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First Ever Unity Center of Excellence in Australia focused on Augmented Reality

First-of-its-kind partnership enables enterprise success with digital transformation

Melbourne & Singapore, April 4th, 2018 — Unity Technologies (​https://unity3d.com/​), creator of the world’s most widely used real-time development platform, and Appearition (http://appearition.com/), provider of augmented reality solutions for enterprises, today announced a partnership to launch the first ever Unity Center of Excellence (CoE) for enterprises in Australia. Corporations worldwide looking to introduce innovative solutions, now have an augmented reality-focused CoE as a resource to address corporate pain points.

“Since Unity’s inception, our mission has been to democratize development, solve hard problems and enable success. We’re excited to partner with Appearition because the company shares our passion through its dedication to the development of augmented reality solutions,” said Hubert Larenaudie, President APAC, Unity Technologies. “We hope corporations that are tackling issues with digital transformation benefit from the solutions and support from partners like Appearition who are using Unity’s technology to enable the success of enterprises.”

The Unity CoE highlights the enterprise demand and growth of augmented reality solutions and the move towards digital transformation. The partnership is a significant step forward for both companies enabling corporate digital transformation and fostering an ecosystem to encourage knowledge sharing of best practices.

“Appearition’s mission is to enable the success of others, a mission that we gladly share with Unity. We pride ourselves on building innovative products to help enterprises succeed,” said Vivek Aiyer, Founder and CEO of Appearition. “Appearition is delighted to partner with Unity to launch the first ever Center of Excellence in Australia. With our global presence, we are excited to continue to deliver end-to-end-deployment through the entire business technology lifecycle.”

About Appearition

Appearition was established with the vision to enable its customers’ success by developing and deploying Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) software solutions across verticals. Over the years, Appearition has developed and constantly improved what it calls “Green Spot Process” for digital transformation projects, to deliver and obtain user acceptance of the proposed solutions. On a more technical front, a proprietary, cloud based platform, Enterprise Management System (EMS), has specifically been designed for the B2B and B2B2C segments. The EMS features a state-of-the-art SDK as well as an API to connect to multiple data sources and make developers’ lives easier. It ultimately delivers dynamic and personalized experiences in AR and/or VR environments in real-time. Appearition’s team of global experts in their respective fields, share the ambition to be the leading supplier of immersive technologies and services to the global market. A dedicated, in-house R/D team operates out of Melbourne and entertains various international research partnerships with leading universities. Appearition is headquartered in Melbourne, Australia with offices in the US, as well as in India. Opening of additional global offices to be announced later this year.

For more information, visit www.appearition.com.

About Unity Technologies

Unity is the creator of the world’s most widely-used real-time 3D development platform, giving developers around the world the tools to create rich, interactive 2D, 3D, VR and AR experiences. The company’s 500+ person engineering team keeps Unity at the bleeding edge of technology by working alongside partners such as Google, Facebook, Oculus and Microsoft to ensure optimized support for the latest releases and platforms. Games and experiences made with Unity have reached 3 billion devices worldwide and were installed more than 24 billion times in the last 12 months. Unity’s renowned flexibility gives developers the power to target and optimize their creations for Unity employs an “write once, publish everywhere” approach, enabling developers to target 25+ platforms including Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Gameroom (Facebook), SteamVR (PC & Mac), Oculus, PSVR, Gear VR, HoloLens, ARKit (Apple), ARCore (Google) and more. Unity also offers solutions and services for connecting with audiences including Unity Ads, Unity Analytics, Unity Asset Store, Unity Cloud Build, Unity Collaborate, Unity Connect and Unity Certification.

For more information, visit www.unity3d.com and to see the latest games and experiences created in Unity, go to https://unity.com/madewith.

To know more about the Centre of Excellence, visit https://unity3d.com/coe/appearition.

“Brand managers need to think differently when it comes to AR”

Vivek Aiyer, Founder, CEO of Appearition, shares his viewpoints on the application of augmented reality (AR) solutions in the OOH space in an exclusive interview with Outdoor Asia’s Rajiv Raghunath.

Edited excerpts:

Augmented Reality (AR)/ Virtual Reality (VR) technologies are not new to the Indian market. Yet, it has taken a long while for these technologies and applications to find a larger, ready market in India. What steps are needed to evangelise AR/ VR technologies & apps in the Indian market, more so in the OOH advertising space?

It is quite interesting to see the advent of these technologies. Both AR and VR are not new technologies, having been around for more than a few decades. Yet there remains a lack of awareness among the wider consumer audience.

The fact of the matter is that AR has been in our lives for years – used most commonly in weather reports on the news and in live sports broadcasts. AR is quite literally the augmentation (or improvement) of reality – altered with an overlay of information on a pre-existing line of sight. The difference in today’s experience is that handheld devices have replaced televisions – but the application of the basic technology has remained consistent.

In comparison, VR  is where the consumer of the technology is fully immersed in the virtual world. Common experiences include experience capsules at science museums, but due to cost implications, has been used more in a commercial sense for medical or training purposes. Once again, handheld devices have made the experience more accessible – but application of the concept remains the same.

Beyond the evolution of hardware, campaigns have too often been utilised as one-off flash-in-the-pan attempts to display brands “innovatively” – whereas at Appearition we believe that AR is a media channel, more than just a solution. A media channel, just like print, radio, television, web and mobile, before it. Just as a brand would identify a core messaging and then develop creatives and iterations for television or print – and more recently digital, concepts need to be developed to funnel through this medium – enhancing the consumer experience but staying completely aligned to core messaging.

As a media channel, the right utilisation of these technologies enable the overlay of contextual information that enables decision making including purchase decisions – a key goal of any brand managers. In a nation as broad as India this enables the application of custom language communication depending on an automatic identification of the user’s location or pre-defined preferences. In the OOH space this enables experiences triggered by the once creative – but absolutely customised to the user being exposed to the experience – be they Punjabi,  Bengali, Marathi or Tamil. This is quite powerful as a method of customised engagement.

