The Secret Life of Things and a new Generation Z – postcards from CES, Las Vegas
What better time to go to Las Vegas than the week after Christmas for a proper detox?! And so the annual consumer electronics jamboree rolled into town with a slightly different flavour as Microsoft took a break and Qualcomm took over with the Keynote. And if you missed that spectacle look no further than The Verge to get the low down on the hi-jinx and hilarity that occurred. It certainly provided the ice breaker for every press meet-and-greet at the show so thanks Qualcomm!
I was kindly invited to the show by Tim Bajarin – the highly respected analyst, reporter and CES veteran – to speak at his Super Session on ‘Disruptive technologies in video and gaming’. I was fortunate enough to have met with Tim a couple of times at the back end of 2012 to talk about Zappar and the potential role of augmented reality in our digital lives. Tim was intrigued enough from what he saw to take a stance publicly that AR was now at a point to hit the main stream and wrote it up as one of his 10 technologies to watch in 2013 in his end of year round up .
You can watch the Super Session above – hint: we’re on around the 19 minute mark – (or on the CES site if you prefer) but in brief what I wanted to get over to the crowd there is that AR has the ability to tell stories that connect physical objects with digital devices. I entitled my talk ‘The Secret Life of Things’. Remember that great scene in Pulp Fiction when Christopher Walken tells the story of the journey of the gold watch before he passes it on to the kid? Well in a funny way that’s what we’re trying to do at Zappar.
Everything has the potential to communicate. It’s the gateway to the secret life of things revealing the stories and content hidden within. These stories can be broadcast and branded or individual and personal as with our Moonpig cards. This approach creates new product and revenue opportunities for content owners and licensors with compelling stories to be told. We’re lucky enough to be working with some of the biggest and best licenses in the world: bringing their content and physical goods closer together in multi-media formats – on Tee Shirts, caps, puzzles, greetings cards, publishing and of course advertising.
Where it gets fascinating, and one of our visions for the future, is when we connect these dots between all the things we zap around us. Then we can begin to ‘game everything’ and reward people for their participation in zapping more stuff and sharing this content. We can let them personalise, create and distribute their own zaps within this new community. We then have a very powerful new platform connecting people to things and brands with consumers on an ongoing basis.
Now it’s early days in the journey but our hunch is that over the next year visual search and image recognition can become as everyday an activity on handheld devices to a growing group of consumers as using the internet. Our goal is to ensure that more of the things around them are Zappar enabled inspiring a new Generation Z.
Other than that highlights for me were Vuzix AR display glasses and the Minority Report type displays by MultiTouch. Oh and I can highly recommend Gordon Ramsay’s new restaurant in the Paris (if you overlook the defacto Vegas razzmatazz).
Now that’s how to make a steak!
Caspar Thykier – CEO at Zappar.