We had a quick sit-down with the CEO of Display Sense, Brian Kelly and the CEO of Blinxel Tuck Siver.
Blinxel has developed Blink which is their augmented reality platform for mobile phones. While a growing medium, with huge potential as a duel experiential and marketing medium, there’s still plenty of room for growth and uptake. How this applies to sports is the low barriers for clubs and rights holders to make AR content that engages fans and is a digital asset for sponsors.
Describe how your company impacts the sporting ecosystem?
Tuck Siver: “We’ve reduced the cost of making augmented reality, photo-real holographic content by about 95 per cent. What used to cost hundreds of thousands of dollars can now be done in a less than a day for less than a thousand dollars. We can do all of the stuff you see in today’s augmented reality field at a fraction of the cost.”
Brian Kelly: “As a business model it allows clubs to enhance member engagement. Blink allows clubs to create AR with players talking about the club, delivering after-match reports and so on. It’s a new form of member engagement, where punters get to really get up close and personal with their favourite players In terms of brand augmentation for the club, one example is where a club has a sponsor, the player can appear or step out of the brand’s product and talk to the person watching, and we can update that every week at minimal cost, so we’re adding brand value.
“If there’s other sponsorship or other activities going on at the club we can add value to that which further enhances the sponsorship. Every sponsor is always looking to get value for money and we can help them improve that value they get from a club.”
There’s plenty of experiential opportunities, in fact your product appears to have plenty of opportunities across different verticals, how do you maintain focus on a couple of core verticals?
BK: “That has been a very long conversation with our group! It comes down to the personnel we have, their fields of expertise and then we focus on what they can achieve, and they pick the markets, the subsections of those markets that is going to be the lowest hanging fruit for them and then we organically branch out from there.”
Describe the benefits of AR as a growing visual medium.
BK: “AR completely changes the conversation when it comes to how an audience member experiences a given piece of media.
“Until recently, almost all media was 2-D. The way the audience consumed the media was dictated by the content creator. The perspective, the camera angles, even the venue was defined by the creator. AR turns all that on its head.
“The viewer decides how they’re going to view the media, even deciding if they want to view the content from above, below, left or right. They can lean in and get close to it, or sit across the room and take it all in. They control the ‘camera.’
“This is quite similar to virtual reality. However, in VR the content creator is required to make an entire world. The creator is responsible for every aspect of the experience.
“There are also massive benefits for the content consumer. AR has been demonstrated to make the learning of physical and technical tasks much easier, as instructions are able to be overlaid directly over the equipment being studied and the student is able to immediately understand the context of any instruction.
“This crosses all kinds of industries and holds true for entertainment as much as training. The visceral nature of your favourite athlete standing in your kitchen telling you how their last match went cannot be overstated.”
What are the potential headwinds with higher take up of AR that you see and how do you counteract it?
TS: “For about eight or nine years now, AR has really been a novelty. As a medium it’s entertained millions, but the main overhead for any aspiring AR content creator has been the time and effort taken to make 3-D content. Recently some platforms have sidestepped that problem by allowing their user-base to make simple filters or AR experiences, and some of them have been very compelling, but no one can claim those experiments are ‘realistic.’
“As the cliché goes, ‘content is king,’ and people spend most of their content consumption time looking at other people. Until now it’s been impossible for your average person to make a deeply compelling piece of realistic AR content that contained a person.
“We’ve gotten Blink to the point that regardless of your budget, you can now make photorealistic human content for mobile AR.
“We’re hoping that the next major step in AR as a growing medium is the true democratisation of content creation. Easy to build web pages led to the explosive growth of the internet. The same will happen here.”