Showing posts with label AugmentedReality. Show all posts
Showing posts with label AugmentedReality. Show all posts

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Un-Augmented Reality:

Tales from the AR Trenches
by Si Brown, Founder & CEO, skignz


Long time readers of this blog – friends and family of skignz – know I’ve been pursuing the very real dream of making Augmented Reality easy, fun, and useful for the masses.

In the beginning, finding articles on the topic was as rare as finding Venusaur, Blastoise, or Charizard in Pokemon Go!. (Of course, back when we started, there was no Pokemon Go!) Try as I might to find something tangible, most of the articles were related to the promise and potential of the technology.

As time passed, it got a little easier because 'the space' was heating up. However, we still couldn't find much in our specific territory. (Don't get me wrong...that's not a bad thing!). The growing amount of information was about AR triggered by images (e.g. a QR or UPC code) or 'features' (e.g. logos or open spaces in a kitchen to place an augmented microwave). 

While location-based (what we use) is another known trigger, it’s surprisingly rare. In fact, we studied the 109 applications in Super Ventures AR Landscape and could only find a couple of possible examples.


Then came two thunderclaps: Pokemon Go! and Apple’s AR kit announcement

Boom. Boom.

Pokemon Go! was indeed the game changer that it gets the credit for. It taught us all lessons about the possibilities and established a credible example of how a niche technology could explode into the main stream. ARKit clearly will do all that and probably more.

Add Facebook’s pronouncements and you might think skignz would want to crawl into a virtual cave. 

How could a small angle-round startup possibly compete? This is how:

* We use 'geofencing' in a very different way than all other location-based experiences (AR or other)
* We don’t place content in the App (we’ve <5 MB on your phone vs +300mb for Pokemon Go!) Take a look for yourself www.skignz.com/download 
* We have real use cases under our belt and a growing sense of what works (and what doesn’t) for our particular flavour of AR see www.skignz.com



In addition, those same longtime readers know skignz has been identified by some of the largest brands in the world (Coca-Cola, IHG, Cox Enterprises, Porsche, to name just a few) and have selected us to be part of The Coca-Cola Bridge Community program. That prestigious recognition gives our partners the opportunity to bring location-based AR to the masses.

For this we offer our very real thanks to the teams at companies like Apple, Niantic and others for doing what we couldn’t do by ourselves: Make Augmented Reality a 'reality'.

Credit: Apple's WWDC 2017 KeyNote


If you want to find out more about skignz, then please visit our website (www.skignz.com) as well as the usual social media channels.

Monday, 15 May 2017

skignz accepted onto Atlanta Bridge Community.

It’s exciting times for the skignz team; we are pleased to announce that we have secured a place within the Coca-Cola led Atlanta Bridge Community.


This is amazing news for our innovative geo-location based Augmented Reality platform. skignz Chief Operating Officer says:, Jamie Clarke
"The Bridge Community gives skignz an opportunity to collaborate on a number of levels with some of the biggest companies and Brands on the planet. 

We are humbled and rightly excited about Atlanta is one of the fastest growing technology ecosystems in the US. It is the largest economy in the southeast and home to over 30 Fortune 1000 companies, including the Coca-Cola Company.

The Bridge Company is a unique entrepreneurial community model backed by an exclusive set of large corporates focused on growing communities through corporate start-up collaboration. 

It was founded by Coca Cola and now includes some major businesses such as Cox Enterprises, Coca Cola, Intercontinental Hotels Group, Porsche North America, SunTrust Bank, Capgemini and The Weather Company are just a few who wholeheartedly support and contribute to the Atlanta Bridge Company.

The Bridge Project started in 2014. The success of this fantastic opportunity shows in their figures; with 10 start-ups and five large corporations starting 2014, which enabled 9 pilots and proof-of-concepts. Collectively these start-ups hired 32 employees, increased their revenue monthly by 150% and raised $2.9M in VC funding.

So you can imagine how ecstatic we were when we realised skignz had been chosen as one of the 22 companies to be part of this amazing project that helps companies take a huge step up on the commercial ladder.


We are thrilled with the opportunity to receive tactical, in-depth training from an enterprise perspective including marketing branding, sales and negotiation tailored to our individual needs. The idea behind such training is to accelerate us into our targeted marketplace. We will have access to internal and external mentors from some of the top companies across Atlanta / America / Globe

The Atlanta Bridge Community Model truly cares about the start-ups on the program; their aim is to help them build a global businesses. They ask for no financial investment, equity stakes and all start-ups maintain ownership of their IPR.

So you can see why we are so excited about this amazing opportunity. 


