To get everyone excited for the industry leading global conference on SEM/SEO, SES Chicago 2009, I had an opportunity to interview a couple panelists from the “Cool Mobile Apps, Augmented Reality – It’s a Brave New World” session on Day 2. Up first is Barg Upender, the Founder and CEO of Mobomo, an innovative mobile development company focused on building “Smart Apps for Smart Phones.” Barg was kind enough to set aside his busy schedule to answer a few questions about Augmented Reality (AR) applications. For those who have no idea what Augmented Reality (AR) apps are, AR apps combine virtual data in the real world. Think of how a GPS app works on your iPhone. Let’s get on with 6 mind blowing questions, shall we?
Marketing Shindig: On Day 2 of SES Chicago 2009, you will be speaking on the panel for “Cool Mobile Apps – Augmented Reality, It’s a Brave New World”, can you give the readers of Marketing Shindig a high level preview of what to expect from the panel? Do you have one key message you hope attendees will remember, kind of that oomph or “ta-daa” to your session?
Barg Upender: Augmented Reality (AR) apps are cool, but their business value is still being proven. I believe AR will play a similar course to “cool” technology like AJAX. Eventually, AJAX went from a “wow” factor to just being incorporated into everyday web applications.
Marketing Shindig: I agree with your reference to AJAX and certainly a very interesting comparison. As everyone has heard by now, there’s an app for pretty much everything. However, there’s a new “generation” of mobile apps that is quickly growing, which are AR apps. What do you think is the future of such apps and what can we expect?
Barg Upender: We are in the early stages of understanding the power of AR. At this point, developers are just exploring new user interface and observing interaction. In another couple of years, we will see a more mature breed of AR apps and I think navigation and traffic will be some of the most interesting uses of AR. You can already see this in Google’s latest navigation app on the Android platform.
Marketing Shindig: One of the most talked about headlines the past couple weeks was Google’s purchase of AdMob, a provider of mobile ad technologies, for a cool $750 million in stock. I’d love to get your thoughts on this acquisition and how, if at all, it will affect the (AR) mobile apps arena.
Barg Upender: AdMob was the clear leader in in-app advertising, so this move quickens Google’s reach into the mobile space. One potential impact would be AR-based ads. For example, if you are near a coffee shop, you might see a coupon for a scone.
Marketing Shindig: Appreciate your thoughts on the AdMob acquisition. Now let’s jump back to AR apps. How do you feel AR apps changed user engagement with products and services?
Barg Upender: At this point, AR is basically another view in an application. It’s fun to view and share. I don’t think it’s deepening the engagement but is focused on making better user experience. Designers are thinking of new ways of presenting the same data (rather than replicating the web).
Marketing Shindig: Quick! Please give us your top augmented reality mobile apps that you cannot live without or just find to be damn interesting.
Barg Upender: I don’t have a favorite yet. But I use the Yelp application a lot. It is very fast and looks like it fetches some data in advance. I like the simplicity of Layar as well. It takes Google search results and displays it in a 3D AR view.
Marketing Shindig: You have 15 seconds to say anything, what do you want to say?
Barg Upender: At this point, AR technology is more fun than useful. As the technology matures, we will realize the true value of AR. AR technology will also bring innovation to hardware platforms, as more manufacturers will embed additional sensors into mobile devices.
Marketing Shindig: And with that, the interview comes to a close. Special thanks to Barg for taking the time to interview with me and providing some very insightful answers. I hope to see everyone at SES Chicago 2009.
More About Mobomo
Mobomo provides end-to-end mobile strategy, design, development, for businesses and organizations that want to acquire, retain, or otherwise engage mobile customers. We combine mobile expertise with disciplines in business strategy, interactive marketing, web development, and systems engineering to create the most innovative mobile applications on the Apple iPhone, Google Android, Palm Pre, and other smart phone platforms. http://www.mobomo.com
More About Barg Upender
Barg is a serial entrepreneur and technologist with 20 years of experience in commercial software product development. Barg was selected as Top 100 Tech Titans in the DC-metro area by the Washingtonian Magazine in 2009. Barg is an alumnus of the prestigious MindShare CEO Network, the leading entrepreneur network in the DC-metro area. Barg graduated from Cornell University with a Masters in Electrical Engineering.