How effective are VR/AR applications in OOH advertising in the more developed markets? Have you handled any such project in those markets?

JCDecaux recently finished a campaign where they had integrated an AR application with Batman and Superman. The opportunity was for passers-by to “evolve” into their favourite superhero. The novelty factor was very high and it certainly had a very positive response. Tesco also had a highly successful campaign where consumers could “do their shopping” whilst waiting for their bus; the AR experience was triggered off by the media board on the bus stop.

Our approach to AR is to be more of an integrated solution. We haven’t been involved in outdoor specific advertising in that context. We have however been involved in several projects where outdoor based navigation that triggers off AR experience.This was used to promote tourism. Furthermore, we have been involved in arts and theatre productions, open days, etc. The point to consider is that a brand needs to have specific content for its AR channel just as it would for the other audio-visual channels. There needs to be an overall degree of consistency in how this content is being presented and the shift needs to be in the eyes of the brand manager to move away from thinking of this area as a novelty technology solution and start to incorporate it into planning as a new communication channel. There would have been a similar shift at the introduction of each new media – initially an exciting new innovation, but eventually just another medium as part of a multi-platform approach.

Are AR/VR applications more attuned to indoor advertising media, such as airport media, mall media, etc? Is there scope for their application on traditional billboards and the like?

Absolutely. Let’s consider a sample scenario – assume a brand wishes to launch a soft drink in a nationwide campaign. The brand manager would have content and campaigns ready for the traditional channels – print, web, mall media, etc. If we take the approach mentioned earlier where we see AR as just another media channel – it provides a novel fashion to present the launch campaign. However, it also offers the opportunity to merge other media through an integrated approach.

An AR app can be configured such that based on the temperature of the city that the consumer is in while using the app, it could initiate push message featuring specific discounts or promotions. Essentially the consumer experience when triggering off the billboard may be vastly different based on whether it is a 30-degree day or 20-degree day. Secondly the same AR app could attract on-premise customers where they take the app into a store in order to redeem vouchers  (vouchers redeemed off packing of the product), and last but not least, integration of location based e-commerce component.

This is the power of an integrated AR solution; it can spread across all traditional media channels and can bring them to life. The key to success here is not to treat them as once-off campaign, but have them all tightly linked.

Source:  Outdoor Asia | November 2016

Follow this space for part-2 of the interview.

Best Augmented Travel Apps to use On The Go

Augmented reality technology has already proven immensely successful in the realm of gaming and entertainment. It’s also made forays into industries such as defence and the military. But it doesn’t stop there. AR is making some interesting inroads into the industries of transportation and tourism through more augmented travel apps.

Related post: What is Augmented Reality?

AR apps for public transport

One such example is illustrated by a new breed of AR-based apps for public transportation. These apps take pertinent information such as train schedules, delays, stop information and so on and overlay it on real world images. For example, fire up an app, point your phone at a train map in New York City, and immediately your display comes to life with information about train schedules, turnstile date and even how many people are in the subway.

 

 

 

 

 

This is exactly how an iOS augmented travel app called Tunnel Vision works. Pulling data from the Metropolitan Transport Authority, the app draws over your camera feed, giving the user real time information. It also provides complementary information such as rent prices or median incomes of various neighbourhoods, giving the user a unique depth of information. Quite a refreshing change from gazing at a static train map for a few minutes.

Related post: How AR is changing the way we travel?

AR apps to overcome the language barriers

Similarly, if you find yourself travelling in Switzerland, download the Departures Switzerland app. This one doesn’t even require a map. Just point your phone in the direction of the nearest station or stop and a digital destination board overlays your image. It sure beats asking for directions, especially if you don’t speak the language. Already, the updated Google Translate app now features augmented reality capabilities. Imagine pairing that with a public transport/tourism app. You could confidently navigate the intricate train networks of Tokyo or Moscow without fear of complexity or language barriers.

Related post: Augmented Reality Transport Improving Daily Life?

Virtual tours

Furthermore, existing AR apps that allow you to take virtual tours of your intended hotel or explore local attractions. That would be amazing transportation-cum-tourism app. Augmented travel apps have helped tourists navigate train lines, to assisting cyclists in urban traffic and improving logistics transportation optimization. However, augmented reality has significant room to develop in this industry and will do so over the coming years.

Image source:

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Immersive Technologies – Museum visits made interesting

We have seen that use of immersive technologies enhances productivity, aids emergency response situations, makes education interactive and simplifies shopping. Augmented Reality and museum visits – sounds like chalk and cheese isn’t it? Well, it no longer is.
Several museums across the globe have successfully incorporated Augmented and Virtual Reality in their channels.

Museums have been using AR-VR to their advantage to bring exhibits and artefacts to life. Let’s look at how this has changed museum visits:

Promotes easy learning

The ‘Story of Forest’ art, in Singapore museum, had about 69 giant murals, housed in the museum’s glass rotunda. Visitors use an app and hunt for flora and fauna within the drawings. After hunting various drawings, the photos are added to a collection. Visitors can use this collection to know more information on the plant or animal variety. These kind of fun exercises and over-lay learning helps them understand on an animal’s dietary plans, species and other general information.

Brings display to life

Smithsonian Natural Museum of History, Washington D C, utilised Augmented Reality innovatively. They launched an app called ‘Skins and Bones’, which brought animals to life using AR technology’s super-imposed pictures. Users can scan and point the app at an animal bone in display and view it in flesh and movement. These kinds of activities enable visualisation of extinct animals or artefacts.
Virtual Museum visits

Furthermore, the app also provided an immersive experience to users who were unable to visit the museum. They provided enthusiasts with ‘trigger images’ (See picture below) that they can aim at and experience the same picture from home comfort.

Image Courtesy

Hologram – Immersive walk-throughs

The Kennedy Space Centre in Florida, USA, brought former astronauts to life and enabled an immersive experience with them. Interactive pieces located throughout the building allow early astronauts and NASA legends to tell their stories.

