Martech Interview with Faisal Galaria, CEO at Blippar

Faisal Galaria, CEO at Blippar shares a few thoughts on the importance and benefits of augmented reality:

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Welcome to this 2022 MarTech Series chat, Faisal, we’d love to hear more about you and your journey and of course, your role at Blippar as CEO…

Blippar has been pioneering augmented reality creation since 2011. I was fortunate enough to come into contact with the company in 2012; I experienced the power of AR and Blippar’s technology whilst working on a Coca-Cola launch at Spotify.

When the opportunity to become CEO of Blippar came up, the timing was ideal, as the company had become a known quantity in the industry and was already paving the way for AR development to become widely accessible.

Tell us more about Blippar and how the platform has evolved over time, including some of its latest innovations…

At Blippar, we’re leading the way for the three-dimensional, immersive digital revolution. Our goal is to empower individuals of all backgrounds and experience levels to create and share augmented reality content. We’re pioneering the charge with our AR creation SaaS tools; Blippbuilder and WebAR SDK.

We have also just integrated Blippbuilder within Microsoft Teams, opening up AR creation to 270m users on the Teams platform. We are the only AR creation tool to integrate with a top tier global collaboration platform.

Blippbuilder, our no-code web-based AR creation tool, features an intuitive drag-and-drop interface and supports the production of 3 types of AR content: Gyro (around the user), Marker (trigger an AR experience from an image) and Simultaneous Localization and Mapping or SLAM. SLAM is a crucial feature in the Blippar suite of tools and Blippbuilder is the only platform to offer it as a no-code solution for mobile web browsers.

SLAM allows for a device to localize itself within a space, map it and utilize that information to personalize and adjust the user’s AR experience. This is done simultaneously via the device’s rear camera, with algorithms continuously analyzing visual data to merge physical and digital realities. For the user, visuals won’t appear floating in mid-air or be interrupted by clipping into real-life objects.

Our WebAR SDK is for more experienced developers. The powerful tool allows for the implementation of key AR behaviors in delivered products. It provides next-level engagement, immersion, and innovation that users are seeking.

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How are you seeing leading brands around the world use AR to truly drive differentiated experiences today and what are some of the ways in which you feel AR is set to redefine core marketing/sales practices in the near-future?

The benefits of AR adoption in marketing can’t be understated, but they can be quantified. Brands using AR for their customer engagement are seeing significantly heightened engagement rates and dwell times, with more than 40% increases in conversion rates in comparison to standard, non-AR based marketing.

Traditional advertising campaigns accrue audiences, whereas brands and marketers using AR understand the need and benefit of turning audiences into users, and the metrics speak for themselves.

User engagement driven by augmented reality campaigns is off the charts and continues to majorly impact brands and advertisers.

The core to creating engaging experiences in AR is not only the process of building something memorable but creating something meaningful. At Blippar, we’ve had the pleasure of partnering with popular candy brand Skittles for Pride Month to highlight artists in the LGBTQ+ community.

Working alongside The Mars Agency, we’ve activated Skittles packs with AR technology. Users can scan their Skittles bags to reveal an immersive 3D experience that reveals more about the artists, their work, and their inspiration.

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Take us through some of the ways in which you’ve seen AR being used in other industries, to drive user experiences and even other aspects like learning/development – training, etc.

There are impressive and successful adoptions of AR across the advertising and marketing industries, from well-known CPG brands to the automotive industry. Still, these are far from the only use cases we know are possible for AR.

Blippar’s vision is to enable anyone to create their own original immersive, 3D experiences. These experiences can be shared across any web browser or social media platform and accessed from any smartphone or head-mounted device.

Blippar had the privilege of working with technology company Oneplus to help them become the first company to launch a product using AR. The launch saw the CEO give a keynote presentation to 620,000 concurrent 3D viewers. SLAM enabled the AR technology to track motion, ensuring the CEO was “anchored” to the user’s actual surroundings. The AR experience transformed the traditional convention center launch model into an impressive and unique multimedia event, with speakers live-streamed onto a futuristic AR stage and able to virtually interact with the new smartphone.

How do you feel the use of AR will evolve as the concept becomes more popular through industries and across different teams/functions?

I think we will see two major growth areas of AR over the next several years: development and adoption.

The evolution of the AR development process, in a word, is collaborative. Too much AR development is held in a silo and bogged down by individual reviews and version control – partly due to the growing number of walled gardens in the AR space. However, to allow brands to produce AR experiences at scale in today’s all-remote and hybrid work environments, we have integrated our no-code creation tool into Microsoft Teams. Any organization currently working remotely with teams and stakeholders across different cities, countries, and continents will benefit from this solution. The integration allows for collaborative AR creation throughout every stage of the development process.

The evolution of AR adoption is one where I see nearly limitless possibilities. The e-commerce industry is ripe for AR disruption, especially in the age of COVID. Imagine buying a ring from Tiffany’s or a jacket from Banana Republic – if a prospective customer has the option to try these items on digitally and assess their purchase in a blended reality environment, they’re more likely to purchase the items – while also associating the brand with a memorable retail experience.

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Blippar is a technology company specialising in Augmented Reality and Computer Vision (AI). Blippar’s vision is to enhance everyday life with Augmented Reality and give users more from the world they see – more entertainment, more information, more value.

Faisal Galaria is the CEO at Blippar

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