Company-X’s creates marketing opportunities for clients with AR and VR.
Company-X co-founder and director David Hallett described the WebAR and WebVR technology as “one cool area” that the software specialist works in.
“Traditionally AR and VR ran inside platforms or devices,” Hallett said. AR and VR hardware could be prohibitively expensive. “Whereas with these standards of WebAR and WebVR the cool thing is that you can effectively deliver some technology into a web browser.”
WebAR technology puts AR before the eyes of anyone with an internet-capable device with a web browser. WebAR works on desktop or laptop computers as well as smartphones and tablets.
WebVR delivers a 360-degree virtual environment via the web browser or a fully immersive experience through a headset.
“Rather than having to build a native app for a system you can build a web-delivered AR solution,” Hallett said.
“It’s all delivered by the web, so you don’t have to go and install any software on these devices.”
The technology is device and browser agnostic, so works on web browsers running on hardware with Apple, Google Android, Linux and Microsoft operating systems.
“So you don’t have to invest in specific bits of kit or hardware.”
WebAR use cases
WebAR can be used to market goods and services to customers. WebAR enables prospective customers to try virtual models of everything from a new pair of glasses to the configuration of a home extension. It’s about giving them informed choices.
“The cool part about WebAR is that it means I don’t have to have a piece of software Installed to run around my house and visualise new products within it,” said Company-X co-founder and director Jeremy Hughes.
“Take your new glasses,” Hallett said. “You can just use WebAR on your smartphone’s web browser to try on different pairs. You can decide whether you like the glasses, or if the frames need to be blacker. You can magically cycle through your glasses.
“Say you want to fit your house out. You can use a tablet running a WebAR component to go around the house and try out AR models of new things in your home.”
A furniture retailer would offer AR versions of its beds, bookcases, chairs, desks, sofas and tables for customers to try virtually in their homes by overlaying them on a live feed from the device’s camera before they buy.
“WebAR helps us decide if that mirror looks good up there on the wall, or whether we could put an Ottoman in front of that sofa to see if it will fit.”
For the supplier of bathroom suites, WebAR would let customers try virtual baths, showers, sinks and toilets in their bathrooms, tweaking the tapware with each option that they tried.
WebAR is also a great tool for visualising home extensions and other improvements.
“We can build a garage or carport using WebAR and answer whether it would look good with this sort of guttering or that sort,” Hughes added.
Company-X leads digital transformation
Company-X is leading a series of digital transformation projects for clients in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Company-X co-founder and director David Hallett said the software specialist had discussed digital transformation with many clients in the year before the pandemic hit.
“Suddenly there’s been an impetus and they’ve seen an urgency,” Hallett said.
Clients had said to Company-X, “Now, you know that project we’ve been talking about? Can we start that yesterday?”
A health sector client asked Company-X to lead the development of a digital system that would replace a manual system deemed too risky for staff when social distancing guidelines were in place.
“They said we need to digitise this and we need you to help us out so that was a project that kicked off,” Hallett said.
“Another was a legal practice who suddenly realised they needed to quickly modernise because they had no access to files or notes in their office because they were locked down. So let’s, please, make this program of work that we have been talking about happen now.”
Remote working has been part of Company-X culture since Hallett and Jeremy Hughes founded the Company-X in 2012.
Since then the directors, who both live outside of Hamilton city where Company-X is headquartered, have engaged in regular video conferences with clients and team members based around the world.
“I spent the first year or so working with a client from the United States,” said Hughes. “So that gets you really immersed in remote working when you actually never get to join the team face to face.”
Hallett said the only difference the COVID-19 pandemic made to Company-X team of nearly 60 software specialists was that they had to go into the supermarket one person at a time.
“We did expect some of our projects to go on hold,” Hughes said. “But it didn’t happen. I think it’s because we really focus on partnering with our customers and they trust us to get involved in really critical projects that have to be delivered.
“If our customers say we have to deliver, we deliver.”
“We’re growing all the time, we’ve taken on new projects,” Hallett said.