Image Courtesy

Hologram – Immersive walk-throughs

The Kennedy Space Centre in Florida, USA, brought former astronauts to life and enabled an immersive experience with them. Interactive pieces located throughout the building allow early astronauts and NASA legends to tell their stories.

Image Courtesy

Interactive Learning

England’s Historic cities app serves as one-stop-AR interactive view of over 12 cities from Durham to Salisbury. This app is an example of learning while viewing. Users can know more on each city by clicking on the Augmented information on display.

Image Courtesy

This is blog is a re-written excerpt from Smithsonian.com

The Oodl story

Impressive Advertising is a leading advertising and branding enterprise, based out of Adelaide, Australia.  They produce print, online, video and audio advertisements and campaigns for their clients.

Advertisements are of many forms these days. From simple print ads to social media campaigns, there are plethora of brands targeting the consumers. However, today’s audience prefer more visuals, concise and innovative ads. An ad these days is not just consumed, but shared, liked and discussed about on social networking sites, more often than before. This form of ad consumption has paved way for more innovative presentation.

Adapting to changes in Digital Transformation has been the order of ad campaigns in the last decade. If everyone is doing the same, how does one stand out?

Met with one such need for innovation, Impressive Advertising decided to improvise using Augmented Reality (AR). The idea was to bring an image to life by augmenting it. Thereby, enabling the best of both mediums for a campaign – print and mobile.

Oodl it

Generally, while skimming through ads, extensions or teasers grabs one’s attention. Bearing that in mind, the team used Appearition’s 8AR platform to create an image recognition app called Oodl.

Oodl is an image recognition browser tool, delivering informative and relatable content embedded in everyday surroundings.

The Oodl app cloud technology allows one to visualise digital information in a completely new way, taking you from a one-dimensional experience into a whole new world of exciting discoveries.

A holistic AR experience

To build their audience engagement goals they have produced adverts that include AR experiences throughout, created full page Oodl experience newspaper adverts and produced promotional card campaigns to entice consumers to download the app.

These posters and ad campaigns contain the Oodl icon, which when scanned through the app projects augmented information.

AR allows us to create computer-generated enhancements in video or animation atop of existing reality which is very exciting, says Trevor Worley, Managing Director, Impressive Advertising.

The 8AR platform

8AR is a SaaS based platform, therefore is highly extensible and can be easily customized and monetized. It does not require any coding, making it easy for enterprise to augment.

Customer response

We expect Oodl to develop in AR as it has easier consumer reach, i.e. anyone with a smartphone, says the team.  The UI designed is simple and attractive. Upon logging in and scanning an object, there is an auto-pop video and further information that appear alongside.

Customer response to the Oodl AR/VR feature app has always been met with a ‘wow’ beams the team. “AR market is where we see Oodl developing as AR is less intrusive and is accessible to every person that has a smart phone. It allows us to create computer-generated enhancements in video or animation atop of existing reality which is very exciting,” adds Trevor.

As more and more media options developed, Impressive Advertising was looking to combine the best of all worlds and found the answer in AR.

 

Stand out with AR. Get in touch with us to know more about launching your own 8AR platform!

Augmented Reality – The future of retail industry

Home delivery, telephone order and e-commerce. What do these things have in common? They changed the way we shopped. Introduction of these technology/ideas, enhanced our shopping process. Similarly, Augmented Reality (AR) is set to alter the face of retail industry.

AR is highly scalable and has multiple uses across this industry. A look at some interesting ways in which AR is expected to grow:

Trial/testing of a product:

AR helps to bridge the gap between a customer’s perception of the product and the reality. This is the quintessential need for physical shopping or trial for a product.

Furniture: In 2013, IKEA – the Swedish retailer tested the ropes of AR, by launching an AR-based app. It used AR-overlay of 3D models of IKEA’s products on the real-time feed of the camera. It helps visualise how a product would look at a given space.

Shoes: Sneaker-maker Converse created an AR app in 2010. When one points a camera at their feet, the app overlays a projection of the shoe on their feet.

Clothing: Ever stood in a never-ending queue ahead of the trial room only to find the dress doesn’t fit you? Well, AR is about to change the game in clothing trials using overlay.

Japanese retail store – Uniqlo tried to address this concern by enabling an augmented trial room. This room had a mirror with an LCD screen that let you choose the apparel you wish to try. The app then overlays different colors of the clothing to help you make the best choice possible.

Virtual makeup trial: Sephora, the makeup retailer launched an app – ‘Sephora Virtual Artist’ that enabled overlaying different makeup looks. Once the customer scans the face using a camera, the app detects the different organs like nose, lips, eyebrows, skin etc and allows you to try a shade.

 

Product information:

When shopping at a busy super-market, we are often sceptical of a product’s ingredients. The aisles are long and nearest assistant is pre-occupied. What if one had a personal assistant to share further information on every product? AR does just that, acting as your personal shopping assistant. Several retail big-wigs like Walmart, Tesco, Carrefour have been testing and experimenting with AR in shopping.

Chinese e-commerce retailer – Yihaodian, opened virtual stores across the country. This enabled consumers to shop on the go. The app has virtual shopping aisles; customers can select and arrange for a home delivery.

AR is already booming in several such retail verticals. Add the magic of AR to your business. To know more, drop us a message.

This blog is a re-written excerpt from an article first published in the Augment.com

Image Courtesy (in the order of images used): 1, 2, 3, 4

The Role of Management in the Changing Paradigms in Service

A look at the highlights of 2017 USA Field Service Benchmark Report:

Technology and Digital Transformation continues to shape the service industry. Most of the respondents said, their strategy was ‘mobile first’. Growing emphasis on mobiles and abundance of data is enabling organisations to focus on mobile technology and transformation.

 Key take-aways from the report

  1. Breed-solutions are the fad, as opposed to single platform solutions. The idea is to achieve maximum efficiency to embrace digital transformation.
  2. Most respondents said – they’ve been prioritising a mobile first mindset due to the increasing accessibility and growth of mobiles.
  3. To bridge the gap between knowledge and digital transformation – seems to be the quintessential need of the hour for enterprises.

