Yesterdays AR Mashup Event
Yesterday I attended the augmented reality mashup event in London which was attended some of the leading companies in the augmented reality space. It was good opportunity to put faces to some of the products I have been blogging about for sometime. I arrived 45 minutes late due to a mapping error beyond my control (really), when I got to the venue they told me they were full and were not accepting any more admissions, such was the interest in the event. Fortunately (and I mean fortunately because I had the journey from hell) they found a few empty seats for the few of us that were waiting downstairs.
When I found my seat they were in full flow doing AR demos. Some of the demos I remember were Jan Schlink from Metaio, Myles Peyton from Total Immersion,Charles Cadbury from WhiteApp, Richard Leyland, WorkSnug, Ravi Leyland from Acrossair and Mark Stimpfig from ConnectEd. There were a few others but I missed them due to my lateness. The demos had an open mic feel where the speaker got just a few minutes to talk about their solution but not give a sales pitch. The star of the show was Myles from Total Immersion who showed a demo relating to the James Cameron Avatar movie and how they are bring toys to live. When you see how polished Total Immersion’s products are you know they are a company that has been doing this for a long time and they just get the whole augmented reality thing.
Total Immersion Avatar Toys (not the demo from the event)httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XMAaOxjTKMI
I was hoping to catch a glimpse of Metaio’s new Junaio browser in action but instead we saw a short video before the allotted time ran out for the next speaker. Richard Leyland (WorkSnug) had a good story about marketing iPhone apps, the WorkSnug guys built up such a demand and hype around the WorkSnug product but forgot to submit it to the AppStore. Now they have the hype but no published product. Lesson learned publish your app first. If you’re wondering where the WorkSnug application is, it has been submitted and in the Apple queue.
For the augmented planet event next month I was trying to figure out how to show live demos from the iPhone/Android. I didn’t get the guys name (it was possibly Ravi from Acrossair) but one presenter had an ingenious solution that involved an L shaped stick with the device at one end and a webcam at the other. With the contraption he was able to show live demos of their browser application. Live demos are so much better than video. Another live demo was from Mark Simpfig from ConnectEd who showed how Sony are changing education with the PSP. With their software they are printing makers in school books, when you point the PSP at the marker it brings the story to life either by showing you some images or playing an MP3. It sounds like a cool way to get school kids reading.
WhiteApp.com are an interesting company, if you are building a project and don’t want to start from scratch, they have a catalogue of applications that you can white label. Just re-brand it and away you go. Their catalogue includes an augmented reality application.
The topic of VCs investing in augmented reality came up, GeoVation are investing should you have the next big idea and be looking for funding.
After the demos the event format switched to a panel session, I found the panel session a little hard to keep up with as the diversity of the panel members was too vast and covered wildly different areas. While it was interesting to hear the various points of view it was a bit like having a panel on the motor industry made up with members from F1, Ford, Big Joe’s Garage Repair, BMW, QuickFit, and the manager from the local Wild Bean Cafe. All of them will have valid points on motoring and how it affects their business but too many different views to keep up with. From the panel members augmented reality meant different things, audio, multimedia, advertising so opinions where wide. It would have been better to focus on a smaller topic, eg the future of augmented reality browsers applications rather than the global AR space as a whole as my thoughts turned to beer at that point.
All in all it was a good event and thanks to the Mashup guys for arranging the event. I really enjoyed the networking over a few beers after and catching up with people. What was really interesting was the people that I met with and how they were looking to apply augmented reality. Everyone one from architects with ideas on recreating parts of London from the late 1800s (that would be a cool festival), people from the military looking to see how AR can be used in combat situations, cable companies looking to see how augmented reality can help engineers find cables under the streets, and everyone in between. Real people with real solutions, you can’t beat networking.
If you didn’t manage to make the event, or if you still want more augmented reality then don’t forget on the 11th November we have a free augmented reality event in London. You can find out more here: augmentedplanet.eventbrite.com
If you are interested in the engineering aspect of augmented reality take a look at information on online engineering degrees.