At Augmenteum, we are creating shared multi-user AR experiences that capture intense user interest. These experiences drive long dwell times, frequent revisits and prolific sharing – characteristics that deliver exceptional value, particularly in entertainment, sales, marketing and education applications. Today we’re announcing CrowdAR, in which many users simultaneously share and interact with animated 3D digital content to create immersive AR experiences. To enable Crowd AR, we are building the Augmenteum Cloud platform.
Most of today’s AR experiences are task-focused, single user or small group experiences that create little engagement and usage outside the task. As a result, current AR experiences create little long-term awareness and retention. Augmenteum’s Crowd AR changes that.
Crowd AR engages users in an immersive social experience that benefits from the network effect of engaged users. In a Crowd AR experience, many users share a common experience simultaneously. They are immersed in the experience, viewing the digital content from their own perspective – a user on one side of the room may see the front, while a user on the other side sees the rear. They interact with the content – rotating a object or swinging a sword – and also with each other, sharing the experience on social media and inviting friends to join. Imagine an AR experience with rich 3D animated content that you enjoy with many users simultaneously, invite friends to join, share with others, and interact with the content as a game, demonstration or interactive exhibit. That’s Crowd AR.
Augmenteum’s initial shared multi-user AR experiences were introduced in January 2017 at the Los Angeles Night on Broadway, an outdoor arts and music festival. Five multi-user interactive games, from a branded bottle toss to dancing dragons, were created in augmented reality and dispersed throughout the festival. Over the course of the four-hour event, 1500 users engaged with the experiences. Many users spent upwards of five minutes at an experience and completed all five. We saw significantly more engagement and far longer usage times than typical for most current AR experiences, as well as higher throughput at lower cost than VR experiences.
Since the initial Night on Broadway experience, Augmenteum has leveraged improvements in mobile technology from Apple and Google as well as cloud-based AI services, to create the Augmenteum Cloud platform. With its new platform, Augmenteum delivers important new AR features, many of which implement concepts in the widely discussed AR Cloud
- Synchronized, shared multi-user experiences which create a more immersive user experience that results in greater engagement and longer usage times. With Augmenteum, multiple users don’t see content independently, they see the same digital content simultaneously, creating a shared social experience that engages the users with the content, and with each other. It’s not many people in one place, each independently engaging in their own version of the AR experience; it’s a group immersed together in a common AR experience.
- Spatial and location awareness,which gives users the appropriate spatially correct perspective on content. For example, holograms now appear at a specific location properly oriented to views in front and behind, above and below, as well as to the side. This level of spatial and location awareness engages users with the content in a manner that approaches full immersion such as VR. This enables a new category of usage where multi-user 3D visualization is critical at a significantly lower cost, such as medical education classes or computer aided design teams.
- Remote user participation enables spatially aware sharing of content and interaction with remote users. Collaborative applications, such as sales demos and classroom teaching tools, can include not only local users, but remote participants as well, vastly reducing the barriers to effective interactions and increasing the leverage on participants’ time and, ultimately, the value of the application.
- Spatial Persistence enables AR experiences to be valuable in applications where live, interactive experiences are tied to specific locations. Marketers can use spatial persistence to enable branded content to be saved in public places or at home, creating additional opportunities for ongoing user engagement and sharing.
- Data Persistence enables AR experiences to be valuable in applications where live, interactive experiences are not one-time events. Classroom and collaborative applications, such as design reviews, can be continued over several sessions.
- Usage analytics that enable developers and sponsors of AR experiences to understand how their users engage with the experience and evaluate the ROI on their investment.
Using popular content creation engines such as Unity to create with 3D animated content, Augmenteum leverages the Augmenteum Cloud platform to deliver a range of immersive, shared multi-user AR experiences, from live productions to take-home experiences. These Crowd AR experiences create memorable high-impact experiences that gain users and usage through sharing and reuse. In addition, the Augmenteum Cloud captures usage analytics data to evaluate the impact and ROI.
As we move forward, Augmenteum will release application-specific templates of experiences that incorporate specific functionality. By incorporating off-the-shelf or custom content into these templates, rich Augmented Reality experiences can be created and deployed rapidly. We are excited by the potential of Crowd AR to enable new classes of valuable, widely used applications.