Technology adoption

Among many booming technologies this year, 72% respondents said they’ve adopted or planning to add the ropes of cloud to their business. 30% of the businesses have added or planning to add the ropes of Augmented Reality (AR).

“I was quite surprised to see that technician adoption of new solutions ranked so highly as a challenge. With today’s technology, equipment comes to consumers, employees, and to businesses more and more without a real need to instruct on its use. The perception of complexity is really what holds technicians back. We invest a lot of time and energy into making technology easier to understand, and we deploy tools in the field that are as easy to operate as common applications you can run on IOS, Android, or a Windows device,” says Martin Knook, CEO Gomocha

 Need to evolve digitally

Surprisingly, 42% of the respondents said they initiated/ adopted digitisation and automation of field service activities to reduce costs. 34% of them wanted to go digital to increase transparency and ensure viability as a business.

Digital transformation trends

Technology is ever evolving. There is constant need to adopt to these innovations. The question here though, is how adoptive are businesses? 35% of the respondents said they’re agile enough to adopt an innovation cycle every three years. While, 28% of the enterprises preferred to work with solutions that were scalable and relevant for at least ten years.

This article is a re-written excerpt from the 2017 USA Field Services Benchmark Report. The graphs were sourced from the same report.

AR Digital Transformation and the Indian Market

Ravichandran Lakshminarayanan, Member, Board of Advisors, Appearition India speaks on Augmented Reality, Digital Transformation trends and the Indian market and more:

Your take on the AR/VR market in India.

Though AR/VR arrived, so to speak, maybe about three years back, significant impact or adoption (usage) is yet to be seen, be it in the consumer space (though we have VR centres in some malls or VR headgear sold with smartphones) or in the enterprise space.

AR/VR is certainly going to be a game changer for industries like retail, real estate, entertainment, and tourism in India.

Education is another area where we will see significant AR/VR adoption. (I foresee not only schools & colleges taking advantage of the power of AR/VR, but many other formal and non- formal fora including corporate/industrial training will take advantage of these frontier technologies).

The mobile market in India – Smartphones undergo constant metamorphosis. What features do you think they need to adapt to stay abreast with the AR/VR tech?

India is a price sensitive market. Today there are more than 300 million mobile phone connections, in India. Mobile phone sales literally skyrocketed, only because device prices came down drastically.

Mobile phones are going to drive AR/VR usage and it is very important that the AR/VR capable phones are priced right for the Indian market.

Next is content in local languages like Tamil, Hindi, Telugu, Kannada. For AR/VR to drive mass usage/adoption, local language content will be a key.

Last but not least, the devices(phones) will have to be more user-friendly than they are now.

 Your take on digital transformation for businesses these days.

Today there is no business that can shun or stay away from digital transformation. The degree of transformation or rather what percentage of the business is digital versus non-digital may vary from business to business but there’s not a single business that’s 100% non-digital.

In the Indian context, this is so particularly after the introduction of GST.

Though it has taken time, businesses have understood the benefits of digital transformation.

How has the Indian market reacted to digital transformation so far? What are some factors that seem to aid it/ factors that act as a barrier?

The Indian market was quite reluctant to accept/embrace digital transformation, initially.

The reasons were:

  • the market did not understand what digital transformation is.
  • the market could not see value in digital transformation immediately
  • digital transformation was taking firms/players out of their comfort zone
  • firms were unsure of the payback period if they opted for digital transformation.

Slowly but surely as a few early adopters took hesitant steps towards digital transformation and started ‘seeing’ the benefits, more and more firms followed. Today, I dare say, there are very few firms, if any, that have not been touched at all by digital transformation.

Today everybody understands that digital transformation is not only inevitable but benefits all. Firms are still evaluating their ROI and hence the pace of adoption is not ideal yet.

There are obstacles and challenges, the foremost being connectivity not only in terms of speed and price but in terms of reach. There are still many areas in the country where connectivity is very poor or non-existent.

Technologies like 5G and other indigenous technologies and solutions, will hopefully, address this issue.

What are some barriers that companies face while venturing to a new geography?

In my opinion, the most important barrier is the culture. The culture in each geography is unique and the sooner companies understand the local culture the better for them. The next important challenge is to understand the local laws, business environment. There could be challenges in effective communication besides language differences. The pace at which things move, including the pace of business negotiations, can vastly vary. Distance and time could be a challenge, too. Finding and hiring people who are trustworthy and competent can be a challenge. Establishing franchises, signing up agents and other business associates may take longer than what companies ‘back home’ is used to.

What sort of obstacles did you face while setting up your e-commerce venture and how did you overcome them?

The very first challenge was not being able to register a domain name, from India.

(Internic was the only share registry and for registering any domain one had to pay $100; the only way to pay was online; this was not possible from India. I had to take the help of my sister in the US, who paid this $100 and we registered chennaionline.com on Aug 15, 1997.)

One of the foremost challenges for a startup in a sunrise industry, which the online space was, way back in 1997, was getting the right people to come on board. We leaned on friends and other contacts to get the initial few hires.

The next challenge was funding –VC/Angel funding culture, back then, was literally nonexistent. Raising capital as equity was very difficult if not impossible. Debt funding or in Indian parlance, a bank loan was the only option.

Banks lend against tangible assets – land, building, plant & machinery – and also insist on security for the loan. Here was a business that had no tangible assets (except some PCs and servers and switches and modems – assets that depreciated faster than the mercury rising in Chennai summer) and a business model that was at best vague (actually from the bank perspective, it was all Latin and Greek).

The Bank Manager professed he understood nothing but said he was impressed with my sincerity of purpose and sanctioned the loan. (“As a breed, we are risk averse, but if we do not take some risk to support highly qualified technocrats, when we get an opportunity, then we do not deserve to be sitting here”, he said!)

