on the U.S. market. "Influencer marketing is incredibly important. Such brand ambassadors make our experiences accessible to the largest possible audience." That helps both the company and the destination itself. "Videos of GetYourGuide tours are visually stunning productions - and that makes the various destinations more attractive."

Promising start-ups choose their investors

GetYourGuide founder Johannes Reck on the OMR stage
Johannes Reck, founder of GetYourGuide, on stage during OMR

GetYourGuide is a clear example of success. Yet, nine out of ten start-ups fail, according to Florian Rinke, editor at OMR, who has gauged the German start-up scene with venture capitalists Florian Heinemann and Janna Ensthaler. This has become more difficult since the turnaround in interest rates. However, Heinemann stressed: "It is still a start-up market. Promising start-ups can choose their investors." However, the reduced willingness to invest is particularly difficult for start-ups with high capital expenditure because their business model is based on hardware rather than software. "We are countering this. Our Green Generation Fund is investing in a biogas plant, for instance," said Ensthaler, who has been an investor on VOX TV’s "The Lion’s Den” programme since April 2023. The channel had sent a camera crew to film her every move during OMR.

Industrial metaverses: AI-driven digital twin technology

OMR editor Florian Rinke with investors Janna Ensthaler and Florian Heinemann on the OMR stage
Florian Rinke. Editor of OMR, and Janna Ensthaler and Florian Heinemann, investors

Pre-testing innovative ideas in a metaverse could make it easier to win over potential investors. Although that remains wishful thinking, planning a new factory virtually is now a reality. "We and Siemens are developing an industrial metaverse in which we can physically simulate the construction and operation of a production plant in real time," said Florian Gantert, Director of Global Business Development at Nvidia. "Our experience in the virtual world has enabled us to increase our production by 20 per cent. And the savings thanks to simulations in the design phase lead to greater sustainability," said Annika Hauptvogel, Head of Technology & Innovation Management at Siemens. The industrial metaverses are based on AI-controlled digital twin technology and on huge amounts of data. "Processing and visualising this in the cloud was not even possible a few years ago," said Gantert. Future metaverses will become even more immersive and photorealistic and thanks to advances in AI technology.

"Go out, live, drink and make bad decisions"

Digital expert Scott Galloway
Scott Galloway, digital expert

AI is a recurring theme on many stages. The entire creative process behind the Mr Beast videos, for instance, is powered by AI and is perhaps the secret to one of the world’s biggest YouTube phenomena, which boasts over 250 million subscribers. "AI saves us a lot of money," said Mateo Price, Chief Strategy Officer at Mr Beast. "We use the technology as a creative partner, but also as an analytical tool." AI is a “time machine”, said digital expert Scott Galloway, and the technology is a huge time saver. "If it is used correctly, AI achieves results much faster than humans." The entrepreneur, who also teaches at the NYU Stern School of Business, said AI users risk becoming lonely. But, surprise, surprise the digital world has the answer in the shape of AI-generated girlfriends. "Yet, as fascinating as the AI world is, you will not experience anything truly wonderful on screen. So go out, live, drink and make bad decisions. Maybe they'll pay off," said Galloway. The 2025 OMR Festival gets underway on May 6-7.


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