Vivek Jain was a part of StrApp Business Solutions before he stumbled upon a brilliant idea that involves an interesting use of the smartphone. And the quest to create something novel actually got the better of him.
“A lot of the customers that we were working with were looking for newer ways to engage with their own customers. We knew that any engagement would need to be created on the mobile phone, since over the last few years, smartphones have actually led the way forward. That’s when we stumbled upon ‘Augmented Reality technology’,” shares Vivek, the founder of ‘FlippAR’.
“The behaviour was similar to taking a picture. Point your phone to something and it would magically show information on the screen,” he adds.
“That’s when we read about a stamps exhibition at NGMA. Stamps have a lot of history and stories behind them; just that, it’s very difficult for the exhibitor to print stories for all of them,” he says.
“I thought what if people could point their phones at the stamp and all the history behind it unlocked? We called up NGMA and spoke to the curator who quite liked the idea and connected us with the director. He had a look at a demo and approved it immediately. This experience brought in newer audiences to the gallery,” Vivek explains. The use of ‘FlippAR’ was clear — to be able to unlock stories. “We then got an opportunity to set up another experience at Visvesvaraya Industrial and Technological Museum. This was around ‘Bring the dinosaur alive’ by pointing the phone to the dino exhibit. This got over 7,000 downloads,” says Vivek.
He realised that there was a great potential in what they were doing, but there were a few challenges like too many ways in which the app could be used and generating that much content.
That’s when they decided to build a tool, wherein any business could create these sort of experiences in less than three minutes.
“For instance, one could visualise how furniture looked like in their homes, without actually placing the product, or trying on a watch virtually, without necessarily having the watch in front of them. You could point your phone to a brand logo and get to know about all the offers and the latest collection,” details Vivek.
“We then saw an opportunity in tourism. We pitched to the government of Karnataka as part of their ‘Idea2POC’ scheme and since it was aligned with their objectives of making Karnataka the most preferred tourist destination. Monuments and statues connect the past with the present. Using ‘FlippAR’, travellers can unlock these stories, making a traveller’s experience a lot richer and also encouraging the younger generation to experience and appreciate a city’s history,” he adds.
He highlights that the other interesting thing that the app does is to help people ‘relive their memories’.
“Everyday we create memories, be it with friends or family. And these memories are captured in pictures. Using the app, these memories get a context — for example, pictures taken at Starbucks can be ‘locked’ into the cup of Starbucks, friends tagged to it and the next time you or your friends are having coffee, just point your phone to the cup and you can relive all your memories.”
In the same way, one can add their messages to gifts.
“‘FlippAR’ is the world’s first augmented reality social network. India has not been able to develop and market a product that citizens all over the world could use, like Facebook or WhatsApp did,” he says.
“However, I believe that in the next five to seven years, we would be able to get our app in the hands of millions of people across the world. We have been getting a lot of support from everyone around and I feel that the app has the potential to get there,” adds a confident Vivek.