Monday, 21 March 2016

SXSW16: The Greatest Show on Earth?

Passport - Check, Flight Details - Check, skignz QR Codes and Marketing Collateral - Check…. Ready to go..!

A 5:30am start on the long road to Heathrow for Co-Founder & CMO Si Brown and Head of DV Partnerships Jamie Clarke didn’t seem too bad. 

Although the constant rain all the way down one of the UK's busiest roads (M1 motorway) made the journey a longer one than expected… 

skignz was on its way to its first ever SXSW (South by South West) in Austin, Texas.  Widely regarded as THE Tech show to attend, SXSW is held annually in the One Star state in the USA and is attended by well over 100,000 people from all over the world.

Little did the two intrepid explorers realise, that upon arrival in Texas, the airline unfortunately decided to misplace Jamie’s suitcase. Then, upon arrival at the Hotel, there was a mix up with the booking and there was no room at the Inn!  

Somewhere to stay was quickly found in the form of a Motel (please imagine a motel, in the loosest sense of the word and your worst nightmare... you are not even close!) 

We then spent most of the early hours trying to book into another hotel for the remainder of our stay and assuming all was good in the USA. 

But these things happen in three’s don’t they? 
Well, they didn’t have to wait long, as at the end of the second day, Jamie left his phone in a 'hailed' Yellow Taxi and that was the set!

Jamie said, “At first, it seemed like fate had conspired against us.

But once we had gotten the three things out of the way, we were really pleased with how the trip went overall"

Things got decidedly better for the pair from there on in. Many thanks to colleagues at UKTi, Tech North and Tech City UK, who had supported skignz to be able to attend. 

We were also able to make some appointments in advance, so as to better utilise the time spent at the event.  

The whole environment was digitally enhanced by the presence of skignz to help attendees find their way around the huge city of Austin, finding Hotel Venues, the Party Venues, Registration and of course the excellent UKTi Great Britain House (which skignz made their base, throughout the week). 

“We placed skignz at all of the major areas of the event, guiding people to the Registration area, the Convention centre and helped the 'Lounges' to be found by people in an unfamiliar surroundings and generally showing people how useful visual way finding could be” said Co-Founder & CMO, Si Brown.


Our meetings with some of the 'largest brands on the planet' went well, with several meetings leading on to follow up meetings upon our return.  

Si and Jamie held the majority of meetings in the GREAT Britain House, which was a superb venue designed to showcase the best of British businesses to our American counterparts.

Some great comments were received by the team throughout the trip, with people using twitter to say that skignz had ‘made their trip to SXSW’ with one amazing lady (you know who you are!) even saying on twitter “Fan girling the skignz tech was the highlight of the trip”, so, good impressions made by the guys in Texas.

Overall, this was a productive, and tiring trip for the guys.  With skignz placed all over the grand old city of Austin, the greatest tech show on earth, became the skignz show in the sky...

Could different types of AR have been used to introduce the varying VR experiences, could the whole room be set up in such a way that everything was AR or VR rather than a collection of areas with companies trying to out do each other?

Imagine a 'curated space' with complimentary AR/VR experiences leading users through a journey, opening their minds to new possibilities, provoking thoughts and questions on how each step could be applied to their own lives, both personally and professionally?

It needs a coordinated approach and some serious engagement in order for AR/VR to go from a nice to have, pithy, transition piece in the middle of SXSW to a major focal point in 2017. Very surprising especially with all with the current levels of investment and interest in the two.

SXSW AR/VR track made me seriously 'beg the question', How long can these technologies be classed as 'The Future' rather than the 'Here and Now'?

Read Si’s Blog Post on his thoughts of the VR/AR track at SXSW here…

With the airline again messing up but this time with leg room on our return journey, we certainly have had a mixed type of trip but as always we like to focus on the positive and it's those positives we hope skignz will benefit from going forward.

And as always for further information on skignz then please visit us on the usual Social Media channels or drop us a line

Thursday, 3 March 2016

skignz @ SXSW 2016

skignz will be providing a 'skigned environment' right across SXSW in Austin, Texas, US.

This will be a world first for SXSW, as visitors will be able to use the FREE skignz app to access 'virtual signs in the sky', helping them to navigate their way around as well as interacting with the skignz for further information and in some cases 'offers'.

skignz is so simple to use and the essential app for SXSW 2016.

If you don't currently have skignz then please feel free to download a copy (it's only very little at 1mB file size) of the skignz app for IOS or Android.

You can also scan the QR code (shown below) or on one of the many stickers across downtown Austin...

If you would like to come and talk to our guys then we will be in the 'Great Britain House' as one of the UKTI Tech Ambassadors.

They will be on hand throughout the Interactive show to demonstrate skignz, and how it might be applicable to your business or even for your own personal use...

Whether you want to use skignz to visualize your 'geo location data' and make it more accessible and useful, through to using skignz to find your friends in downtown Austin during SXSX?

All events are taking place at the 'Great Britain House' (206 East 4th Street, Austin, Texas. (AKA Wanderlust Yoga) 

Please note that the 'Great Britain House'  is open 11-14 March from 9am-10pm daily

Just look for the skignz (just like below)...

For Further information on SXSW Interactive please visit:

And as always for further information on skignz then please visit us on the usual Social Media channels or drop us a line

What's happening in the AR Market?

