Could you tell us a little bit about your team? How long have you been working on the ARcityBudapest project and where did the idea come from?
We started as a small team of two, who dare to dream big and ready to work extensively. Udeme is a digital strategist, a developer, a self-taught augmented reality(AR) guru. Behind the word ‘self-taught’ I mean that he had to discover and learn everything himself in practice because there is no yet such educational platform as AR programming. I am a marketing and PR manager and I am fond of design and art. We met while working on one project release during the summer of 2015 and later that year, while Udeme got more AR related engagements, I became very enthusiastic about the concept of the usage of AR as a marketing and educational tool. Both of us love to stroll around our city or discover other places and time-by-time we realized we did not know enough of the built environment. Obviously, it is not possible to know each and every cornerstone but we really wanted to. Then we realized how easy that could have been with a tool in our hands, that recognizes the surroundings and gives us interesting, unusual details about it.
Marketing - vise AR is also a great example of a new channel that may help smaller brands, stores or customers with smaller budget to be in the limelight and be represented in a very cool and fresh way. In the passed three years we made great partnerships (e.g.: Audi, Budapest Design Week, MOME) and had amazing cooperations (e.g.: AR cake for the Hungarian HQ of Twitter, first AR exhibition in Hungary- Artificial Hearts by Dani Labrosse, MOME Product Design departments chair exhibition) and our team grew from 2 to 5 people. Our colleagues are our friends from different fields (design management, animation, finance) who share the same vision and strongly believe in our mission. We are blessed.
Why is it important for you and what is your main goal with the project? Where do you want to see it 5 years later?
As I said, we dare to dream big and we work hard for success. Currently we are engaged in a platform, which works with smaller customers, like ArtConscious or Budapest Design Week. We would like to make people realize how their smartphones can serve them and teach them about those amazing places that surround us or how a brand or a cup of coffee can come closer to us and teach us about fair trade and consciousness. AR is as simple as your phone’s camera: you open the application, get in position and make a picture! But, instead of a usual image, you get plenty of information of the history of a street, or a facade, the creators of a clothing brand or about a small, family owned coffee plantation in South America.
In 5 years, we would like our product to be available not only in Hungary, but in Central European region. We have a bucket full of ideas for the next 5-10 years and we hope we can make them come true!
Augmented reality offers unlimited creative solutions for both individuals and companies. What is your favourite thing about it?
That it is creative and useful! When we see a campaign for big brands with AR, the first thing we try to check are the data and caused effect, of course, if it is available. Companies and creative agencies by now only see the WOW effect and fun-run behind an AR campaign. They do not pay attention to the statistics of how really useful it was.
In our small project we do not collect data, but we see how many people scan the same spot and what people like more. I am not obsessed with data analysis but it is truly amazing to see these real numbers.
An interesting fact how technology can bring people closer, what I guess is a big contradiction to what we perceive. We see technology as it is separating people but I believe that with smart usage it can build channels between strangers (and I am not talking about Tinder)!
The biggest archievement we had was the way to receive information about what people like, it was very hard. Imagine, you enter a designer store and you like their products but this is the first time you see that place. There is a shop assistant, maybe even the owner itself, but you are not in the mood to talk or you are just shy - as most of us - to step in and ask about the inspiration or if that bag you like was ethically made. How great that would be, that even before you would get inside, you had a tool in your hands that would tell you everything in a small video or a written statement with pictures about the designer, the products, etc. After you enter and you are not afraid to start a conversation, you do not feel foolish, because you already know what you need to know as for a start. An app can make the ice break. We have seen that many times.
Visual storytelling is one of the most important marketing tools nowadays. How can ARcityBudapest help people or companies to tell a story?
AR is a magic tool and we are not afraid to use it! During the passed years we have collected enough data to know what are the content types that work better for the individual users. In our case, storytelling can be visual or non-visual but altogether the story is what sells the product and each story can be told in a more exciting way. In our meetings we help our partners/ customers get a deeper understanding of that and we do our recommendations taking into account the product/ service and the company itself.
ARcityBudapest has its very own visual style with a friendly robot guiding the users between the real world and a virtual world. What is the story of the robot?
That is true, his name is Robotka and he works as a guide in our guided tours. He represents technology and he is also a very friendly creature – he personifies our company. Also our 2 year old son loves Robotka very much and we consider him a smart individual with serious arguments and appreciate his opinion.