VirtualMob’s Point-At-Me Aims To Let Brands Easily Build Augmented Reality Campaigns

Posted: May 13, 2013 in Europe, GT, Mobile, Startup

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The idea of using Augmented Reality to bring dead-
tree media to life is arguably very 2010, and back
then it often hugged the line of gimmickry. But with
the hype being generated by Google Glass, AR
technology seems destined to be brought back into
focus. Meanwhile, companies like Layer and Metaio have built platforms to help brands create
experiences that bring real-world objects to life, not
least print campaigns, by overlaying digital content
via the view finder of a smartphone. Today UK startup VirtualMob is officially launching its
own Augmented Reality self-service — Point-at-Me
(PAM) — which mixes drag ‘n’ drop content creation,
e-commerce, and analytics in a bid to make it even
easier for companies to get in on the AR action. Running in private Beta over the last month, PAM
aims to lower the barriers for brands who want to build
Augmented Reality-enabled mobile apps and
campaigns. It combines a CMS platform to let them
create AR experiences without the need to code,
which can then be accessed by consumers through the accompanying PAM smartphone app or by being
integrated into the brand’s own app. In that sense,
one way to think of VirtualMob’s proposition might be
a WordPress for AR — and certainly this is about
democratising access to the technology for content
creators through ease-of-use and reduced cost. The PAM platform itself — which while in Beta has
already been used by over 100 customers including
The Trump Ocean Club Panama, Cartier, Victoria’s
Secret, Time Inc., The Waldorf Astoria, Cartier,
Hyundai, and Unilever — is designed to be self-
service, requiring little to no technical knowledge by employing a drag ‘n’ drop UI. It’s particularly suited to
bringing a print campaign (or other real-world static
content) to life by augmenting it with digital content,
such as images, video, links and, crucially, e-
commerce functionality. So, for example, you might see an advert for a watch
in a dead-tree magazine prompting you to fire up the
PAM app (or the brand’s own app with PAM
integrated) and point your phone at the image. From
here you’d see see additional information like where
to buy, features, cost etc., along with any relevant call to actions. But what makes this especially useful for brands
employing the technology is that all of these
interactions are measurable, and indeed PAM comes
with analytics. This includes things like click through
rate, location/time, and source media, thus bringing a
degree of accountability to print campaigns that isn’t normally possible, helping brands prioritise their
marketing budgets. “Brands love the analytics part, as they spend
millions on printed media, but have difficulties turning
that into something they can measure or convert into
hits via print,” says VirtualMob co-founder Chaya
Jadhav. Founded in 2011, the company is self-funded to the
tune of $500,000 and is in the process of raising an
external round of funding. To that end, I’m also told
that the PAM platform will be compatible with Google
Glass. Well, there’s a surprise.

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