We had the chance to talk with a several VCs and tech experts in London about the future of location and its place in the world. Lots of discussion, agreement and disagreement, but the one thing everyone agreed on was location and indoor use. In other words, a mall, a school building — essentially INSIDE a structure.
Now, instead of a long rant about how unrealistic this probably is – both from a usability point of view and in light of more mainstream adoption of augmented reality apps by businesses and consumers — we give you this article on indoor positioning that sums it up:
…..In the meantime, your wife will simply ask some friendly person for directions, and you’ll be stranded there earnestly button-pushing like an asocial geek.
There was a trade show going on in Barcelona – did you know that? Or did you just think Mobile World Congress was five days and nights of cocktail parties. We actually it is both. During the day, Mobile World Congress this year put in a grown up face and decided to do some work and companies actually figured out they can do some business there. Some of the same ridiculous nonsense went on -all the big names had big announcements and hogged the spotlight, the increasing convergence of celebrity and tech, obsessed mobile geeks spewing industry stats and glares if you aren’t using an iPhone. But if you were someone with a brain and dug past all of the shiny stuff, you would have seen that the real news was tucked away in several places including the country Pavilions, the Augmented Reality Showcase and App Pavilions – where innovation was percolating. The AR show illustrated that there is more than one company out there with good AR ideas, the App Pavilion gave us one place to look at a variety of apps not only for fun but that help the planet and the Pavilions were a great place to see country by country innovation. The best things we saw were these companies:
- Powerkiss – A Finnish start up led by a Maija Itkonen who decided that cables and wires really suck so she decided what better way to charge your mobile device than to build a device in to furniture. We call this lifestyle mobile tech and we love it. Ciara Byne of Venturebeat had the chance to talk to them at MWC and reported their plans here. And Maija has agreed to a TattleTech Hot seat so look for that coming up soon.
- Alcosystems – We have covered them before in the top 5 start ups to watch, but in reality, they are beyond where normal web 2.0 start ups are. This a lifestyle and health mobile device that we think will really affect many people around the world. Monitor your own blood alcohol content -the uses are far reaching. Mobile Health is new business in Mobile technology, read here for more.
- Myfc - More innovation out of Sweden, and this time along the lines of green tech – a portable fuel cell to be used in current and emerging markets like Africa. Mike Butcher, TechCrunch Europe did a great interview with the CEO at MWC about the fuel cells and their uses. This is the space to watch – emerging markets and renewable energy sources for the mobile market.
- TAT – also known at the Astonishing Tribe. The design mobile user interfaces but blend aesthetics and technology together – like mobile face detection and recognition with PolarRose’s FaceLib. Very cool stuff – pushing the envelope to more intuitive UIs including aesthetic augmented reality.
- PuddingMedia – Sure a mobile ad network but completely focused on APAC. We think SUPER smart because this is where the next wave of the whole mobile revolution is coming from. Check them out, they are very nice people and focused on creating and delivering this platform in a very specific way to this market.
- WidespaceMobile – Also an ad network, but much like PuddingMedia, have been intensely targeted on the Scandinavian market and mastering that market. Talk to them, they don’t care that Google bought AdMob, they think its good for them and their numbers show it and their revenue too. They have the good fortune of working with Ericsson IPX which essentially lets them focus on the sale behind the click and maximizing where that ad its make the most revenue.
On the down side, the media coverage still focused on the big names only (shall we say big advertisers?) and in a feeding frienzy around their favorite topics related to the big boys -they were totally oblivious to other innovative companies that were floating around. Not one single media outlet covered the more than 10 country pavilions which was a shame because sometimes the best ideas start small with the exception of the Show daily which covered the Sweden Pavilion. Despite all of that, it was one of the best MWC that I have attended in the past 13 years. Yes, that was lucky 13.
Just when you think it’s all fun and games, leave it to the mobile location smarty pants (Daniel Appelquist @torgo, Christine Perey @ceperey and Mark Kramer (@mamk) to create a Mobile Augmented Reality Showcase that is guaranteed to shed some insight into how this technology will be and can be applied in our daily lives. The companies that have agreed to showcase this much hyped future technology are AcrossAir, metaio, Layar, LibreGeoSocial, Mobilizy and Kooaba. We are super happy that we finally get to see a variety of companies showcased in this AR market. We want to hear more than the hype and “ain’t it cool” - we want to see and hear more perspective on AR, which is why we will be at the Showcase.
The most interesting company out there we think is LibreGeoSocial out of Spain. They are are applying AR to tourism and as someone that travels alot and is curious about just about every corner, street and old building, I find this something to look forward to. We are also keeping an eye out on AcrossAir, very smart group of folks over there and metaio who represents the best hope we have for mainstreaming the technology out of the tech bubble.
We are are hoping to see this market evolve but also to force these companies (and listen up Layer) to give us more insight into how it will be applied to our daily lives and why we fracking need it. See you at the showcase, Feb. 17 from 17:00 to 19:00, North East corner of the Courtyard, the area bordered by Halls 1, 2, 4 and 5.