Canada based ImagineAR partners with Valencia C.F. for augmented reality applications to take their football viewing experience and fan engagement to the next level.
The dawn of augmented reality brings in new hope and possibilities for a digital transformation which will be nothing less than the futuristic sci-fi world we love to see in our movies. Augmented reality technology is a stepping stone in transforming our interactions with others and making them immersive and engaging. Which ever industry you belong to, it will not be left untouched by the wonders of AR. ImagineAR is a Canada based augmented reality technology and service provider which enables businesses to create and implement AR as a part of their marketing strategies.
Recently ImagineAR tied up with Spanish football club Valencia C.F, winner of 6 La Liga titles and having 7 million+ fans around the world. Imagine AR will be an innovation partner to Valencia C.F and help the club generate interactive augmented reality experiences for its fans. Recently, we got a chance to have a small interaction with Mr. Alen Paul Silverrstieen, CEO & President, ImagineAR and picked his thoughts on this partnership, augmented reality in sports and more. Read below what he has to say.
Augmented reality is a blend of real and digital worlds. A sports game like football is a high octane event where the audience is highly energetic, deeply involved and passionate about their teams. How can augmented reality provide an incremental audience activation and engagement to the already existing energetic stadium experience? Given the on-going unprecedented pandemic situation how immersive technologies will come to the aid of the sports enthusiasts as well as businesses?
I think mobile AR has two specific fan engagement and activation applications in sports today. First and foremost due to Covid-19, is leveraging mobile AR to engage fans at home during the game streams as well as during the year to build community and drive new revenue for sports teams. With social media cluttered with so much “noise”, teams need to utilise new digital communication channels that directly engage fans with immersive experiences and provide the opportunity to build new revenue streams. Mobile AR is the solution in today’s new paradigm and will continue for years to come.
Second, in-stadium should initially be focused in the areas of premium seating, once fan game attendance returns, to offer unique high-quality AR immersive engagements and special offerings. For example, green-screen images of players these fans can video and share in social media as well as offered limited edition merchandise at special pricing. Also, the AR Scavenger hunt would be an easy and great immersive fan opportunity to drive sponsorship revenue for the team and venue. The AR Scavenger Hunt can be delivered in-stadium throughout the concourse or can also be setup in the city or throughout the world.
But teams need to start implementing new fan engagement and activation technology platforms with our new environment – and mobile AR is the the most economical and fastest to drive new revenue and build community.
By the way, we are a public company and one of the few “AR” players investors can invest on the CSE (Canadian Stock Exchange:IP) or the OTCQB (IPNFF). People can learn more on our website – ImagineAR.com.
ImagineAR has signed a two year contract as an Innovation partner with the esteemed Valencia CF who have won 6 La Liga titles and have approximately 7 million fans around the world. What is your Vision for Valencia CF and football fans you’ll get access to for next two years?
Valencia is a technology leader in La Liga and is positioned to be the first La Liga team to leverage AR for fan engagement and activation. Initially, we will focus on the easy and most social engaging AR – by placing top Valencia futbol players into the homes of fans around the world. Fans can photo and video themselves with the players to instantly share in TikTok, Instagram, and other social media platforms. Also, we will deliver the Valencia CF home Stadium as a cool 3D interactive model to fans to enjoy as well. We will then provide a number of interactive and immersive AR campaigns including unique merchandise offers, e-games, and sponsored promotions.
Apart from fan engagement, we see a lot of applications of AR in game play and strategy. It is being said that AR can help in making faster and timely decisions by coaches and strategists when the games are at the level of La Liga and there are high stakes involved. What do you have to say about it?
Many sports teams have initially used VR for training players to react and make immediate decisions in “game situations” such as a Quarterback on an NFL team. The immersive experience perfectly simulates live game day play options. On the other hand, AR is being used to provide fans an informational and engaging experience while viewing sports. NBA teams, for example, are going to utilize 360 cameras above the court during actual games to overlay player statistics and odds of shots for viewers to consumer they AR. Until 5G is prevalent in-stadium with AI/AR integration, AR focus will be on the fan engagement applications rather than in-game strategic use by coaches.
Shifting focus to ImagineAR specifically, you are also into the retail industry. Now, the confluence of retail and augmented reality is very promising. How easy or difficult will it be for the retailers to integrate AR into their operations? How can ImagineAR help them in this endeavour?
ImagineAR is a platform that allows any business – without any technical experience or knowledge- to create immersive AR experiences. Our ImagineARStudio.com is free and can be use to create AR engagement integrating coupons to be experienced by consumers using the ImagineAR mobile app today. This helps small retailers impacted by the new Covid environment to create immersive and experiential engagements for consumers and drive revenue. With our enterprise SaaS model, businesses can create AR Scavenger haunts too similar to Pokémon Go, but using their own content and coupons
What do you think is the future of augmented reality. How soon will we reach a point where every person will be wearing and showing off their AR glasses just like they do with smartphones today. Industry visionaries say that AR experiences will be embedded deep in our daily routines. What can businesses do to start preparing themselves for that seemingly difficult but highly interesting eventuality.
With over 5 billion smartphones in the world, we have quite a big marketplace opportunity leveraging Mobile AR for the next 3-5 years. ImagineAR is focused on building key long-term partnerships in target markets using our AR platform. AR is just beginning to be commercialized by sports teams, retailers, education and many other potential markets and it will take years to mature. Many pure technologists are excited about Apple glasses which will allow consumers to enjoy AR experiences “anchored” (permanently placed) throughout the world and deliver immersive location experiences. But even if Apple glasses come out in 2021, the adoption phase for a $500USD product will take years to reach mass adoption around the world. So, although our platform will support Apple Glasses when they come out into the marketplace, we are focused on the enormous mobile AR commercial opportunities which exist in many vertical markets especially in today’s pandemic environment.
Now we have to ask this question, there is this very famous story about you purchasing Muhammad Ali’s boxing robes and then selling it to a person who became your mentor and business partner. We are curious to know what exactly was going through your mind when you made that purchase because we know you spent everything you had!
At that time back in 1990’s, I had a successful baseball card business in the USA and was approached by a mutual friend about Muhammed Ali Robe’s immediate availability and had to make a decision immediately. As I had a good understanding of the sports card and memorabilia market, I was extremely optimistic that if I could buy it, I would find a way to sell it a profit. Muhammed Ali is a GLOBAL SPORTS LEGEND. The key was to make the purchase price at the lowest possible amount so I can at least breakeven – if not generate a significant profit – just like real estate investors. And yes. It did work out, and ultimately the purchaser – Shelly Finkel – became my partner in my phonecard business which we took public on NASDAQ in 3 years. I look back and know that without the Robe purchase and sale, I wouldnt have been successful with the phonecards as Shelly was one of the most famous sports and entertainment promoters in the world.