Though the potential of the web/online was fairly well established globally, India was slow to adopt or embrace this ‘new economy’ and hence every ‘pitch’ had to be from ‘ground zero’. One of our (founding team) important roles was to evangelise Internet & e-commerce; evangelise we did with passion and enthusiasm. This not only got us noticed but became a competitive advantage, too.

There were many more challenges including getting the right office space, etc.

There were so many Foreign Exchange rules & regulations that receiving or sending money out of India was a huge task. We did $ transactions wrestling with a plethora of forms and multiple agencies.

Do you see similar obstacles for firms these days, despite a bridge that filled the knowledge gap?

Certainly not. Thanks to information/knowledge available in one click, for anyone, and the more business-friendly environment, many of the earlier day business challenges do not exist. However, each new firm (or old firm) has a unique challenge. It is much like a baby’s growth – from conception to infancy to childhood to adolescence to adulthood – at every stage in the life of a firm, there are unique challenges. A successful firm is one which understands this and also understands every challenge is a possible opportunity.

Benefits of Immersive Technology in Education

Prosper Cumps-ruelle

Prosper Cumps-Ruelle, Developer, Appearition

In the past few years, many new types of technologies have emerged to help us embrace new ways to learn, view content and interact with it. By consequences, existing technologies and techniques are getting reviewed for their efficiency, reliability and cost.

Some game changing innovations that can revolutionize learning and teaching are the three main immersive technologies: Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) and Mixed Reality (MR).

When it comes to studies, VR and MR can make a difference in a student’s learning by providing it more engagement with the material, a more immersive interaction (and in turn, less distraction), advanced and more relevant testing as well as getting the students hands on simulations early on. Each aspect of those immersive technologies can add a major improvement on almost every milestone of a student’s journey.

Interactive theory

Theory modules could be improved using VR by granting the student a broader look of its study material, as well as ways to interact with it. In the case of medical studies, students learning the details about bone and joint structure would gain the ability to view a given 3D object of an articulation, move around, twist and deconstruct the joint to have a better understanding of how it truly works. It would also make the understanding of specific diseases on certain body parts easier to visualize by animating the body part deterioration, which wouldn’t be as easily done with either objects or videos. The biggest challenge with theory modules is that students struggle a lot keeping themselves engaged with constant intensive learning, which is where immersive technologies and gamification can come in to help.

Technology in practice

Practical modules could be improved with both VR and MR by letting the student manipulate objects either in virtual space using VR, either in real space while being given additional information using MR. For engineering students, a MR workflow would let the student interact with objects with either virtual labels tracking real objects being manipulated. Furthermore, extra tutorial information for an experiment, such as the current step, the rules, safety precautions, will be available. For some potentially risky practical experiments, VR could help out by providing the student a realistic environment without risks, allowing the student to learn by trying without the fear of failing.

Creative Reality

Creative students could also benefit a lot from those technologies on both theory and practical sides. When it comes to creative fields, such as design and art, communication could be greatly improved by having hands on easy-to-use immersive devices. In design, prototyping is one of the most constraining bit because of the need to provide accurate information within a limited time. Certain fields of design, such as game design and 3D modeling/animation often requires the students to either go through a lot of writing or a lot of work to express a simple idea; while tools such as Tilt Brush (by Google) could provide a quick visual (perhaps animated) understanding of the idea.

A holistic learning environment

Immersive technologies could help testing students’ knowledge more properly than paper tests or most assessing methods currently used. When applied properly, VR/MR can create an environment suited for series of testing specific to the material: In the field of medicine, it can simulate an accurate stressful situation where a patient is going through an emergency while its family is screaming in the corridor, an electric engineering student can experience diagnosing an electric installation on a rough and windy day, architecture students could experiment structure design against various natural catastrophes or crowd simulations, design students could spend less time accurately brainstorming a prototype before getting started with the production, etc.

Using the growing Immersive Technologies, there’s a possible improvement in every field of study, in various aspects, allowing students to have a more engaging, smoother and fun learning.

AR/VR Magic in Education

AR/VR’s immense potential in the field of Education is picking up with several colleges inculcating it in their activities. A snapshot of how technology has added value to what they do:

Iowa State University

How does a player train at a centre on par to the field experience without having to visit one? That is where VR came-in handy for the students and faculty at the Iowa State University.

Virtual Reality Applications Centre

The University’s football coaches collaborated with the Virtual Reality Applications Center to recreate a live match effect just like at Jack Trice stadium to help players train.

The virtual action takes place in the C6, an immersive VR environment in the VRAC. The players wear a VR headset and practice in a live stadium setup with virtual opponents. This enabled students to place themselves in the centre of action.

Savannah College of Arts and Design (SCAD)

We might just be few steps away from an actual teleporting facility. In the virtual world, one can place themselves on the other side of globe at the touch of a button.

VR Recruiting Toolkit

People at SCAD have done just that, sending out Google Cardboards to 30,000 of their recruits last year, enabling them to view their campuses across the globe. The excitement of the students to view their home for next few years and the parental concern of where their ward will be resolved at the touch of a button.

Utilizing the other fruits of VR, the university took to AR to provide enhanced course catalog with AR videos and animations that aided course study for several students.

Texas A&M University – Virtual Campus Tours

VR campus tours have become tech fad at most universities. Texas A&M University unveiled immersive 360-degree VR tours at SXSW in March, showing how VR aides as a recruitment tool. The VR tours also relieve the management and students of having to work a mutually agreed date and time of tour as it enables tours from anywhere, anytime the student wants. Furthermore, the virtual tours provide a much-detailed over view of all the aspects in a campus as opposed traditional walk-in basic over-view.

Embrace excellence in the field of Education, setup your own AR/VR facility at just one click.

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Based on an article that was first published in Edtechmagazine.com

Strategic Technology Trend for 2018: Immersive Experience

A peek into some of the trends that Gartner has identified for 2018:

Almost two decades since the millennium, the evolution of intelligent technology has reached a stage where Augmented and Virtual Reality has become accessible reality.

