This morning, Blippar, Inc., announced that it is providing access to a self-service suite that includes its augmented reality (AR) technology and computer vision capabilities. The move is intended to allow developers and even marketers who may not have coding experience to tap into the potential of the AR market, which eMarketer projects will grow to $120 billion by 2020.
I interviewed Ryan Schmaltz, the EVP of Platforms at Blippar, via email about today’s announcement. Here are my questions and his answers.
Greg Jarboe: How important is Augmented Reality (AR)? Does it represent a significant opportunity compared to Virtual Reality (VR) or live video?
Ryan Schmaltz: Augmented Reality is becoming increasingly important, both within the enterprise and for daily use in consumers’ lives. When compared to VR, the existing and expanding utility of AR will have a more substantial impact on our lives. VR’s overall potential is ultimately challenged by limited use-cases and expensive hardware. However, AR is nearing its mainstream tipping point— this summer’s Pokemon Go craze, endorsements on its greater utility and potential over VR from leading tech figures like Tim Cook, and predictions around its market growth ($120 billion by 2020) are all validations for AR’s prominence in the days to come. To power an immersive AR experience, all you need is your smartphone, which means you can engage with AR literally anywhere you go.
Greg Jarboe: How has Blippar enabled developers and marketers, as well as others who may not have coding experience, to tap into the potential of the AR market?
- Blippbuilder is the design platform that empowers users with no coding experience to create AR experiences.
Greg Jarboe: Can you share the names of some of the brands and agencies that are among your launch partners?
Ryan Schmaltz: We are launching out of beta with over four thousand users, including 100 agencies around the world. Our launch partnerships include SapientNitro APAC and an integration on the SAP Store, which makes our tools widely available to SAP’s massive customer base.
Greg Jarboe: Could you share some more information about Blippar’s Computer Vision API?
Ryan Schmaltz: Our Computer Vision API is a full-stack, easy to use solution that can drive a wide range of use-cases across industries. Using artificial intelligence and machine learning, Blippar’s CV tech automatically analyzes images and tags them for processing in desired applications. With over five years of data to crunch, our software can quickly and intelligently identify disparate elements in an image and flag appropriately. This capability is becoming increasingly important as industries across the world turn to computer vision to power use-cases like self-driving cars, automated curation of social media content, and beyond.
Greg Jarboe: Finally, what’s the most surprising thing that you’ve seen as brands and agencies have started exercising their creative and commercial muscles to push into the future of AR?
Ryan Schmaltz: AR as a medium for brands and agencies is beginning to blossom and surprises and “ah ha” moments are happening almost daily on a brand by brand and agency by agency basis. There is however one moment that always sticks out in my mind. A well-known consumer grocery brand used our Blippbuilder Script for their flagship product via their creative agency. The results were absolutely amazing. The brand discovered through data collected via the AR experience that 20% of the people purchasing and consuming their product was from a demographic they were previously unaware of and had never directly marketed to. These insights initiated a major shift to how the brand now acquires customers. AR is the future of advertising and marketing – engaging prospective and existing customers by delivering a contextual experience that interests and delights the customers while delivering incredible value for the brand.
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