Keith Curtin, ranked #1 on the AR Top 100 Brands & Influencers list, joins Zappar as East Coast VP of Sales. Here, Keith provides his insights on the current state of the space and explains how brands can enhance their digital strategy by using AR to its fullest potential.
Keith Curtin, East Coast VP of Sales, Zappar
It’s difficult to avoid clichés when changing jobs. I could tell you that I’ve joined Zappar because I was ready for my next challenge. Perhaps I was looking to try something different. The truth is actually pretty simple. I love working with mixed reality, and my experience with augmented and virtual reality has introduced me to a tremendous number of smart and talented people. And the team at Zappar is comprised of some of the most innovative minds in this, or any, industry. So, of course, I wanted to be a part of that.
I’ve worked with AR, VR, and MR for years. Previously, I started my own consulting firm to help brands understand and leverage these mediums in ways that drove engagement and revenue. I’ve always been interested in moving the space forward, and Zappar had been on my radar since I first met Caspar Thykier, the co-founder and chief executive, almost a year ago. That’s the short version of my story. Allow me to elaborate just a bit on why I’m so excited to join the team as the East Coast VP of Sales.
Zappar brings real tools to the table for brands
It’s one thing to create an AR experience, but zapcodes provide solutions for brands that are looking to tie back ROI and measure results at scale.
Zappar is also the first company to jump into mixed reality in a way that anyone and everyone can access. The goal is to lay down the roadmap to explain and educate people, starting with mobile AR, and Zappar has a full suite of products that bring together the worlds of AR, VR, and MR. These tools create room for a lot of forward-thinking, and can educate people on our entire space.
AR in the mainstream
Believe it or not, even with the proliferation of Pokémon GO, and devices such as Google Glass, Apple’s ARKit, and Samsung Bixby Vision, AR is not considered mainstream.
However, that’s not to say that we’re ways off. Apple and Samsung have the ability to flip the switch and bring AR to a wider audience because they are the dominant front runners in terms of mobile device users around the world. Facebook also has that capability, and Snapchat has done a good job. We’re now starting to see a demand from brands who have tried AR in the past to bring innovative solutions with the end goal of solving a problem or adding more consumer value using AR.
"Zappar is also the first company to jump into mixed reality in a way that anyone and everyone can access."
There’s been a lack of consistent ROI strategy.
Brands that want return and value with real strategy should be using tech like Zappar. By baking it into their own existing platforms to control the distribution of their content, they have easy access to a wealth of data and analytics while rewarding consumers with premium content as an incentive for purchase behaviour.
This allows them to connect with their consumers in more meaningful and engaging ways, driving loyalty while also collecting rich sets of data that guide future activations, as well as broader marketing and sales strategies.
In addition, many brands that have used AR have done so as one-off promotional activities. They’re lacking scale and consistency. We have to remember that products and packaging are becoming new digital channels that can establish a connection with consumers in ways that have never existed before. Brands need to look at this as a long-term, always-on strategy. We’re taking digital content and putting it on their products, creating a new IoT proposition for brand owners and retail customers that I like to refer to as the internet “on” things.
Brands are catching on
They get it!
They’ve seen a massive media company like Shazam successfully use Zappar’s tech and want to replicate that.
I’ve already been doing some initial outreach to some of the world's largest brands, and I’m getting lots of excitement to learn more about how Zappar can provide solutions in these areas. I believe brands should be focusing on how to build their own AR ecosystems within their existing platforms and continue to develop strategies of offering premium content and loyalty incentives along the path to purchase and post consumption as opposed to simply implementing AR for the sake of doing something fun and cool. Zappar’s suite of tools is able to help brand owners and retailers maximize their investment in these areas.
"...products and packaging are becoming new digital channels that can establish a connection with consumers in ways that have never existed before."
Why they’re excited
It’s all about acquiring valuable data.
Zappar is constantly improving its platform for developers, and it’s the best solution in the marketplace for any consumer packaged goods or fast-moving consumer goods brand or retailer because it’s code-based. This allows brands to develop an IoT (internet “on” things) strategy that can virtually give every product in the world that reaches a consumer a unique digital fingerprint that can deliver scalable engagement and analytics that is simply unprecedented within the AR industry.
I have experienced the pain points of many global brands over various discussions through the years and previous activations, and I’m extremely excited about Zappar’s approach to addressing these needs for the long term through AR.
The era of optics (glasses that we’ll wear on our faces) isn’t far off! Augmented reality, computer vision, artificial intelligence, machine learning, spatial sound—all of this is going to eventually tie into optics.
Right now, we’re working toward a wider spread availability of augmented content both online and offline. We’re starting where the internet began during the .com boom: people had to build websites, build ecosystems, and now with AR, the physical world is becoming the new digital portal where we pull all of our content from.
No company is better positioned to build that future—and bring on the brand partners to champion it—than Zappar. That’s why I’m thrilled to be part of the team.
Making magic: Where Shazam meets Zappar
Apple joins the AR party
Thank you Pokemon Go for going large