When Keith Maddison gave us the moniker of “grandfathers in the AR industry” while recently presenting at the World Congress of Play, it was not to imply that we are slow, decrepit, or senile. Rather, it was to say that in an industry in its relative infancy, Ad-Dispatch and BoostAR have been here for a while. As a result, we have seen trends come and go, we understand the technology and we think we are able to see where the industry is going.
It was for this reason that Keith was asked to present to innovative minds from the toy and gaming industries at WCOP; to show that augmented reality has a bright future in the world of play.
The toy industry is in a state of flux. Two camps have formed; the digital and the physical. Certain companies have dabbled in both with variable success while others have decided to stick to their strengths and focus on one or the other. Everyone is trying to create the next Skylanders. But, there seems to a dividing line that companies are hesitant to cross over, to break out of their categories because they aren’t sure how to meld the digital and the physical in a seamless manner that ultimately adds value to their product. That’s where Augmented Reality comes in.
The boom of mobile gaming has largely been seen as a threat to the toy industry, but we see it as an opportunity. Enhancing a physical toy with augmented reality with an intuitive user interface just makes sense in this ever-changing world. AR can create rich stories, deliver interactive content, breathe life into the inanimate and breed wonder in a child’s mind. Tablets, smartphones, and wearables all provide a window of opportunity to enhance these physical toys with digital content. Studies have shown that 19 % of children aged 2-5 are able to operate a smartphone application. Is that an impressive number? Well, compare that to the number of kids of that age that can tie their own shoelaces, which is just 9%, and you see how the development of tech skills are quickly outpacing more traditional life skills in today’s youth. That’s the world we are living in today.
Presenting at The World Congress of Play brought many great minds under the same roof and gave us the opportunity to position ourselves as thought-leaders in the augmented reality industry. It was exciting to make some fantastic connections, raise awareness of what we do and blow a few minds in the process.