AR/VR/MR boom

AI is set to feature on all digital platforms, apps or device this year, a trend that saw a boom last year.

AR/VR acts as the merger for multiple stand-alone technological things to an immersive technology, using the best of both worlds. Along with some conversational platforms, AR, VR, and MR will bring a fundamental shift to user experience, resulting in an immersive experience.

For example: From ‘Googling’ on specific information manually to just scanning an object and getting complete information on the object in front of us.

Appearition adds the ‘human’ element to AR/VR. ‘VR will change the way we shop, travel, learn and even create an informative platform in healthcare. AR/VR will create an immersive brand awareness changing the way businesses market,’ says Vivek Aiyer, Founder and CEO, Appearition.

Intelligent Apps and Analytics

AI will run unobtrusively in the background of many familiar application categories while giving rise to entirely new ones, predicts Gartner. For example, AR combined with analytics in a machine/app automates data preparation, insight to share with a broad business user and operational workers.

Digital Twin

These twins are digital ‘soft-copies’ of a real-world entity or system. A Gartner study says, with an estimated 21 billion connected sensors and endpoints by 2020, digital twins will exist for billions of things in the near future.

This aspect of technology will come in handy while studying or manufacturing heavy machinery, construction and to a great extent in healthcare. By overlaying digitally-created content into real-world environment, it enables everyone to view a replica of the project and sharing an almost-actual insight.

For example, Digital Twins can be created for an internal organ, so that one can view exactly where and what procedure they are expected to go through medically.

 

Watch this space for exciting AR/VR/MR/AI related content!

 

Reference: Gartner – Top Tech trends for 2018

The future of the print industry: Linking the Physical and the Digital

 

The world is sitting on the cusp of the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) – changing how industries operate, bringing greater automation and accuracy to a variety of business processes.

 

In this series, we will explore how 4IR is going to affect the industries of our clients, and how we believe the right strategy can empower you to embrace the inevitable.

 

First up: The future of the print industry.

 

Forbes article: Why everyone must get ready for the 4th Industrial Revolution

 

 

Print article image 3

 

 How is the future of the print industry turning into a reality around you?

 

In the last few years, we have seen a proliferation of small and start up label printers leading to increased competition. Good digital presses cost little more than US$45,000 – not a laughable sum, but certainly more than affordable for entrepreneurs with the right idea.

 

Meanwhile in emerging regions, larger multinational corporations are expanding operations and establishing themselves as they navigate the pricing politics of new territories.

 

The LaManna Alliance projects that “In 2017, you should be pushing 20-30% growth rate. Otherwise, you’re lagging.”

 

We recently visited PacPrint 2017, the region’s “premier show for print, sign, display and graphic communications” and with over 150 exhibitors and a rumored 15-20 million dollars in sales taking place on the event floor, it’s understandable that key players in the industry are looking to shake things up and keep this momentum going.

Quick Link: Our CEO, Vivek Aiyer, recently spoke of trust and the Designer Enterprise

 

What are some challenges faced by the industry given this success?

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How can the future of the print industry be populated with millennials Generation Y and eventually, Generation Z?

Ageing workforce: The growth of the digital industry has meant that younger, computer-literate and tech-savvy employees have been more inclined towards seeking employment outside the print industry.

Companies are increasingly realizing the need to standardize onto the one platform helps with strategic alignment across business systems and broader business processes.

Standardization, Centralization & Flexibility: Most companies in this space have different systems and machines through acquisitions or then, as with most large organizations, inherited implementations of legacy software. These, in turn lead to errors in compliance, alignment, downtime and ultimately, inefficiencies.

How can we prepare audiences for these technologies, bearing in mind that innovation doesn’t always come cheap?

Active & Intelligent Packaging (A&IP): When it comes to product security, authentication and even preservation to some extent, A&IP will grow increasingly commonplace around us. It certainly seems like these technologies for a part of the future of the print industry.

Clients now require “relationships” with “partners” – as compared to “services” from “suppliers – and this is unavoidable!

The vendor/client relationship: Clients of all sizes are becoming increasingly demanding of one-on-one service. The fact of the matter is that there are a number of players who can top quality service, and price competition isn’t the only factor anymore.

 

Previous post: Customer Experience is all about Managing Relationships

Previous post: Culture of Trust – How does your customer feel?

 

How does a digital transformation lead to the future of the print industry?

Tech-driven process/information management & workflow tools

Have systems set up for verification of jobs, improved reporting and integrated with management tools. Enable remote access of presses – improving efficiency as the press process becomes more computerized. Tech processes can also improve internal processes and stock ordering and tracking. Clients (or Partners) with their increased expectations can now be empowered to track their orders through all stages of production.

 

Customer/Client/Partner engagement & New business

Technology proliferation has led to a variety of methods to increase and improve engagement. For example, QR codes, NFC, RFID, Augmented Reality and randomized designs. Understanding how these technologies serve well as data collection points and having them integrated into information managements systems help track interaction and build insight. In addition, improved traceability and big data enable the client relationship evolve into one of consulting – and partnering for growth and offering unique and individualized experiences.

 

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“Labelprinter 4.0” – Digital transformation & change management 

 

On the outset – it all seems tremendously exciting and simple. But that is the fallacy of innovation. Installing systems doesn’t just mean clicking one button – it includes change management. Upgrading machinery isn’t just reinstalling software – sometimes it’s training staff who are afraid of failing (or trying). Terms like myopia and pain avoidance are a lot more real than the buzzwords they are dismissed to be sometimes.

 

Opportunities like bundling print and digital ad sales to push greater RoI sounds great, but how does that mean the adsales team needs to be re-structured? For example, having a sales team that also possesses analytical skills and understands programmatic sales becomes critical. In such scenarios – if that’s the preferred mode of linking digital to physical – then print companies must understand marketing requirements, more so than before – as these multimedia experiences reach out to audiences with more targeted accuracy than ever before.

 

 How can we help?

