Another year, another incredible Augmented World Expo (AWE) 2019 experience. Despite the inevitable jetlag, it’s always an absolute pleasure to head to such an incredible immersive technology expo, taking the opportunity to share our vision with the world while catching up with friends both old and new in the California sunshine.
Did you manage to see us while we were there? If so, thanks for coming by Booth 710 and meeting myself and the team - I hope you had a blast getting hands-on with the likes of ZapWorks and ZapBox, exploring all of our brand new features, functionality and branded experiences. We certainly loved sharing them with you.
If you didn’t get the chance, be sure to come see us next time - no doubt we’ll have plenty of fresh ideas to share. In the meantime, here’s my breakdown of everything we got up to at a truly memorable AWE 2019 - including our award-winning performance at the coveted Auggie Awards!
Here's me taking my place at Booth 710 on the first day of AWE 2019, my home for the next three days (not literally).
So, what’s AWE 2019 and why’s it awesome?
Let’s be honest - if you’re reading this on our lovely AR industry blog, then chances are you know all about AWE. But if you don’t (we won’t tell anyone!), here’s what it’s all about.
AWE 2019 is pretty much the premiere event in the immersive technology calendar - the good people at Forbes even describe it as “the most essential AR/VR conference and expo” out there. So, it’s a big deal and is now in its 10th anniversary year of bringing together the innovators shaping the future of spatial computing, across dozens of booths, workshops and expert panels.
On a more personal level, it’s really exciting to see both our ZapWorks community and newcomers alike getting hands-on with our technology - seeing reactions in real time to the products we create is super motivating and informative. Plus, AWE just happens to take place in beautiful Santa Clara - the heart of Silicon Valley and just hours away from where I grew up (hi mom!).
The AWE 2019 trailer, bringing the hype.
It also plays host to the Auggie Awards, which is pretty much The Oscars for people who prefer augmenting to acting - though both appreciate good scripting (sorry). But most importantly...we won one and I can’t wait to tell you all about it!
“Attending AWE was really valuable for us. Not only did we get to meet a bunch of our users and gather important feedback, but we also had some really interesting conversations with people who regularly work in the AR/VR space who we were able to introduce to ZapWorks. Aside from that, it’s generally just great to see all the cool things that everyone is working on.”
- Sebastian Garcia Cardona, Head of Technical Support, Zappar
And the Auggie Award goes to...
The eagle-eyed amongst you may know that the Auggie Awards came towards the end of AWE 2019 but we’re not going to follow suit here as frankly, we’re far too excited not to share this nice and early...
The submission video for the 7-Eleven X Zappar 'Always on' campaign that brought us home the Auggie!
Following an exhaustive public vote and the deliberations of an expert panel, we took home the ‘Best Campaign’ Auggie Award for our ‘Always On’ campaign, created in partnership with major US retailer 7-Eleven! If you voted for us, thank you so much - it means the absolute world to myself and the rest of the Zappar team.
Our very own CTO and Co-Founder, Connell Gauld, was on-hand to collect the award on stage and it was a really pertinent moment, knowing how much time, effort and innovation had gone into delivering this campaign with our friends at 7-Eleven.
For me, the most exciting aspect was that it was just so representative of our own vision for what AR campaigns strategically could and should be - and that demonstrates just how far immersive technology has matured during our eight years in the industry.
The ‘Always On’ campaign with 7-Eleven was just that - not a technical novelty designed to deliver a solitary surprise and delight moment, but a calendar of content that genuinely rewarded customer loyalty with high-quality exclusive content that generates truly valuable conversations while increasing average basket size and driving sales.
The very moment Zappar won the Auggie and our CTO and Co-Founder, Connell Gauld, took to the stage (please excuse my loud whooping)!
It was a genuine example of AR living at the heart of a digital strategy, not on the sidelines - with the Zappar SDK driving downloads of the 7Rewards app with fantastic interactive experiences that delivered real results for the business. The campaign truly is among a select few examples of best practice that bring AR ad effectiveness straight into the mainstream. AR’s come along way and I’m really proud of how this collaborative campaign represents that.
Here’s what our CEO and Co-Founder, Caspar Thykier, had to say:
“[This award] speaks volumes to their pioneering spirit as a business and the fantastic partnership we have together in leading the way in creating AR as an always-on channel to reimagine what this facilitating technology can mean to both retail and loyalty apps. In many ways this award for 'Best Campaign' is the sum of all the parts of all the different categories we were short-listed for: we made 30+ activations across 2019 with 7-Eleven and they were all created using ZapWorks; with deep integration of our Zappar SDK into the 7Rewards app; featuring a lot of the play patterns and gaming know-how that we've learnt from the toy category to make compelling short-form experiences featuring AR made for the mobile occasion. The big theme for AWE this year was that it was the year of the creator. We're delighted to see that our eight years in the industry at the forefront of this new creative economy and community was awarded. A big thank you to everyone who voted and to our fantastic partners at 7-Eleven.”
