Written/VR Gyro ZJ
With the development of 5G, AR, as one of the best application scenarios, has aroused a new wave of attention. And Microsoft's HeloLens 2, launched a few days ago, has made AR's topic soar.
Although it looks hot, we have to face a realistic problem, that is, how to make AR products really land? After all, just last year, Intel Vaunt and ODG both ended up in a regrettable situation - nbsp; because they were too late to find a place to go and commercialize.
Not long ago, a company that used AR in the Civil Travel scenario came into Gyroscope's eyes. The company named Pacific Future has successfully landed several projects that combine AR with Civil Travel. For this reason, Gyroscope interviewed the founder and CEO of the company, Li Jianyi.
Li Jianyi, founder and CEO of Pacific Future Science and Technology
& nbsp; AR Cultural Brigade Project landed in Malacca & nbsp;
& nbsp; can cover 2 million people a year - nbsp;
Pacific Future Technology is a research and development technology company focusing on algorithms. It mainly develops light field, image recognition, motion tracking and other algorithms. They designed AR glasses AMglass T1 independently, and combined it with algorithms and application scenarios developed independently to promote the landing of the project.
At present, the team has landed two projects, one of which is the famous world cultural heritage in Malaysia. Malacca has landed the "Malacca AI Urban Space Science and Technology" project. Through the combination of AR technology, the team has created a cultural tourism scenic spot which integrates "history, navigation, guided tour, shopping and experience".
According to Gyroscope, the project has a complete experience of about 45 minutes. The project provides AR glasses rental service for tourists at a cost of about tens of RMB each time. Malacca visits about 16 million tourists annually, of which 10% are Chinese tourists. Li Jianyi said that they have put 500 devices into the project, of which 100 AMglass T1 can serve about 80,000 people and is expected to cover 2 million people.
AMglass T1 is a split AR glasses based on Qualcomm 835 chip. Unlike many AR devices that first design products and then find landing scenes, Pacific Future Technology chooses to design this AR hardware product for scenarios.
According to Li Jianyi, the completion cycle of the Malacca project is about one year. During the project, AMglass T1 has been adjusted according to the actual situation. In his view, the experience of the product should be integrated with the environment, and the product should be designed according to the scene. Considering the sharing mode, the equipment can be cleaned, disinfected or even disassembled and replaced. In addition, according to the situation of consumers wearing glasses, a special design of removable nasal braces is also made. The equipment is equipped with three languages, namely Chinese, English and Malay. Visitors can use it directly by scanning code and paying for it.
In terms of content, the development team wrote the script in person and designed a complete story line for the Malacca project. Because it is based on the real history of the cultural and tourism project, it must strictly control the content. For this reason, they also specially hired local historical expert consultants to check.
Really landing an AR device is not easy, we need to take into account all aspects. "We also need to consider how others do not return, how to authenticate their identity and how to pay deposits, all of which need to be taken into account," Li Jianyi said.
It is understood that at present, tourists come to visit are divided into two situations, one is with group tourists, the other is free travel tourists. Li Jianyi said: "70% of the Chinese tourists visited are group tours. For the tour group, we open an account for the tour guide online and put the responsibility on the tour guide to ensure the return of the equipment. For free travelers, credit cards are charged and pre-authorized with credit cards similar to hotels.
For the convenience of management, the tour route of Malacca project is designed as a closed loop, i.e. single-in, single-out. "We also have GPS positioning and tracking on our equipment, and we also analyze the travel data of tourists," it added.
In addition, the development team specially designed the charging cabinet and inventory management system to take all aspects into consideration and form standardized products so as to quickly spread to the ground.
In terms of profit-making methods, Li Jianyi said that they did not sell equipment directly, but chose to split the model to maximize profits. They signed a 15-year contract with the Malaysian Ministry of Tourism, which will be followed by an iteration of equipment updates.
Another landed overseas Chinese city, Liuzhou Kale Planet Project, was officially launched for tourists on National Day last year. In this project, Pacific Future Technology integrates AR with the venues in theme parks. Li Jianyi said, "The demand in theme parks is to solve the time when tourists queue up and use AR experience as a story pad so that they can have something to play from the beginning." With storytelling, visitors will have a better experience in the final 360-degree ball theater.
In this project, the price of a visitor's experience is not high. Regarding the question whether the price of gyroscope is too low, Li Jianyi said: "We think it is acceptable in economic planning, because this project is more about landing to improve technology. If we want to spread it quickly, we need to reduce the price sensitivity.
Through the experience and feedback of a large number of tourists, the technical team can better improve the product for the problem. According to the feedback, they will launch the second generation of new AR hardware products this year. According to Li Jianyi, the second generation of products will land in Shenzhen Happy Valley project.
In addition, ongoing projects include the Yingxiu earthquake epicenter Memorial in Sichuan and cultural and tourism projects in Mexico and Italy.
& nbsp; why choose AR + Wen Tour?
At present, most AR manufacturers will be located in the industrial field, such as Holo Lens, Google Glasses Enterprise Edition and so on.
From a commercial point of view, Li Jianyi believes that AR wants to land in the industrial field there are still many problems. "Industrial scenarios are essentially three requirements. The first is training, the second is testing, and the third is remote assistance. There are also several problems: first, each factory has different standards and machinery, so it needs customization, which consumes a lot of manpower and material resources; second, the scheme can not be shared with another one, and the actual use of AR glasses equipment in the factory is very small, so the quantity is very small. So I can't see that the industrial model can quickly spread to the ground, "said Li Jianyi. "In this case, the customer base is still relatively small, and our company is not always profitable by selling hardware. What we want to do is to match the hardware platform with the algorithm, so we have not chosen the industrial field."
There are several reasons for choosing the field of culture and tourism.
