There were a bunch of new ideas flying around Toronto last week as innovation leaders from many industries gathered for Future Festival.
Established companies, startups and big thinkers showed off new technologies and cutting-edge ideas. Best Buy’s Evan Buhr, a trend expert, was there to take it all in.
We chatted with Evan to learn more about the event.
Q: Why was Best Buy at this event?
A: As a part of our relationship with event organizer, a company called Trend Hunter, several members of the Best Buy Market and Consumer Insights team and I had the opportunity to attend this year.
The Future Festival provides us with a great environment to learn about new trends from the consumer and retailer perspective. The event was jam-packed with information on how brands, retailers, startups and service providers are evolving to better meet consumer needs. We got to hear interesting keynotes from thought leaders and participate in workshops on disruptive ideas in retail. I’m excited to use some of what we learned at Best Buy as we focus on our own innovation.
Q: Can you give us a feel for what the atmosphere was like?
A: The atmosphere is idea-packed and exciting! The content at the event is different from any other conference, and it really creates a great learning environment.
On the first day, attendees broke into groups and went on “trend safaris” to visit innovative companies in the Toronto area. I had the opportunity to visit the Cisco Retail Innovation Lab located in the first “smart building” in North America. The entire HVAC and lighting system are responsive to temperature and people’s movement. Cisco has the top floor devoted to an innovation space where they partner with startup tech companies and retailers to come up with ideas and create solutions. The safari experience is great because it gets you into spaces where actual innovation and new ideas are being put to use.
Q: What was the coolest thing you saw?
A: There were tons of cool experiences. We visited a startup incubator and heard pitches from entrepreneurs, watched a virtual reality dodgeball game and visited a NASA pop-up experience room. That was like stepping into a giant VR headset with a view from the moon. Overall, I really enjoyed the Future Festival. I’m excited to put the learnings to use and spread some of the innovative ideas!
You can check out the latest tech products at BestBuy.com or by stopping into your local store to talk with an expert Blue Shirt.