Name: AR Independent / Aug-It!
Technologies: Augmented Reality
Sector: Virtual Reality for Commercial purposes
Primary Partner: LJMU (Liverpool Business School)
Having worked in California for four years, Liverpool-born entrepreneur Anthony Hagan saw an opportunity to bring the immersive technology he had seen in the US back to the UK.
A ten-year career in the music and entertainment industry enabled him to work with leading global companies, such as Fox Sports, and attend world-renowned gaming events like the E3 conference in Los Angeles. During this time, Anthony witnessed how a range of industries were being transformed by harnessing immersive technology such as augmented and mixed reality for brand engagement.
As a result, Anthony hatched the idea for ‘Aug-It!’ – a first-of-its-kind augmented reality (AR) app that would enable businesses in the food and nightlife industry to promote their brand through bespoke AR and mixed reality (MR) experiences in a cost-effective way.
While Anthony possessed the initial idea for the immersive mobile app, he lacked the resources and funding to turn the concept into a viable, market-ready product. With merely a business plan and a concept, Anthony sought guidance and consultancy support from Activate, having been signposted to the programme in an innovation workshop.
Activate approved Anthony’s business plan and in January this year, helped him launch his very own creative agency, AR Independent. It also provided the grant funding needed to support the development of the Aug-It app. Working in collaboration with project partner Liverpool Business School, Activate provided free bespoke consultancy in relation to feasibility and commercialisation. The collaboration also enabled the company to access specialist equipment via programme partner, Foundation for Art and Creative Technology (FACT.) as well as technical expertise to design and test the feasibility of the software.
Just six months after launching, AR-Independent has pioneered Aug-It!, a first-of-its-kind AR application which is set to pave a new era in food and nightlife culture. The collaboration has also helped AR Independent land its first client, Dockside Dining Liverpool’s first fully immersive dining experience on Liverpool’s Mann Island. The app enables customers to interact directly with the restaurant brands by uploading messages and photos to virtual bubbles and balloons, which can then be shared on social media.
Aug-It! is now undergoing further development to integrate gaming and product recognition functions, as well as virtual location tracking.
Anthony Hagan, Creative Director at AR-Independent said: “Through Activate, the company has leapfrogged from a blue-sky idea to a commercially available product, and it has happened much faster than I ever imagined. Even without the access to the grant funding, it would have been worth going through Activate solely for the business support.”