Wednesday, 27 April 2016

First Visit to Toronto for skignz

My 1st ever visit to Toronto started with an early flight flying out of La Guardia, New York. An hour & a half later; 2 cans of Red Bull down I landed at Pearson International Airport in Toronto. 

Stepping off the plane, if felt like I had just landed back on Teesside… cold, wet and windy!! However, not even the grim weather could dampen my enthusiasm as I looked forward to a busy couple of days ahead.

After a 30 minute taxi drive I was checking in to the Delta hotel on Maple Leaf Square, a stones through away from the Air Canada Centre. No time to rest though, I was picked up from the hotel by an old teammate & good friend who now lives in Toronto, was able to show me around and act as my host throughout my short stay in the city.

1st port of call was to the official Toronto FC bar where we watched Portland Timbers v Toronto with all the local and very passionate fans. It was a real family friendly environment with everyone having a good time & supporting their team in the right way.

After watching Toronto FC narrowly lose 2-1 to the Timbers, we made our way to the Air Canada Centre as I was invited as a guest to watch the deciding play off game between Toronto Raptors v Indian Pacers. 

This was my 1st experience of an NBA Basketball game and everyone kept telling me that I couldn’t have chosen a better game to attend. The atmosphere was electric as the Raptors hadn’t been past this stage in 15 years!

It was a star-studded event, with big names such as Drake and Didier Drogba in attendance. Whilst at the game, I was introduced to some very influential people who loved the concept of skignz and the almost endless possibilities that it offers. Watch this space!

To top the evening off, the Raptors won the game 89-84, leaving a party atmosphere in and around the venue, but it was back to the hotel for me as I had a busy day ahead…

Day 2 in Toronto began with my standard hotel breakfast, Eggs Benedict! With a full stomach and a much needed caffeine fix (Red Bull), I was off to my 1st meeting of the day. 

After some very positive and productive discussions, my friend picked me up and I was fortunate enough to experience the famous Soho House Members club of Toronto for lunch. It’s very much an 'up market' establishment in which members are very selectively chosen.

After an interesting lunch meeting with some promising new business contacts, it was time for my final meeting before catching my flight back to New York.

All in all, I had a great time in the city of Toronto and made some exciting new contacts that will hopefully have a major part to play in taking skignz forward in Canada.

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

Monday, 25 April 2016

skignz in the Manchester sky

Business Rocks 2016

As you may have read in one of our previous posts, skignz were delighted to be announced as a partner for Business Rocks 2016 held in Manchester, UK.

The Global Tech, Music and Business Conference was the first of its kind in the UK.  

The event was extremely successful, members of the Tech Community came from far and wide. 

With high profile speakers such as Apple Co-Founder Steve Wozniak speaking as a Key Note, several events taking place throughout the day, and a vibrant Manchester showing its bright lights on an evening. 
A successful two days, with skignz being talked about across the event by attendees and exhibitors alike.  As well as exhibiting in the main area, Co-Founder Si Brown also spoke on the Developer stage, giving an overview of the skignz technology and showing how wayfinding doesn’t have to be displayed only in Map form. But can be shown in a visual form, by using the skignz technology.  

The speech was well received, with the amount of people visiting the skignz exhibition area increasing throughout the two days.

skignz had produced a digital environment for attendees to use to find their way around the city, and the venue, which was well received throughout.

For more information on Business Rocks, 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

Monday, 11 April 2016

Business Rocks Partners with skignz

skignz are excited to announce that we have been named as a partner for the upcoming Business Rocks 2016 in Manchester, UK.

Mixing the dynamism of the organisers with the easy use of skignz technology, attendees now no longer need to get lost in Manchester in April when they attend Business Rocks 2016.

What's more, the opportunity to listen to keynote speaker Steve Wozniak is obviously something no one wants to miss out on, or be late...

As well as speaking our own Co-Founder & CMO Si Brown be on the same bill as the Apple Co-Founder, skignz will place digital content in all of the areas of Manchester which will be useful to attendees, including transport links, hotels, where to find those who are exhibiting, and of course, the main stage to see the keynote and other speeches.  

This will be a great opportunity for the skignz team to demonstrate the effectiveness of the skignz technology platform, following our very successful trips to SXSW(Austin, Texas, US) & Web Summit (Dublin, Ireland) in March '16 and November '15 respectively.

Si Brown will deliver a speech aimed at opening discussions about the possibilities of AR for everyone, and update on the progress of skignz, and of course a 'live interactive demo'.

Si said, “I’m extremely excited about speaking at the event.  

It’s always good to get up on stage and spread the skignz Gospel, but to do it in the same event, as someone of the calibre of ‘The Woz’ will be a huge highlight for me, and for skignz".

We will also be exhibiting in the main area alongside some of Britain’s Best Tech companies, so what better way to showcase what we are about and how we can impact on people's lives with skignz than by providing a live demonstration on the stage.”

Business Rocks takes place on 21st & 22nd April 2016 in Manchester UK, and is expected to be the first in a long line of global events for the BR team. As a partner moving forward, skignz will be on show at events on a global basis as the BR brand gathers momentum as one of THE events for Tech Entrepreneurs, Music and Investors to attend.

Nothing has been left to chance; the event includes a competition for start-ups and a chance to win a massive £50,000!!  As well as established companies in attendance, the event will also feature an opportunity for Start Up’s to come and showcase their products, Bands to perform and people to enjoy, after all, attending an event like this should be fun as well as informative!!

If you would like to attend, skignz can help you with a reduced price ticket special offer, limited for the first 9 people. This offer ends on Friday 15th at Midnight, so click here to secure your ticket now.

Don't miss out, it's not very often you get chance to hear the likes of Steve Wozniak speak. Hopefully he will reveal some stories about his early days at Apple and his close relationship with the late, great Steve Jobs.