First, the field of culture and tourism is a very good test environment. Because of some historical reasons, many tourist attractions have lost their original buildings and scenery. The scene can be reproduced through AR technology. Tourists can see the scenes hundreds of years ago when wearing AR glasses. "This is a hard demand in terms of culture and tourism. Many tourists want to see what the place is like. And tourists come from different countries and levels, and it's valuable for us to collect user information and product feedback, "Li Jianyi explained.
Secondly, the field of culture and tourism is of great commercial value. "For example, in Malacca project, they also have a business district. After wearing our glasses, we can see the information of the business district. This scenario can be extended to other future AR applications, or has commercial significance and value.
Thirdly, the Wen Tour scenario is suitable for mobile phones and AR glasses to interact. "Because it is impossible for tourists to wear glasses for a long time, our design is to walk the whole scenic area in 45 minutes, so we also try to design some information that can make mobile phones and AR glasses interact."
In Li Jianyi's opinion, Wenlu is a very suitable market scenario for testing. "First of all, the threshold of Wenlu industry can be said to be high or low. The reason for the low threshold is that there is no new thing in tourism industry at present. We seize the opportunity to choose this market. For tourists, no matter what new technology, as long as they can achieve the effect they want to play. On this basis, high-frequency, short-term experience is very suitable for us to test.
He went on to add: "There are many scenarios in Wenlu that are suitable for AR integration and can be replicated and spread out. In addition, we can continue to invest because of the large amount of money we can make. Generally speaking, our team is still based on algorithms, AR does well mainly by algorithms, hardware is always a carrier.
& nbsp, an algorithm company with AR hardware "on the bars" - nbsp; nbsp; nbsp; nbsp; nbsp; nbsp; nbsp; nbsp; nbsp; nbsp; nbsp
Pacific Future Technology is a team of 40 people from all over the world. Its members are very diverse, 80% of whom are technicians. The company has received a total of $6 million in financing.
Pacific Future Science and Technology Team & nbsp;
This company is the result of Li Jianyi's third venture. As a Malaysian Chinese graduate of economics from the University of Queensland, he stepped in the field of science and technology for a Tencent project and came to Shenzhen. As for why AR was chosen to start a business, he laughed: "When doing industry analysis, he looked at the three hottest areas in 2015: robotics, medicine, AR/VR. Robot I think I can't do it, medical treatment is not professional, so I began to focus on AR/VR, but I think VR is a bit anti-human, because entering the virtual world is disconnected from reality. AR is a tool to improve efficiency, which is meaningful to business and society. In AR, I divided into hardware and software as the entry point, and finally chose the algorithm in software, and selected light in the engine, because light is indispensable.
After visiting more than 80 companies and having many discussions with people in the industry, Li Jianyi decided on the direction of "light". "I contacted my Australian friends, the other two founders, who cheated them into starting a business in Shenzhen."
At present, Pacific Future Science and Technology has made remarkable achievements in the fields of optical field algorithm, image analysis algorithm, attitude analysis and motion capture algorithm, and has obtained a total of 86 patents in China and the United States, of which the largest number is related to light.
Why did such an algorithm company embark on the road of AR hardware development?
According to Li Jianyi, in the AR engine they developed, the core algorithm is the light field algorithm. In order to make the virtual object look more real, we need to detect the light information in real space by image algorithm, and then push the information to the rendering engine. Gyroscope has tested the optical field algorithm in the field. It can judge the direction of light source in the real world and adjust the light of virtual object in real time according to the direction. And it can judge and debug the colored light. That is to say, when the light source is red or green, the light on the virtual object is colored. (The algorithm does not support complex and changeable light source changes for the time being)
The reason why we can do hardware is that we need a hardware carrier to show these algorithms.
But when looking for the right AR hardware, Li Jianyi and his team found that the products in the current market either did not meet their application needs or were too expensive, and the right AR glasses could not be produced in mass. In this case, they decided to make their own AR glasses. In his opinion, AR is different from other application areas, and requires a high degree of integration of hardware and software, which makes it easier for application developers to develop applications.
"We found that from HoloLens to Google Glasses to other domestic brands, their idea is to create a complete platform that can replace mobile phones. But now the industrial chain is not mature, to do such a product can not be completely landed, let consumers pay. This industry chain includes not only hardware supply industry chain, but also content supply industry chain. In this case, it is unrealistic to make a multi-functional and large-scale product, "said Li Jianyi. "So when we are landing on a project, we are developing a product for a scenario that conforms to the operational and operational modes. We will choose accessories for the scene and remove some unnecessary things.
& nbsp; future goal: AR social networking in 5G era & nbsp;
In addition to AR scenarios, Pacific Future Technology is also developing a 3D human skeleton algorithm, which can be used in many scenarios such as 3D animation, motion analysis, capture, man-machine coupling, and human motion analysis through ordinary 2D cameras.
Li Jianyi told Gyroscope that the future goal of Pacific future technology is to socialize with AR when the 5G era comes.
In its view, if from 2G to 3G is text-to-picture, and from 3G to 4G is image-to-video, then from 4G to 5G is from 2D to 3D. "The changes brought about by 5G must be three-dimensional in image, which means that people have to work hard on animation production. So the first thing we studied was how to turn 2D into 3D and make it move. The second one is how to make the virtual image move in real time in virtual social interaction.
He said: "Our layout is light, skeletal algorithms, and spectacle carriers. In AR social communication, if there is no light information, people will be distorted. In order to move more naturally, we have done the skeleton algorithm. The combination of the two requires a carrier, so we have made AR glasses.
And the use of data of 2 million people a year in the cultural tourism market will help the product to continue to improve, with the continuous improvement of the underlying technology, so as to lay a solid foundation for the export of AR social networking.