'Above we can see Jamie Clarke, skignz COO, in full-swing engaging with some amazing companies.'

Jamie added... "It's such an exciting opportunity for us to engage, not only with some of the biggest brands in the world, but also embed ourselves into the Tech ecosystem in Atlanta.  The partnership opportunities with the companies who are also part of the Bridge Community is an added bonus."

You can see more from other companies such as, Tech-Up Techwire and PR Web, who are finding this news just as exciting as us.

You can find out more about how you can apply to be part of the Bridge Community.

If you want to find out more about skignz, then please visit our new recently launched website (www.skignz.com) as well as the usual social media channels


Monday, 8 May 2017

skignz proudly partners with The Sports Technology Awards

May 2017, took the skignz UK team to London to partner with this year's Sports Technology Awards (#sta2017) and wow! 

What an A-listed spectacular event it was with some amazing sports personalities attending, such as, Barry McGuigan, Martin Corry, Marlon Devonish, Kelly Sotherton, & Gemma Morris to name but a few.

skignz was thrilled to be asked to be a partner and bring our fresh, unique, engaging industry to the awards evening.

STA Awards Director, Mark Hunter, explained:

'The Sports Technology Awards is a unique celebration of innovation in sports globally, as such, our audience is highly sophisticated so each year we face a challenge of how to impress and engage them in ways they’ve yet to see. We had seen some creative yet practical uses of AR so decided that this should be one of the technologies we embrace this year and the response has been phenomenal.'

Alan Clayton, skignz Partnerships Manager, said: 'It’s exciting to work with prestigious brands like The Sports Technology Awards, especially when we are given the opportunity to demonstrate how practical, yet playful Augmented Reality can be. AR can be dismissed as signs in the sky but they can also be fascinating portals to more information and provide a highly effective and engaging way to inform audiences.'

For skignz, the project started months ago, augmenting the shortlisted companies invitations outside their office environment, which then allowed users to press a link through to the STA registration page. 

100's of individuals within the nominated companies downloaded the app to view the invitation and got a sneak-peek as to whether they was shortlisted or not. Ahead of everyone else who would have found out the next day via the STA website. 


Social media was going crazy with the companies posting images of their invitation outside their office and within the office itself.


Not only is skignz tech useful but it can also be fun, with this year's STA on May the 4th (for those few who don't know Star Wars) it was suggested that skignz be used to augment content around the Star Wars theme. 

So characters and ships were seen flying around the Roundhouse and life like size characters being found and photographed within the ceremony room. 

Prizes were offered for the best picture entry on Social Media. 





Back to the serious stuff, with Mark Chapman (Chappers) presenting this year's awards it was down to him to explain how skignz was used and the channels of content that were available during the awards evening. Some channels consisted of AR Table plans, AR Running order and AR menu, all of which were interactive linked to the relevant information. 

The other Channels were Star Wars as previously mentioned and a channel dedicated to the winners, where the content was placed live on the evening and linked through to a video explaining and showing why they were the winner of their award.

The awards were a huge success and our congratulations go to all the winners and the shortlisted companies for getting so close in this prestigious and competitive awards.

If you want to find out more about skignz, then please visit our new recently launched website (www.skignz.com) as well as the usual social media channels

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

London Sport 2.0: Encouraging London to become more active

London Sport 2.0 is on a mission to make London a happier, healthier and stronger place through Sport. 


This was definitely a passion project for us, with our own former Pro/Semi-Pro footballers in Si Brown, Jamie Clarke & Alan Clayton, we were excited to join two of our life passions, technology and sport, together.

London Sport 2.0 are involved in numerous projects, activities and events to bring awareness to Londoners, in hope of encouraging 1,000,000 Londoners to be more active by 2020. It seems their first year is proving promising and they are definitely on track to achieving this result.

                                          
At skignz we love a new innovative project, that not only includes sports and technology, but pushes boundaries and encourages a change in people and society. 

So we were more than thrilled to work with Sport tech 2.0 in London on 15th November 2017. The digital revolution continues, at the IMAX in London, what a modern / fitting venue.

Si Brown, skignz Founder & CEO, was a guest speaker, amongst great speakers such as London & Partners, the Open Data Institute and Loughborough University


It was also exciting times for skignz as we were included in the Hub, an area which is designated to tech companies that are making waves in the sector and disrupting the norm. So this was an amazing opportunity for us to be part of something encouragingly progressive.

What a fabulous day with some terrific speakers and cracking companies. 
You can see the video here - LINK TO VIDEO HERE



Friday, 21 October 2016

Fuse Annual Leadership Conference - Bringing AR to life with the views of London

We had a very exciting time at Fuse 2016 on 20th October - bringing skignz to life through the wonderful view of London.

