Sometimes it seems like AR has been on like a low simmer for a few years now not quite breaking through with consumers.
Some will say it’s because it gets too often conflated and confused with the more cumbersome VR.
Others will say it hasn’t had a killer app hit since Pokemon Go.
Others will say It’s not going to take off till Apple enters the market, whatever you believe those are others.
It’s clear that new technologies need to get traction before they run out of runway in the public’s mind and patience.
So now what Salt Garlic is gonna have some ideas about this.
He is CEO and co founder of a service called fabric.
It’s an AR platform specifically it is the complete social and immersive AR platform great copy line for VCs all but let’s break that down for consumers.
What is fabric in plain language?
Fabric is a social AI platform that provides brands, a new medium of communication.
It brings people, places and experiences to their customers in augmented reality.
So what does that actually mean?
It means that users and brands can post their thoughts or their ideas.
In AR thought bubble right in a walking billboard, that people will be able to see within a certain radius.
So if I’m standing in the middle of downtown LA and a company that’s two miles away posts in AR Then I can hold up my phone and I can see that post, but different from typical AR.
I can see that near to me with an indicator of how far away that post is coming from.
So we call that body relative content visualization so I can see the post as if it’s close by Even though it’s actually miles away, and then it moves, depending on if they move.
Or if I’m, they come into my face so I can see them.
I assume that’s based on interest, right?
Yes, well, sorta.
So we really encourage public messaging but we have capabilities to keep it within brands and within communities.
So you can opt into being part of a specific community and see fabric only through that lens.
Or you might be experiencing fabric inside of another company’s app and not even really recognize that you’re part of the fabric.
So we’re more of an underlying technology and platform that enables this experience for every brand.
Okay, that was my next question.
I wanted to clarify that, are you something that I know about.
I mean right now I would get the fabric AR app or example, but do you also intend to wide label this to be part of other companies’ platforms and apps.
Definitely that’s actually our primary business model.
So we’ve developed a patent pending technology that uses AR that blends both surface recognition the way you might on Instagram or Snapchat with GPS location based AR, which is really challenging because you’re talking about three dimensional GPS.
So we blended that brought it into Unity base.
And now what you’re able to do is bring community together wherever they are, because all based on location.
So now an organization like weight watchers will be able to replace their meetings, their weekly support meetings with an AR experience that people in the moment can share thoughts only with other weight watchers users on their app in AR.
So it’s a community builder.
Really, and It’s meant for each community that exist on the web, w. We’re not bringing everybody to fabric, we’re going to where they’re already are.
Okay that’s key in my mind.
Cuz I think too many companies are trying to say come to us,
And we’re the.
Place where things are going to happen where I’ve always believed that AR and I think VR should be more like beacon technology which is also yet to get traction where it should be just suffused into the fabric so to speak, of other things where people are already going.
Absolutely, I mean, everybody, today’s social networking market is all about niche communities.
This is a time to be nurturing those niche communities which are getting very big and very strong.
Not to try to bring everybody from their niche communities to one place.
That’s not meeting them where they are and they’re too smart these days.
They like to be where they like to be, and they know where that is.
We should meet them there.
So you know, when COVID ends and everything it’s also meant to nurture in person connection and say, well, we’re both close by.>>Yeah
Connecting park So yeah, that location piece provides context.
And then one thing that’s very different about fabric from the other social tools out there, is we emphasise the femoral posts.
So in this case, if I asked if I’m a weight watchers user and I asked, I need some motivation not to eat this chocolate right now.
You’re just putting it out there for eight hours or less.
And that’s in the moment support that encourages community, but you’re not permanently recording yourself as somebody who can’t stop eating chocolate.
And I think that’s a really important difference is, this is about in the moment connection that sparks conversation, and helps everybody get better.
Okay, it’s an interesting hybrid, I gotta say it took me a little while to wrap my head around that you’ve got some Facebook, and some Foursquare in here.
There’s some chat more like.
Twitter, and Foursquare because we’re.
. Public posting within communities are within the general public, and the Foursquare is right because its location.
Related but our locations obviously.
Many people think of AR as having enormous power already built into it to recognize things as I aim at them like carmakers use it so I can go into the hood and the hood comes alive telling me what it is and what I should do with things under there.
Being user generated.
Is there enough power here?
Do you think will?
Will the content creators know how to make this rich enough because sometimes they are seems to need a big lift from its publisher to infuse it with usefulness.>> Yeah, so we see a couple of a couple answers that first of all, we say are sort of.
Divided between utility, the traditional AR utility and sort of gimmicky media, right?
So when it’s utility, it’s putting the furniture in your room.
It’s looking under the hood.
Yeah.>> You know, manufacturing utility.
There’s a whole range of ways.>> There’s a good example there.
Then there’s the augmented media of, champagne bottle sort of popping the top of the Eiffel Tower that is gimmicky media or by yours on Instagram.
Drives me nuts.
None of that is interesting to us.
What are super interesting to us what’s super interesting to us Is a simple plane where people can share their thoughts in context.
So it’s I am here, I want to talk to others who are here in this space in this place, and that actually really matters.
So if I’m at a football game when that comes back, well, what I’m talking about is gonna be the football game and others nearby can chat with me about the football game.
Whereas if I’m on, and if I’m on Twitter, I don’t have any context around you now I’m just following other feeds of every political argument or whatever.
