CANNES — Who would ever have thought that the world’s biggest festival for celebrating creativity in marketing would have ended up discussing artificial intelligence, blockchain and cognitive technologies?

But all these new-wave developments could be set to revolutionise advertising, as well as the other industries they touch.

Companies like IBM and Microsoft are pitching their cognitive software technologies as helping to power deeper ad experiences or video recognition, amongst other applications. At the Cannes Lions advertising festival, IBM is showcasing its Watson AI tech, which also powers ad experiences with The Weather Company.

And the ad-tech sector’s biggest deal-maker says AI could be a big deal.

“AI is a big deal,” says Terence Kawaja, the CEO of media M&A advisory LUMA Partners. “It’s going to be everywhere – and yet it’s not a sector in and of itself.

“It’s going to be like ‘Intel Inside’ – every facet of workflow, monetisation, data will utilise AI. AI will be revolutionary but it will be on the inside, it should be ubiquitous.

“There’s great potential, especially when you get an industry (like advertising) that deals with billions and billions of payments and impressions. But it will be a ways to come.”

Once just for people in the ad community, Cannes Lions has now joined the ranks of CES and Davos amongst a handful of global super-conferences that now attract executive delegates from outside of their traditional core constituencies.

And Kawaja thinks the next wave of much-needed ad-tech consolidation is going to have been fuelled by this week’s Cannes festival.

“This has truly become a deal festival as much as it is about advertising or creative,” he adds.

“So many companies are here – the big strategic buyers, tech companies, agencies, all the media players – because it’s an aggregation of senior people.

“We’ve been inundated with discussions and dialog. I would expect a significant amount of activity to come out of the discussions that either started or at least were forward here in Cannes.”

This video is part of Beet.TV’s AI Series from Cannes Lions 2017, presented by The Weather Company, an IBM Business and Watson. For more from the series, please visit this page.