Fuse is a leadership conference that began last year. Following the success from the last event, they decided to host their annual conference again. This was an invitation-only event, so imagine our excitement when La Fosse, wanted us to be involved. 


La Fosse are a specialist recruitment company, based in London, who annually have an event / networking / presentation / guest speakers for all of their clients / prospected clients. So it was an honour to work with La Fosse to bring skignz to Fuse 2016, enabling staff and guests to use our interactive digital technology.


skignz fitted perfectly with their mission, which focused on technology leaders and innovative business. This year's event centred around the challenges that digital businesses encounter. The aim of the event was to bring together executives from both international and national blue chip and fast-growing startups to discuss business evolution from the core. 


At skignz, we applaud all 'go-getters' who see potential in our developing digital world, those who won't stop and believe their business is a bigger part of the digital age. So we loved listening to stories from other tech companies who, too, would continue to keep up with our ever-changing digital world.


It was great to incorporate skignz into this powerful event, as we created accounts for all La Fosse staff. All guests were asked to download skignz so they could then find a member of the La Fosse staff, or even find out a little more about them. 

A fantastic personal touch for any event hosts.



This prestige event was held at the top of the Tate Modern Gallery; windows surrounded the top floor from 3 sides, allowing for the most magnificent view. This was a great opportunity for us, as we were able to place AR signs/logos of all the prominent locations in London, such as The Tower of London

This meant that not only could guests view the signs and logos of various London icons through their mobile and understand where the famous icon was in relation to the gallery, but skignz allowed them to click on the sign/logo and find out interesting facts about that particular landmark.



This was great fun for us, as it's what we do best; an interactive experience that benefits our users.


Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Review of 2015

2015 proved to be an award winning and interesting time for skignz, as well as externally, in the world of AR.

The landscape of AR changed quite significantly throughout 2015, as either acquisitions, or investments were made, reducing the number of companies in the market. Blippar invested heavily (increasing their worth to circa £1.4b) whilst also acquiring their biggest rival, Layar.


Other companies such as Apple acquired Metaio and Google invested even further ($542m) into MagicLeap.  

Other companies apps were not renewed and many digital/ad/creative agencies had to look for other ways to offer their client AR experiences, with Junaio being acquired and stopping its SDK for others to use. In addition, INTEL acquired RECON.



Also across the wider market, Apple introduced the ability to be able to open one app from another, something that was not previously available on the iTunes App store.


We know that skignz are focussed on AR, however VR's emergence over the past few months made some waves, with more progress from Occults Rift and even Facebook. Founder & CEO Mark Zuckerberg, quoting our own Co-founder & CMO Si Brown, stated that "Why look at your phone, when you can look through it!"


Other VR progress was made in line with the huge interest in the technology. The first Oculus Rift Headsets were due to be shipped in the final quarter of 2015.




Moving on to skignz, the biggest difference you will have seen is the aesthetics of the skignz website and the skignz app. Considerable time was spent in developing 'version 2.0' for IOS with Android being currently finalised. 


In addition to the new look and feel, skignz were present at many outdoor events such as PRIDE LDN, Glastonbury, EDC & Leeds Festival. 

The feedback on the tech and also the performance exceeded even our high expectations.


Another key milestone was the development and introduction of the 'ARtAbove' channel, allowing ANY Artist, ANYWHERE in the World to place their own Art ANYWHERE they want, essentially making the whole world a gallery. 

This was developed in conjunction with artist Martin McCloon and was even showcased at Disgraceland (Banksy's Installation in Weston Super-mare), actually subverting the subversive.

2015 was an award winning year for skignz as they were voted as 'The UK's Most Disruptive Tech Startup' by Ignite, 'TechAwards NE', 'Thinking Digital' and the 'Marketing Award' at the BNBA'15. 2016 has already started with a bang, with skignz being shortlisted again in the BNBA'16 and last week coming Runner up in KPMG's 'Best British Mobile Startup'.


skignz increased their team with key additions of Jamie Clarke (Head of DV Partnerships) and David Murphy (Head of Sports Partnerships) both settling in quickly and hitting the ground running across the many conferences and events in the final quarter of the year.
















In the final weeks of the year skignz launched their #skignzsanta experience, which allowed parents to follow the 12 days lead up to Christmas eve whilst learning each day how to set up their own personalised #skignzsanta. 

Parents placed two skignz outside their homes so when Santa was close (following on the NORAD or Google Santa websites) parents could show 'Santa' flying past through their magic santa camera Smartphone or tablet.