 

Innovation is no longer “nice-to-have” but that’s not to say it’s something to jump into. The key remains identifying a larger strategy that can assist with the growth of the clients you work with. Adding value to the labels and packaging produced, but also understanding how these products are being disbursed and the user experience of the final consumer.

 

At Appearition, we understand that the print industry has traditionally operated within certain models – for example, buying hardware outright or leasing systems for slow and steady returns. Crossing the chasm of technology is one that isn’t so simple. Our goal is to enable others success – and finding the neutral state of partnership so we can all grow together. We look forward to hearing from you.

 

Customer Experience Management is About Building Relationships

In its most apt definition, “experience” is about the process of living through an event. Customer Experience Management is a much touted word which spells variations ranging from “excite the customer” to “retain the customer”. Between this continuum, is a process, a set of events that a customer goes through which defines his or her “experience” is.

Screen Shot 2017-06-03 at 10.18.04 pm

Customer Experience Management is the close alignment of  processes which ensures sales and marketing teams support their rhetorics and deliver organisational results. A customer experience builds from the first cold-call or meeting and lasts for infinitum. Here is where relationships become the core of the experience. Relationships build trust and provide customers with confidence.

So, it’s not always about the product or service? The simple answer is No. While a company will be cooking up cool products and services with a “wow factor”, conversation of a wow to a purchase order is a completely different challenge. I have seen umpteen companies selling average looking mediocre products, but have been crafted by listening intently to customers over a period of time. In almost all instances, the customer bought the “experience” and not the product.

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I have also heard success stories from my peers and ex-colleagues on how they have pursued building stronger relationships with customers who did not buy their products than the ones who actually did, to succeed in the long run.

Customers are humans and like having trusted individuals around them.  Organisations need to build the “wows” in their relationships, engagements and customer experience management models to succeed in todays world. Products and services will come and go. What will stay ad infinitum will be relationships.

 

Girish Gopalakrishnan heads Delivery for Appeariton Pty limited. He can be reached on girish.gopalakrishnan@appearition.com

Appearition is a frontier technology company with focus on AR and VR applications. Headquartered in Melbourne (Australia) with offices in Portland (USA), Chennai and Pune (India). If you would like to find out more about augmented reality, contact us here.

If it keeps on rainin, the levee’s gonna break.

It is common knowledge that as technology evolves, individuals are becoming more informed and driven to create content aligned to their passions. Think about the content you are seeing in your social feeds – your colleague’s oddball memes, Aunt Sue with puppy’s ears and your old school mate Trevor Lam and his latest “work of art” – everyone around us is getting more and more able to express their creativity and publish it too. Facebook Augmented Reality (AR) is going to allow people to express themselves a whole lot more.

 

Give everyone the power to share anything with anyone.

– Mark Zuckerberg

 

What is F8 – and why should you care?

The Facebook Developers conference (F8) was first hosted in 2007 – where the team at FB presented the social graph – or a rendition of the concept of a social network. Subsequent editions of F8 hosted similarly theoretical principles behind the evolution of the behemoth that FB is today. Essentially, this is the conference where they announce their next plans, and given how integrated FB is in our lives today – you might want to be aware of what’s ahead.

 

F8 2017: Facebook Augmented Reality

Earlier this week, at F8 2017, Mark Zuckerberg (Zuck!) shared an update on the next phase of FB’s 10-year product plan, originally shared in at F8 2016. Commencing with some warm up jokes about the release of Fast and the Furious 8 (the “other” F8 ) this week, Zuck proceeded to give us a snapshot of how FB plans to integrate AR into camera functions in their apps.

 

Click to read: Business Insider’s article on the release of the FB 10-year plan

Mark Zuckerberg’s keynote from Day 1 of F8

 

FB, AR & Cameras – how do they come together?

In recent times, the FB family of apps (FB, Messenger, Instagram & Whatsapp) have seen the integration of camera icons across the board – enabling functions such as video conferencing. While these changes have gone unnoticed by some, it is estimated that the FB messenger app has 1.2 billion monthly users.

 

Facebook-Messenger-Video-Calling

FB Messenger with camera Icon (Source: Forbes)

Click to read: Forbes article on Facebook Messenger passing 1.2 billion users

 

And how does AR fit into this equation?

Zuck went on to share a common understanding that AR is essentially used for three key purposes;

  • The overlay of data onto the physical reality around us – such as messages or information
  • The ability to add digital objects into our surroundings – like a virtual television or gaming avatars
  • Enhancements to physical objects around us – like buildings or human faces.

Facebook Augmented Reality will work by aggregating these tools – the cameras within FB apps will allow users to create AR “experiences” – and they will seem quite familiar once you see them. AR is not rare – we’ve all seen it in one form or the other – quite possibly most recently in the form of Pokemon Go.

Now, we all know that Pokemon Go was a huge driver in bringing AR to the mainstream – even if it was little more than a temporary fad for most. You’ve also undoubtedly heard us go on about how the popularity of the game was influential in the voluminous cash injection industry players received in 2016. But this could very well be, to quote Led Zeppelin, when the levee’s gonna break.

 

Where might you have seen AR in action?

Some use cases we’ve found interesting

 

So how does it all work exactly? (A splash of technical jargon)

This vision comes to life with the incorporation of some technological building blocks;

  • Simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) – a technique borrowed from Artificial intelligence – enabling users to integrate digital elements into the reality in front of them
  • 3D effects – capturing and interacting with scenes that you can explore and effects that you can adjust
  • Object recognition – technology that can identify items around you, that can then be targets for the overlay of digital content

 

What about Virtual Reality?

AR and Virtual Reality align quite well, and in that vein, FB is launching a platform called Facebook spaces – where you can interact with people in a virtual environment through the Oculus Rift.

 

Facebook spaces (from F8 2017)

Meanwhile, we’ve been doing our own experiments with the Rift too!

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Early days in terms of adoption – and the plan for an open platform

Zuck reiterated a key message around AR: It is yet in a rudimentary phase of development – and most of the use cases around us are still evolving too. Don’t expect the world to change overnight.

