Amay Makhija; Harald Tam
High Concept Statement:
Drshy is an augmented reality platform that creates a complete virtual world. It provides objects (humans/animals/imaginary/inanimate) in physical locations in the real world, for users to interact with in various ways. For example, you could have an imaginary man standing on Union Square that wants to take you on a quest, or it could be an animal that gives you a walking tour of downtown Manhattan. Drshy aims to reconcile Google Maps and 3D animations to create the “Westworld of AR”. To keep the world evolving, the objects can be created by anyone and uploaded onto a physical location of their choice (i.e. creating a talking car and placing it in the middle of central park for other users to interact with). Thus, the possibility for scenarios is limitless and user engagement is continuous.
Need or Demand:
Augmented Reality currently is limited to single use situations such as Volvo’s “Reality” app that allows users to see the inside of a car. These apps are abundant, they generate user engagement for a short while and then fall off the map completely. What sets Drshy apart is that it is not limited to any use case, brands can create objects to promote products and engage customers, and users can use it for mixed reality entertainment. With 1.25 billion people using smartphones and a user base that is getting comfortable with AR as seen through the successes of apps such as Pokemon Go and Snapchat AR filters, the AR market is booming. The AR market is estimated to reach 80 Billion USD by 2022, and Drshy can be the platform on which AR exists and is built upon.
Product / Service / Solution:
The goal for Drshy is that it to be the platform on which the AR world is built. Users will be able to design, teach (instruct responses) and then place these characters in the real world. Other users will then be able to interact with those objects. Of course, more complicated experiences will be provided by the Drshy team. On the technical perspective, there are two fundamental aspects to Drshy, 3D animations and geotagging. 3D animations can easily be created, apps like Lyan 3D even allow you to design them on the phone. Geotagging is ubiquitous, ranging from basic in Google maps, to advanced hyperlocal tagging with brands like Equinox. Combining these two aspects together to provide a new, unique experience is where the future is and where Drshy can succeed.
By providing a door to a second mixed reality world, you are creating the gateway to a new form of communication, interaction, and gameplay. The growth of VR and AR in the last year begs the question as to what the differentiation factors are and why has it not been done. There are 3 specific aspects where Drshy is different. Firstly, it is expansive in scale, the purpose of a world is that it is constantly evolving and growing. Currently, AR and VR are limited to specific scenarios and instances, nobody has created a platform to build everything upon. Secondly, it uses currently available technology. Projects like Google’s Tango are waiting for updated hardware to be able to use AR in perfect indoor situations. However, by using geomarkers in the external, outside world, you can overcome those technical difficulties and still provide an exciting product. Thirdly, the market is ripe for an all-in-one solution, ranging from entertainment to business. Big players such as Apple and Google are investing in AR because the applications are more interesting than VR and usage is higher. Drshy has very clear advantages, fits in a market that is booming but not yet mature, and is technically feasible at low cost.
The main direct competitor is Aurasma, which provides AR experiences based on images. However, the value propositions are completely different. Drshy aims to be a world of 3D animations in geotagged areas, whereas Aurasma ameliorates existing 2D images. Similarly, apps such as Layar and Wikitude add digital interactions to physical products. There are a lot of large companies that are investing heavily in the AR space, however their focus is more on creating games or products for very specific situations. Nobody has invested in the open world idea yet and Drshy can be that base digital infrastructure for future AR.
By creating a secondary world, Drshy is also opening a second world to marketers. Yes, ad revenue requires network effects to succeed, however even an average app like Aurasma that is not even in the top 500 apps on the app store, has been able to amass over 100,000 paying advertisers. The key reason is that AR interactions provide higher user engagement and increase brand interactions.
There are two types of advertisements that I envision, stagnant and interactive. A stagnant advertisement is very similar to what we have in the real world, billboards, wallpapers, anything that can be attached to preexisting infrastructure. An example could be a poster for a new smartphone on the side of a building.
The second form of advertisement is interactive objects related to specific categories. For example, for the release of a zombie movie, you could have zombies take over and have zombies run everywhere. Or you could have the actors from a new movie walk you through how a specific scene is shot. Imagine Robert Downey Jr explaining how Avengers was shot in Times Square. This seems farfetched but it is feasible and it can lead to a consistent revenue stream.