BELOIT—The augmented reality software that RealityBLU is creating allows you to scan an image and see everything from dancing animals to Beloit International Film Festival (BIFF) Executive Director Greg Gerard and just about everything in between.
The firm’s cutting-edge technology has helped it advance to the semi-final round of the 17th Annual Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest, according to information from the Wisconsin Technology Council.
Co-founders CEO Stefan Agustsson and Chief Experience Officer M.J. Anderson of Roscoe started the business in a pod at Beloit’s Irontek, 635 Third St., in April 2017. Anderson explained how RealityBLU offers a platform for marketing and for creative people to create, manage, deploy and measure augmented reality content.
For example, people could experience augmented reality by waving their phone over an real estate company’s ad to get a 3D tour inside a home for sale. An image scanned on a package might allow someone to see some dancing elephants and/or audio alerting them of an upcoming sale. Billboards, brochures, posters and more can be scanned for a virtual content experience.
At BIFF this year, movie goers were able to scan the logo on the poster to hear the films to be featured on that day at the festival from a 3D image of Gerard.
“Our platform gives marketers and designers the ability to create virtual content,” Anderson said.
The technology could create a 3D and interactive card for someone who received flowers for their birthday. Shoppers could use it to get various offers and information when waving their phones over certain products in a store. Customers shopping online for furniture, for example, could wave their phone across their living room and see how the couch matches their decor. Anderson and his business partner create images to be scanned on their business cards which allow customers to see their offerings and to call them. While QRL codes were used in the past, the new technology allows users to scan objects, images and more.
Newspaper and magazine page designers can use the technology to bring stories and ads to life.
“We have a couple of publishing companies for magazines that are using it to create an alternate version of ads in their magazine. They sell traditional ad space, and also ads to advertisers with augmented reality,” Anderson said.
Augmented reality, Anderson said, is an efficient way to deliver a media rich content experience without having to make the extra clicks to open up a web browser.
“We are rapidly approaching a time when everything we bump into on a day to day basis, will be virtual content associated with it. Our company gives ways to populate that visual space,” Anderson said.
For the last 10 to 12 years Anderson said companies such as Google and Facebook and other large technology companies have created the infrastructure for a virtual world. All that remains is the content to fill it. The beginnings of the new technology became more apparent in games such as Pokemon Go.
Anderson estimates augmented reality will become a driving force in advertising in the next three to four years and will fill the cloud.
“It’s the internet, version 2.0,” Anderson said.
In 2013, Anderson said people made the move from their computers to their smartphones, or small screens. Today marketers spend billions trying to get consumers’ attention through digital advertising.
“The average American spends in excess of four hours a day engaged with their small screen,” Anderson said.
RealityBLU currently sells a subscription to its production tools. It has 35 customers and counting.
“We are in the process of trying to grow the business and looking for investment dollars to add more staff and locate them here in Beloit. We think Beloit is a good opportunity because it’s surrounded by other technology centered companies. It seems to be a collecting point for talent and the community is very business friendly,” Anderson said.
Anderson and Agustsson both have technology and marketing backgrounds. Anderson was a partner in a digital marketing firm, and Agustsson owned and was a partner in a healthcare customer resource management solution company.
Fifty-two entries from 22 communities have advanced to the semi-final round of the 17th annual Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest.
The contestants were selected from a field of more than 200 qualified first-round entries by an independent panel of 95 judges organized through the Wisconsin Technology Council and its programs, the Tech Council Innovation Network and the Tech Council Investor Networks.