Over the last 12-18 months you may have heard and read an awful lot about VR (Virtual Reality), especially since Facebook bought Oculus Rift for $2billion. 

Many of the world's biggest tech hardware & software companies are developing alternatives with VR Headsets ranging from a few thousand dollars right down to google cardboard.

The headline have been dominated by VR. What it can do? How it's developed over the last year or so and how it will change certain sectors / markets / industries.

However with skignz being an AR (Augmented Reality) company we have been taking a keen interest in our own market. If 2014/15 was all about VR, then 2016 onwards will be dominated by AR.

Yesterday blippar announced a further $54 million investment (Series D Raise) on top of the $45 million (Series C Raise) they raised exactly 12 months ago, making them one of the world's biggest and dominant forces in the AR market.

The blippar announcement comes on the heels of Google's investment of $568m into Magic Leap, Microsoft's Hololens & Apple's acquisition of Metaio. Also last year Blippar acquired Layar (Main Competitor), leaving Wikitude, Aurasma and skignz as the main AR platforms.

The acquisitions, investment etc... not only show the confidence in the potential of AR (blippar pre money valuation of £1.5 billion in Aug 2015), the relevance it has to a wider market than VR provides. Most of all it is showing ways that AR can be useful, rather than just an advertising platform (gimmick or campaign based activity), games platform or simulator.

We have been asked a lot in the last 24 hours... How does Blippar's investment effect skignz? We only think it's a very positive one! Especially as the skignz technology platform is complementary to Blippar's 'image recognition' based offering.

Blippar's latest investment (in our very modest opinion) is fantastic, not just becuase they are a UK AR company, but becuase they are pushing the boundaries of what is possible and moving towards a more Visual Search, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning platform. 

Across the AR market offering the majority is focussed on Image recognition and holographic based AR technology. Other than Magic Leap (Google) who have not announced exactly what they are doing, the skignz technology is based on a different method/approach of AR technology.

skignz (like blippar) works through a Free APP on the billions of smartphone or mobile devices across the planet. However skignz aims to provide hyperlocal relevant information, when and where you require it, anywhere on the planet, without have to point your device at something... You just pan around to find what you are looking for... and if you don't see anything, then you have the ability to place your own content!

If Google, Facebook (Mark Zuckerberg Quoting skignz strapline a few months ago), Microsoft and even Apple (although at present it's rumoured to focus AR on its driverless cars) along with VC's and other global tech companies like Qualcomm etc... are focussing billions and billions of investment dollars, surely there is something about AR that's extremely attractive?

With Digi-Capital predicting that AR spend will hit $150 Billion by 2020 compared against VR spend of $30 Billion, you will certainly be hearing more about the investment and growth of Augmented Reality.

Here are some articles over the last 12 months that we have come across you may find interesting on Augmented Reality:

Blippar's latest investment & turning down £1.5bn acquisition offer last year...

Expensive Hardware for AR (Oculus Rift Style Headset)...

AR spend set to hit $150 Billion by 2020...

blippar CEO on being bigger than Google & connect to IOT...

And as always for further information on skignz then please visit us on the usual Social Media channels or drop us a line

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

skignz: The High Life with British Airways

So, what does David Beckham, James Corden, Sir Bradley Wiggins, Kevin Spacey, Simon LeBon plus many, many other talented and successful people have in common? 

'The High Life' of course. British Airways High Life to be exact. You can add our very own Co-Founder & CMO Si Brown to that esteemed list, as he's featured in March 2016's edition of the long running inflight magazine's Business Edition.

The publications have been running even longer than Si has been alive and can be found in Business & First class on of all British Airways flights throughout March 2016.

Si was approached following his presentation at last years WIRED Magazine Retail conference, where he spoke about Augmented Reality technology and it's future in retail. 

Editor Tim Hulse realised that skignz can offer so much more and isn't exclusive to Retail, so he wanted to know abit more about what skignz can do and where, along with Si's own journey so far.

In addition to the interview Si was asked to attend a photo shoot in central London, which was a very fresh and very early morning!

To add to the drama of the photoshoot, it took place on London Bridge right in the middle of 'rush hour'!!

It was actually a great experience for Si, and rather amusing for Jamie Clarke, skignz Head of DV Partnerships as he stood, nithered in the sub zero temperatures and counted over 200+ people turning their heads to find out if Si was someone famous... 

When they realised he wasn't and they didn't recognise him, they just carried on with their journey, none the wiser. 

We wondered if any of those thousands of commuters happen to read the article whilst flying on British Airways in March, Si may not be famous but they will certainly now know why he was being photographed that fresh London morning. They may be one of those 'blurred' people surrounding him in the picture.

If you would like to read the feature and if you don't happen to be a BA passenger this month, you can still read the 'Talent' article on skignz and Si, plus all the other interesting content each month in the British Airways 'Business Life' magazine either by checking the article out online or by downloading their App on ITunes (IOS) or Google Play (Android):

BA Business Life (Website):

BA Business Life (IOS):

BA Business Life (Android):

If anyone happens to be flying Business/First Class with BA or manage to get their hands on a copy, please do take a pic and share it on Social Media tagging in skignz and telling us where you are off too. We look forward to seeing how creative you can be with your posts!

And as always for further information on skignz then please visit us on the usual Social Media channels or drop us a line