Imagine pointing your phone at your new washing machine to get an augmented reality lesson on how to operate it.
Imagine touring a not-yet-completed house and seeing what it would look like with your furniture inside with the help of virtual reality goggles.
The everyday uses for VR and AR are infinite, but until now these sophisticated technologies have only been in the hands of programming pros.
Israel’s WakingApp aims to democratize and simplify VR and AR with ENTiTi Creator. The cloud-based platform for PC and Maclets anybody create interactive VR and AR content immediately available to view on most mobile devices and smart glasses.
“Our ground breaking VR/AR creator allows professionals, from advertisers and architects to developers and designers, to create their own content and connect with their target audiences in new ways,” said Udi Shani, CEO of WakingApp.
“Heading into 2016, we see a strong and growing trend in the manufacturing of smart glasses, but many don’t realize that these products cannot exist long-term if there is no content available for them. Our goal is to connect to millions of potential content creators out there, so that billions of potential viewers have something to watch.”
WakingApp founder and president Alon Melchner tells ISRAEL21c that ENTiTi Creator is not competing with expensive Hollywood-level studios. It’s an easy tool for amateurs to enhance a product, service, game or therapeutic program.
“We’re offering a magic brush to create whatever you want. If someone wanted to learn how to create VR it would take two years of education, and now they can be up and running in a month.”
Soft-launched in January and introduced to the public at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February, by March ENTiTi Creator had some 2,000 users creating about 25 new pieces of content daily.
“For now it’s free so we can educate the market, since most people have not experienced virtual reality,” says Melchner. “Later it will be available through a monthly subscription. We are preparing a marketplace like Google Play where creators can create content and charge $1. We want to be one of the biggest sources of content and content creation.”
More creators, better results
Founded in 2013 in Rosh HaAyin, WakingApp has created many interactive VR and AR apps for game developers and advertisers. During the last World Cup, WakingApp’s smartphone app allowed Israeli viewers to kick a virtual soccer ball into their TV and win points and Domino’s Pizza.
However, says Melchner, “We and our clients saw how much time it took to create the content and get it approved by the provider — Apple, for example. You had to wait and pray that your app would be ready on time. It was expensive, time-consuming and there were a lot of technical demands. We wanted to do away with all that.”
With ENTiTi Creator, no coding is necessary. “You can upload and place any video, sound or image file, save it, click ‘publish’ and it’s immediately online. If you make a mistake, you just update rather than going through the whole process again.”
This drag-and-drop tool allows artists to do what developers have been doing. “We enable more people to achieve better visual results in minutes or days rather than weeks or months,” says Melchner. “We can even enable new types of business and ways of interacting.”
Douglas Clinton, research analyst at US investment bank Piper Jaffray, said he expects 2016 to set the stage for mass adoption of VR over the next several years. “One of the most important elements will be a broad array of compelling, high-quality content that excites the average consumer about what’s possible.”
Expanding in the US and China
The release of ENTiTi Creator follows WakingApp’s $4.3 million Series C funding round in late 2015 led by Youzu Interactive, a Chinese online game developer and distributor; and one of China’s largest Internet and search companies. Some of the funds are earmarked for expanding ENTiTi Creator and ENTiTi Viewer sales and marketing in the United States and China.
“AR/VR technology… is on the verge of influencing every aspect of our lives. It is an industry that is projecting 13,000% growth in three years and revenues of $150 billion in five years,” said Youzu Interactive Investment Director Daniel Chen Fan. “What impresses us about WakingApp is its ability to overcome a great user barrier by simplifying the way one creates AR/VR content, and we plan to bring this revolution to the Chinese market.”
WakingApp is launching more than 20 ENTiTi templates in 2016 for a VR store, VR gallery, 360-degree interactive pictures, architecture VR, VR trivia and more.
Melchner says he is “curious to see where this will go. When VR becomes very big I hope we will already have thousands of types of content. And it will easily adapt to new platforms.”
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