- Caspar Thykier, CEO and Co-Founder, Zappar
We were also delighted to have been short-listed for three other Auggie awards across four different categories - for Best Game & Toy (with Hasbro HeroVision), Best Creator and Authoring Tool and Best Developer Tool (for ZapWorks). This meant we were the only company to have been nominated across hardware, software and creative services categories.
So an exhilarating Auggie Awards experience for us, but we best move on to what else Zappar got up to at AWE 2019...I think I’ve got something in my eye...
Zappar at AWE 2019 - the team at Booth 710
Our base for AWE 2019 was our freshly designed exhibition booth, complete with hands-on demos with all the latest tech from Planet Zappar.
Fast times at Booth 710, as AWE 2019 attendees get hands-on with ZapBox and ZapWorks.
Face tracking and world tracking
I loved showing off these key features of ZapWorks Studio 6, our complete AR toolkit for designers and developers. While these have been live since the last software update, this was the first time we’d exhibited the functionality in the flesh since our March Meetup earlier this year in London. People seemed to get to grips with creating fun face filters super quickly using our Project Templates and seeing how intuitively models reacted to facial movements with our ‘Actions’ functionality.
Likewise with world tracking, it was great seeing people grasp the concept and running with it (sometimes literally!) at the booth. ZapWorks Studio 6’s Sketchfab integration makes everything a lot more efficient for demo’ing at events, with visitors able to simply search for a 3D model, import it quickly into a project and instantly preview the experience. The audible “oohhh!” from people bringing a digital model into the real world and placing it down with our ground placement symbol is something I never tire of witnessing!
ZapBox Studio 6, our complete AR toolkit, empowers you bring digital content into the around you and place it intuitively with our world tracking functionality.
ZapBox - the affordable mixed reality toolkit
Following the recent announcement that the latest iteration of our awesome affordable Mixed Reality kit was now available to buy for the exceptionally accessible price of just $30 (don’t make me say it...Magic Leap but magic cheap!), it was great to see attendees getting hands-on and experimenting before my eyes.
The sleeker packaging, self-assembly ‘cardware’ components and precise interactivity the ZapBox controllers were capable of were a big hit with visitors to the booth (particularly at the Press Briefing!). Simon, Zappar Co-Founder and Chief R&D Officer, gave us the lowdown in our previous blog, so check that out for info on what’s new and how to grab your very own ZapBox.
ZapBox makes creating and experiencing Mixed Reality affordable, accessible and awesome. You can grab yours now for just $30.
Now, we’ll have plenty more to say about this soon, but safe to say that there was a lot of buzz around our WebAR Beta at AWE 2019! Essentially, this is the technology present in our free Zappar app, but existing in a web browser - so same amazing AR experiences, without the perceived friction of an app download to get your hands on them.
At the current time, due to the evolving mobile browser landscape, these experiences aren’t always as optimized as they would be via an app - it’s certainly very new technology that needs time to mature on all sides. But it’s definitely exciting. We’ll update you more in due course, but if you’d like to get experimenting with WebAR yourself and hear a little more about it in the meantime, head over to the Forum for the latest scoop and show us what you come up with!
Team Zappar took the stage twice on the very first day of AWE 2019 at almost the same time! First up, CTO, Co-Founder and multi-time Auggie Award collector Connell Gauld was up with an expert workshop on creating WebAR experiences using ZapWorks Studio 6.
It was fantastic to observe people getting to grips with the new technology so quickly - particularly people who were completely new to the ZapWorks Studio 6 toolkit. As I say, we’ll have more updates on WebAR really soon so keep your eyes peeled.
Shortly after, our beloved VP of Sales (US) Keith Curtin - immersive tech influencer, irrepressible AR evangelist and snap back enthusiast - was part of an expert panel discussing ‘Best in Class Branded Content’. This explored how to create engaging AR experiences for business, with a lot of really interesting insights on lessons learned from immersive technology campaigns conducted for some of the world’s biggest brands.
A very illuminated Connell takes the stage to demonstrate the power of the Zappar WebAR beta.
If you enjoyed what you saw from us at AWE 2019, or would like to know more about how our team can help you achieve your AR goals, then do reach out to us for a chat. Whether you’re designer or developer looking to take your creativity to the next level with ZapWorks, or a brand or business looking to leverage AR in collaboration with our (Auggie Award winning!) HQ creative team, let’s make it happen. Don’t forget, we’ve got a great community of friendly AR enthusiasts active over on our ZapWorks Forum - so if you’re after some feedback, advice or just want to share your ideas, head over and get involved.