It’s much more about place.
Thing is user generated content people, we’ve run a million pilots.
We’ve had a lot of users test it.
And what we’ve learned is people have no problem coming up with fun content from their lives that they wanna share in the moment or ask about in the moment, because if you have some problem question, how do I fix my fence?
How do I fix this thing?
How do, where’s fun this afternoon?
You just post that fabric and you get local responses that are fun and meaningful.
You must believe that there’s something about seeing things in an AR 3d geospatial presentation, as opposed to on a flatter presentation, like a feed, or even a map.
That is somehow magic.
Definitely, I mean, if you think about it, you’re opening an app in camera view.
So where you are and it’s not selfie, right?
Snapchat opens into selfie mode.
Yeah, looking at, is what you know.
We open into the world.
And now you’re seeing where you are, you’re sharing with the world where you are and you’re seeing what other people are talking about.
Now, that’s the kind of, that’s almost like the ability to read people’s minds.
Right, that’s the super human trait everybody wants.
So if you go out and you are, you know, or just at home, homeschooling your kids, and you want to see what other people are going through or you want to connect with your community, you’re able to do that instantly and do it in your context.
It feels a lot richer and it is it’s a big enough difference that it creates an entirely new experience.
We’ll talk about this a little bit already.
What do you think is giving AR a not a bad name, but gives it sometimes a name in the consumers eye that Yeah, I see how it works.
I don’t need that.
I think most people so far feel that.
Yeah, well my view on this is.
That at the end of the day AR is when you can’t touch it.
digital objects aren’t that useful.
There’s no utility to that.
There are utilitarian uses for AR which are mostly enterprise side like discus, yeah.
Which makes a lot of sense.
But we also have to remember.
Millions tens of millions of people are using AR every day in existing apps.
And that’s before they start to leverage the social potential with user generated content.
So once you go to the social AR platform we’re offering, that’s actually a game changer for the utility of AR because now you’re using AR to connect with people.
And I think when people are being connected in this medium, that’s when the real power takes off.
That’s when you’re sharing an experience that’s supported by this digital media, which is not the way that people think about actually we often run into.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve talked to traditional technologists Who suddenly have all these ideas that have nothing to do with what we’re building?
Because they want to do like treasure hunts and things?
And I’m saying no, no, no.
It’s about bringing people together not people to fake digital objects.
That’s a huge difference here.
COVID-19 friend or foe for you?
I could see it going either way.
We’re in one sentence like, here’s another way for us to connect without having to go in the world.
But on the other hand, as I look at your app, It looks like it really draws me out into the world.
Right, well, it started as well, because we had a big b2c plan was really going to be politically you know, event based, lots of campus based activities and recruitment for people to start connecting with each other locally.
But I would say net net friend, because what we’ve basically been able to do is create a safe way for people to connect nearby to create that context and experience.
With eventually the option of leading to in person conversation, so it has drugged it has driven us to be more creative.
It’s brought us to brands in a way that we hadn’t originally intended.
And I think it’s going to And I’m, I believe that fabric is going to be the underlying social AR platform for hundreds of apps, thousands of apps in the near future.
Now you talk about brands as much as you talk about consumers in our chat so far.
Is that your focus because you’re white label, and it’s up to the brands who use you to go out and create genuine consumer mania for this, or do you have to create That initial consumer mania for this.
So all the research that we have is people are interested in AR.
When a company sends out an email announcing an AR feature, they have an 81% open rate compared to a 21% open rate.
People click through much more.
There’s a lot of interest here.
These communities exist.
It could be thought of as a feature, but once they’re in there and connecting, it’s very sticky.
So I don’t think we’re gonna have to create a lot of that buzz.
We also have other instances that blend of the social AR with some of the digital object style things where you could watch a sports game on your TV and.
Have the stadium and the backdrop and the conversation in foreground.
And you can create a really immersive experience all because it’s built in unity and we have the AR technology to do it.
So I actually think it’s an easy sell once it’s in the tool, and we have apps that are really putting it on equal playing with their own base technology because they see that power to
Last they want to ask you is about the Name of AR and everyone has to somehow communicate to people what AR is a lot of people still don’t know they know the word they don’t know what it means.
right because they are need a rebranding what what else can we call it?
Yeah, I don’t have an answer for that.
I think AR is a frustratingly complex term for the for the sector.
You know, it really, ar really is about digital objects, right?
And so when you think about it, people, people understand what a digital object is.
And maybe there needs to be some sort of rebranding.
In that direction.
Of course we take a social angle on that, but really I do think it’s a brand problem.- It is a tough one because we’ve only gotten further away in the last 60 seconds from a good name.
[LAUGH] I’ve talked to a lot of people about this like what do we call it?
It needs a rebranding is do we call it the 3d Nope, don’t call anything 3d because then it gets the 3d TV stink on it.
And it doesn’t help that there’s virtual reality and augmented reality
Yeah>>because nobody knows either.
Yeah, then the two of them are competing for consumer attention.
There’s they’re significantly different.
They’re really just distant cousins.
And yet people think that’s the same kind of thing.
I don’t like that one.
So I’m not gonna like the other one.
We’ve been talking to Saul garlic.
He is co founder and CEO of fabric and AR platform [SOUND]
Sometimes it seems like AR has been on like a low simmer for a few years now not quite breaking through with consumers.