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

Friday, 8 April 2016

AR or Not AR, That is the Question?

Part of the role of skignz the company is to keep abreast of movements and innovations within the technology sector.

There are a thousand and one Blog posts, websites and twitter feeds ploughing information into cyber world.  

At the moment, the rise of Virtual Reality (VR) is big news.  Everything from uses of VR, the hardware required to use it, the costs of hardware, which platform to use and who is the newest ‘kid on the block’.

Augmented Reality (AR) is currently second in the cyber newsstands by comparison.  

Even though AR presents the largest percentage of the ‘Reality’ market in terms of uses, an awful lot of companies are seeing the benefits of including AR in their offering to customers or users.

The latest in this trend is Tinder, who has acquired Humin, a company that works on figuring out the context of social connections.

Cumin’s CEO views Tinder as Augmented Reality because it is all about meeting and connecting and it uses your phone to augment the special information around you, and put it into contact.  
They’re calling it Actionable Information, but… is it really Augmented Reality?

Are they placing ‘Augmented’ content into the real world?

Or are they ‘Augmenting’ information to make connections easier?

In fact, it is actually Actionable Information, NOT Augmented Reality…


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

Monday, 4 April 2016

SXSW - AR/VR Track...

...we were underwhelmed to say the least!

Before I go any further, it's not SXSW that left us underwhelmed, SXSW was a fantastic experience not only personally but also from a skignz point of view. 

We met with many important and exciting people, providing skignz with some quite exciting opportunities going forward.

That said where the underwhelming feelings come from is that related to the AR/VR track at SXSW, the panels, the presentations and the demo area. 

As most of them were focussed for the Wednesday (Most Interactive related parties closing parties happened on the Monday) it seemed wedged between the Interactive, the Film & Music. 

Sort of an afterthought fitted in to 'pay lip service' to the these 'two areas of tech' despite them being two of the 'the' biggest areas of advance in tech.

Let's consider this in a little more detail. AR/VR may be 'the NKOTB' to the majority, yet both have been around for decades... Then you could argue, if they have been around this long, why give them any consideration at all and if so why now?

Writing this article I realise that my thoughts and questions only bring up more thoughts and questions as I seek to answer each of them. That I now believe is because of the conflicting stories across the media, hype in areas that is unsustainable, the majorities actual understanding of VR and AR and been the difference between the two, not to mention all of the 'fringe' technologies that are reported to be one or the other but are actually neither.

'Breaking down my feelings of being underwhelmed into a few key areas may help you understand where I'm coming from?'

Panel Discussions:
I attended quite a few of these focussed on AR/VR and one or two other panels where it was discussed. I seemed to get the feeling that VR 'was here now' but more focussed on Gaming, Simulation and Sex (Porn). Also most of the panels didn't really reveal anything new, discuss any real 'gritty issues' more a soapbox for individuals to wax lyrical about their own careers and companies they worked for.

Nobody really engaged the other panel members in real debate or even the audience, who's questions seemed 'very pithy' and more about how the person asking the question could get to work with the guys on the panel.

Experiences & Presentations:
Across Austin there were a number of 'VR experiences and demo lounges' all of the ones we saw and engaged with were VR focussed with, if their were any AR ones, we either didn't see them or couldn't find them amongst all the noise and activity of SXSW itself.

Demo Area:
One of the most underwhelming experiences, of SXSW. Imagine walking into a large conference room, with a 15-20 'areas/stalls/stands' (can't describe them exactly as their wasn't an exact offering) littered (best word I can use to describe the layout) around the perimeter.

Each of these 'areas' were populated with a range of people from 1-2 up to 5-10 all wearing VR headsets, small queues of people waiting for their 1-5min experience. 

I have experienced VR and all the progression/regression this has shown over the last 20 years and taking my time to engage with a few different offerings.

It's clear that the tech has improved significantly over the last 2-3 years more so in the previous 17-20 years. The content was engaging and interesting in part and the feelings of motion sickness, latency reduced and rendering/lighting being the biggest improvements that I noticed.

I think the scene before me was extremely odd because you had so many people engaging with a very 'personal/individual' experience, all in the same space, when in reality these people would be using this tech in their own home or place of work on their own. 

It's like watching a 'silent disco', where each person is listening to totally different tracks whilst dancing to them.

So If you picture the room full of people with large headsets on, walking and moving around like it's the first time they had ever wore varifocal lenses listening to a 'silent disco' then you may come close to the surreal view laid out before me.

If you couple this with the queues of people waiting for their turn on each VR Headset, the layout of each brand's demo area and lack of engagement with each other, I hope you could forgive me for being underwhelmed.

Because the VR experience is very personal and singular, the experience around that experience is for me the underwhelming part. Growing up I enjoyed going in those giant hemisphere tents that projected 'a virtual ride on a roller coaster', the small simulators at fairs and theme parks with a small number of people who sit inside an immersive experience.

Even through to my early days in VR in the late 1990's, early Noughties, using the Universities Hemi-Spherion, nothing though prepared me for the SXSW16 VR experience.

Overall approach to VR/AR:
The total lack of an AR presence! This for me was one of the biggest shocks in as much as not only was there no AR presence (other than skignz all around you - you need the skignz app to access the content) but very little was discussed around AR.

Yes, we all understand VR is the buzzword and popular theme at the moment that said 2016 seems to be developing into the year where AR is more widely discussed as VR roles out.

You will see from our other blog posts.... What skignz brought to SXSW and demoed in UK@SXSW Great Britain House, so I won't go over that ground, or try to draw comparisons.

Suffice to say, even skignz could have done more to improve the visitors of SXSW experience, but we cannot do that alone...

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