Initially they saw what looked like Santa in his sleigh being led away by his reindeers, then parents 'panned across the sky' to reveal a special 'personalised note' to their child(ren), telling them he can only deliver when they are fast asleep. 


The hundreds of people who did this across the globe said their children were simply ‘blown away’ by the experience, and getting them to sleep was a lot easier than normal! 


We will be looking into doing a similar thing for Christmas 2016 but we have a lot of other interesting and exciting 'skignz' projects to deliver before then...

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

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

skignz Indoors

We know now that skignz is working well in the outdoor world.  Visualising content such as maps, directions or even signage, right there, on your smartphone. 






It got us thinking… There are some really large spaces, which house events like concerts or conferences, but, the difference is, they are Indoors. 


With this in mind we have set about increasing the capability of skignz to work indoors.  

So whether people are attending conferences, going to concerts, or even on holiday in large hotels or on a cruise ship, we can provide skignz to them in the same, visually stimulating way.


Our technology allows us to use existing indoor equipment to pinpoint user location, and provide them with seamless quality augmented reality information.  We are working with some of our key retail clients to provide people with that experience.
  
Imagine you are in your favourite store, and you want to find out what the offers of the day are. Open up skignz and scan the indoor area.  

You can see that the best offer is in the homewares section and it’s 30% off any furniture bought today! No more rummaging around looking for a bargain! 

No more bustling through the crowds trying to find the best saving! It’s there, in front of you, and you can go directly to it and buy it.  Now, isn’t that easier?


OK, so you have been to the shops, you are now on a night out.  You’ve decided to go see your favourite band at the local arena.  

But where are the toilets? Where is the bar area?  More importantly, how do you get hold of that piece of memorabilia that you promised yourself..?

All available through the skignz view on your smartphone.  How about even being able to download the live set directly through your phone by pressing on the skignz on view above the stage?


All of these things are currently being worked on with our partner list, which it seems is growing by the day! We will keep you posted about all of our developments, as we continue to grow..


Remember.. We are putting the world's information around you… Outdoors and now, Indoors!

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

Thursday, 14 January 2016

File size of the skignz App

The question we are proposing is 'Is Big beautiful or do the best things coming small packages?’



We ask this question because we have recently compiled some data about the file sizes of App on people's  smartphones and tablets.



Why did we do this?


One of our iPhones needed the software updating on it. We are sure you have come across this where IOS puts little red dot on your 'Settings App'. You go in and it says there is a new version of IOS and please download it now…

As you may have experienced, when you go to download this update it says you don’t have enough memory space! Either you have far too many Photos, videos or songs on your handset or a large number of apps. In some cases it’s not really any of the above.




Why don’t you have any memory left then? surely 8GB, 16GB, 32GB, 64GB memory are just that, space for 'your stuff'? 

However it's increasingly likely with every IOS update that the OS on your phone or tablet eats away at that available memory space, thus restricting what you can have or do with your device.



As we cannot do anything about Photos, Videos and Songs on your phone/tablet, this led us to looking closely at the size of apps we have on there. Focussing on the more common apps that people use around Social Media, search, messaging and more relevant to skignz, other major AR Apps.


The results were startling to say the least! All of the big apps like Facebook, LinkedIn, Google Chrome, twitter etc… were around 75mB to 100mB in size. Then they slowly decreased in size with the likes of Instagram, We Chat, WhatsApp etc… right down to the AR based apps such as Blippar, Layar and Wikitude who were all a more sensible 15mB to 20mB.

File Size (Mb)

App's

We at skignz feel over the coming years there will be a move towards 'less apps' on your phone,  leaving more space for immediate storage or as connections improve more access to the cloud of your information.


With all of the above in mind, we then come to skignz


With its huge potential to benefit just about every person on the planet either professionally or personally, the verticals it can deliver 'visualised data' in a more meaningful and helpful manner, you would expect it to be leaning towards the higher end of the size of Apps, maybe a bit bigger than the other more established 'image recognition based AR apps.





skignz is only 1mB in file size… yes you read that right, your eyes are not deceiving you….


ONE megabyte

This file size this makes skignz one of the smallest 'file size footprints' available, yet has the ability to 'visualise' most if not all of the 'data' of the other apps in a more engaging and interactive way, especially the collection data normally presented on a map interface.




This goes right back to Si Brown's quote in 2013/14 that skignz helps you to stop looking at your phone… and start looking through it…


Next time when you are backing up your Phone or tablet, take a look at how much memory your apps are taking up… surely there is room for the little cute/light and small skignz app. 