That being said, in offering an open platform and leveraging the huge universe that lives on FB – users will be able to create AR experiences on their own, and share them online. In doing so, new users will have access to parallel creations by fellow users from around the internet.

This spike in available content will invariably help everyone around us find AR experiences that fit their fancy – especially if this punt from FB is a good one – and at Appearition, we certainly believe Facebook Augmented Reality is going to be something special for all of us.

 

The Magic that is AR – QnA with Tomi T Ahonen

Over the past few years – you would have heard us refer to Tomi T Ahonen – a thought leader in the tech space with a distinct passion for AR and author of 12 books on mobile. We are delighted to share a brief QnA that Tomi was kind enough to do with us – 5 questions, 5 minutes (and a bit) – Enjoy!
 
1. How do you think augmented reality/virtual reality industry has evolved over the past 5 years and where would you like to see the industry in the next 5 years? 
 
AR is in an exploratory phase right now. The things that made Pokemon Go such a big hit last year, the individual elements had all been done already before, only Nintendo and Niantic managed to put in the ‘right mix’ of the right elements. But I do believe the future of AR will have us looking at Pokemon Go of 2016 as the ‘early dawn’ and the service be to the industry similar to what MySpace was to social media before Facebook. An initial successful ‘proof-of-concept’ vehicle but others will emerge far bigger and more successful than even this – bearing in mind that Pokemon Go was the most successful new game launch in gaming history. 
 
For the industry I think the next five years will see more validation of various business concepts that will be seen as viable and steady. I think the Ikea furniture catalog AR application is one of the most sustainable on a retail/commerce side; various user-assistance uses of AR in say the Audi user-manual for cars, are an obvious big area that can now get a boost when AR has been ‘validated’ by Pokemon Go. But in 5 years AR will have a Billion consumers using it, AR will be as normal for most users on their smartphones as going to Facebook or Whatsapp or Skype might be today.
 
TV is old news, mobile is now, but AR is the next big thing
 
2. Who, in your opinion, are the more influential players in this industry, and where do you see the most potential for development?
 
I think the big driver for AR is entertainment at least initially. It is a very ‘fun’ type of use of mobile, especially if you compare to say ‘payments’ and mobile money, which is far more ‘useful’ than strictly fun (who loves paying?). I would think that again, the Pokemon Go experience will drive other brands from Disney to Hollywood and TV, to start to deploy AR into their brand experiences. Imagine the next James Bond movie (isn’t it time 007 visited Australia?) – I could very well imagine a Bond-themed adventure ‘game’ with AR that included elements from the movie and set ideally in locations that the movie itself was shot. Or take any of the big action hero movies, the Iron Man, Superman, Spiderman, Batman etc type of movies – these would seem like naturals to go to AR soon. Any strictly animated movies and various currently-popular TV shows – they should already have some kind of AR concept under development to ‘be the next Pokemon Go’ haha..
 
If we think of tech companies, I don’t see anyone moving ahead of the pack so far. And on AR specialist firms, Layar had an early head-start but they don’t seem to (at least yet) have gotten to that ‘Google front-runner’ status of what we typically see in tech like Amazon in retail or Facebook in social media etc.
 
3. Everyone has been talking about AR extensively, particularly post Pokemon, but in your opinion, what are the top 3 benefits of this technology?
 
First off, AR is truly magical. As such, it appeals remarkably strongly to young people. I would guess that once the big ‘youth brands’ figure out that TV is old news, mobile is now, but AR is the next big thing – we will see news like Adidas made last week, when they said they will end TV advertisements because the youth are on their smartphones. I can foresee a time when especially youth-targeted brands start to set AR as their primary media/advertising channel. Secondly AR is ‘illustrative’ and by this I mean it can show us what to do, and how to do it. In any kind of learning situation, AR can project the video of the optimal performance and that can be incredibly powerful in helping illustrate how to do things. User guides and manuals will soon all be AR-enabled. Don’t make me read a manual. Show me how to do it. And the third big benefit is that AR is inherently digital AND inherently mobile. That means it is fully ready for the future digitally-converged world when our money and communciations and media and consumption and behavior and preferences etc will all be done through mobile and using digital means. AR could become ‘the next thing’ after video on mobile. This would be on the progression that mobile was first voice, then text, then pictures, now videos, and next… AR. But we have to see if that comes to be.
 
4. Given the relative ease of implementing the technology, what are some challenges faced by companies looking to adopt AR at an enterprise level?
 
A big problem for most businesses is to find a suitably frequent behavior that could be enhanced or expanded via AR. So if you bought your new car, and once had a problem changing the oil, and used the AR guide once – you will pretty much forget its even possible and won’t get the chance to explore and ‘enjoy’ it. Even as the car company may have built many dozens of AR use-cases to assist the car-owner. But in the case of Pokemon Go there is a lot of ‘repetitive’ behavior and ‘returning’ behavior, so you have to come back and nurture the eggs, and walk the distance to hatch the eggs, and so forth. They have done a lot of thinking on the human ‘addiction-building’ repetitive behavior. I often tell the story of cinema vs bus ticket in mobile payments. Most people go to the cinema only a few times per year. We don’t really ‘learn’ or ‘remember’ that we could pay for that ticket on our mobile phone. But if we commute to work or school every day by bus, we’ll learn in a few days how much more convenient it is to pay by mobile.
 
AR is truly magical. As such, it appeals remarkably strongly to young people.
 
5. Any final thoughts/advice to newcomers in the industry or people wanting to learn how it all works?
 
I do look for the magical. A Disney birthday cake that has Cinderella in it to sing to the 5 year old princess that special day. A penguin at a Tokyo zoo who shows the path how to get from the train station to the zoo, and the penguin waddles exactly like a real penguin, as it walks. This is the kind of magic we can experience in AR and we should seek more of that. And make sure the consumers can share and spread the fun with their friends, through social media etc.
 
Note: Check out Tomi’s Tedx Talk on Augmented Reality being the 8th Mass Medium