CANNES: Publicis Groupe has announced it will focus all its spending for the next year on the development of a new AI-powered professional assistant platform, Marcel, and will be withdrawing from all awards and trade shows during that time.

The platform will connect 80,000 employees around the world across 200 disciplines, Advertising Age reported.

Marcel "will take up a lot of our time, money and energy, but we believe if we don't build this at the heart of our organisation we will never be able to transform in the right way and make sure our people progress," said CEO Arthur Sadoun.

Elaborating on the development, New York CEO Carla Serrano explained that Marcel's ability to draw on AI will help it to identify opportunities for people. "The algorithm is going to be able to assemble the perfect team and also suggest team members that you might not have thought you might require for certain projects," she said.

It will also be able to foresee the needs of clients as it learns and looks for patterns in a client's transformation agenda. "We will be able to anticipate before perhaps even a client knows that an issue is arising," Serrano added.

The platform is being built internally by Publicis' Sapient division with the target of launching it next June at the group's annual technology conference, Viva Tech.

"It's big," Nigel Vaz, chief executive of Publicis Sapient EMEA, told The Drum. "You have so many levels of problems that we are solving.

"You are solving for the human interaction experience, you are solving for the data mining and the data integration complexity and you are solving for human and cultural shift."

Many businesses in the advertising industry already deploy AI in some way. Mobile video ad platform LoopMe, for example, uses AI in its algorithms and its CEO and co-founder Stephen Upstone said it was "hugely encouraging" to see agencies taking AI seriously.

"AI is so much more than just cost saving and has applications across all of advertising and marketing," he added. "In doing away with siloed working, [Publicis] is putting client needs at the core of its business."

Data sourced from Advertising Age, Adweek, The Drum; additional content by WARC staff