It will open you up to a whole new world of information


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

Friday, 21 August 2015

Pepsi Max's version of skignz

Today we received links to the following video from an overwhelming amount of people... 


What do you think? Fun yes, Interesting use of drones yes, visual and engaging yes!


Here are a selection of the comments that were sent to us along with the link:

"they've stolen your idea"
"but you can do all that and more with skignz"
"it's not very inclusive as only a few people can use it at once"
"looks very expensive to implement"
"how is skignz different?"
"we hear a lot about drones for Amazon etc."
"where does this leave skignz?"
"how do you feel about this?"
"drones have been around since the 1940's - so what?"
"looks expensive to deliver"
"who actually controls the drones? drone pilots or through the app?"
"imagine if everyone tried to call the drone at once"
"what happens if it crashes in the crowd - ouch, wouldn't want to be underneath it then!"

The following conversations again seemed to raise more questions than answers, but one core element was people wanted to know where this left skignz and what did we think of it?

Well we think it's AWESOME! Way to go Pepsi Max for risking their reputation to create such an experience, linking mobile devices with drones and then applying it to a crowded festival/concert.

It actually proved that there is the need to find your friends, there is a need to find places like the toilets, the bar, exits etc. something skignz has been advocating for the last few years!

So we at skignz are really happy that Pepsi Max have done this and it looks like the 5 million plus people who have viewed the video on YouTube think it's innovative, interesting and the overall concept is very cool.

Where does this leave skignz? 
Exactly where we were before this was launched, however now more than 5 million people have been exposed to the possibilities of this type of experience being created around you at live events such as festivals and concerts.


How does it compare to skignz?
Without knowing the ins and outs of how Pepsi Max provided this installation at this year's 'New Look Wireless 2015', the very glossy/well edited video to promote it and no doubt all delivered and filmed at the one location. 

Also how many different drones they used? Then compare this to the amount of people who attended 'New Look Wireless 2015'skignz can be used by EVERYONE in attendance and is personalised to them, so they only see what they want? When they want it? Where it's relevant to them!

One other key element we feel they got right, was the interaction with varying locations & mobile devices. The big issue we see, is the amount of people who can access this type 'brand experience' at the same time and is it only relevant at that one location.


We thank everyone who took the time to send us the link, comment on it, compared it with skignz and asked what we thought? 

skignz is not just a one time installation, a brand gimmick, a fad to be used in isolation. 

It's considerate of the environment and does not require anything further to access than the mobile device the majority of people carry with them day in day out. Plus it can be used anywhere on the planet, 24/7, 365 days per year!

skignz was developed to be a technology platform that allows the users who download it, to take it everywhere they go, use it when they want and with whom they want, personalise it, shape it to their needs, from finding your tent at a festival, your friends at a concert or even your car in a supermarket carpark, a first time meeting for work or even a date?


In summary we applaud what Pepsi Max has done and the way they did it, however we feel they have only further highlighted a range of needs of current society, put the spotlight on a few core issues people face in certain circumstances like live events and demonstrate that although '5 Million People' are interested in what they did, their solution was not quite what it should be!

After reading this short summary and watching the video, do you think skignz is the right solution?

If you would like to download skignz then please visit www.skignz.com/downloads or the Apple App Store/GooglePlay.

You can follow us on all the major social media channels, even contribute using the skignz 'capture function' and sharing the pics on your own social media channels. We look forward to see what you are 'skignzing'

Sunday, 1 March 2015

skignz Developer Site

Recently skignz decided to have a think about how we could allow other app developers and integrators to understand and get the chance to work with skignz to get used to our technology. 


Well after thinking what we could do, we decided to create an interface so that other app developers could launch the skignz app through their own app themselves. 

The site has been launched and you will be able to find it here 

The site provides information for those wishing to integrate the skignz geo-located augmented reality viewer app into their own app.

If you are regarding more information on more advanced integration then please see below. 

http://www.skignz.com/developers.htm

For example: skignz to display a 'Done' button which, when pressed, causes skignz to relaunch your app.

By 'more advanced integration' they mean that, if your app is considered suitable (no adult content) they'll give you a user code, which you embed in the URL scheme. Pass that and your own app URL scheme and the skignz app will provide a 'Done' button, which, when pressed, will launch your app again.
It works well.

More integration options are in the pipeline and they're busy 'running catch-up' with the Android version to get it in line with the iPhone version.

However you can find more information and all of this on the developer site. http://www.skignz.com/developers.htm.

If you have any comments, questions or special considerations please contact gary.baker@skignz.com.

If you would like to know more about skignz then please visit our website at http://www.skignz.com and don't forget to check us out on a range of the popular Social Media Channels.