Arilyn aims to be among the pioneers to make Augmented Reality the number one media channel of the future.
Virtual (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) technology and their application are increasingly gaining attention around the globe and the United States is no exception. The opportunities on the market have not gone unnoticed by Finnish and Nordic VR and AR companies that have been showcasing their business three times in the U.S. in 2016 alone. One of these companies is Finnish Arilyn – an AR platform provided by a creative technology startup Robust North Ltd. We had a pleasure to meet Arilyn’s CEO and co-founder Emmi Jouslehto last week and talk a little bit about Augmented Reality, its possibilities and what makes Arilyn special. Arilyn was also one of the companies attending the Nordic VR Night, which took place in New York on October 3.
Augmented Reality is about adding virtual content to the physical environment, i.e. literally augmenting the real world by adding a virtual dimension. This can be information, entertainment, visual content, or often all of these. From the user’s perspective the difference to Virtual Reality is that VR goggles are not necessarily needed – a smartphone or a tablet can be enough. “Virtual Reality isolates you from the real world and you step into a totally different environment, the virtual one,” Emmi Jouslehto explains. Since AR applications such as Arilyn are at the moment more user-friendly it also makes them attractive for marketing purposes.
Jouslehto sees endless possibilities in Augmented Reality that are not limited to only marketing and entertainment. “So far we have focused on marketing, entertainment, and commercial settings because that’s where the clients have been more receptive and ready to apply this technology – but then again there is a vast amount of possibilities to apply it elsewhere too. Education sector is one example; there has been a lot of interest in utilizing this technology in teaching. Industrial sector is another one; they have been interested in how AR solutions could be used in providing for example maintenance instructions,” Jouslehto says.
Considering the ongoing technological change and the information-rich world we live in, people today are selective in their consumption of both commercial and non-commercial media content. This is exactly where Jouslehto sees a market opportunity for AR solutions and specifically for Arilyn. “The big change that will probably happen is that we start to think about Augmented Reality as a new media channel instead of seeing it as a marketing trick for individual campaigns,” Jouslehto explains. She is expecting this shift to happen soon, probably in the course of next couple of years.
Jouslehto compares it with the previous leaps companies have taken in adopting new technology, such as making a website in the 1990’s or later on optimizing websites for mobile viewing, both of which took place rather rapidly. The pattern was basically the same: a new technology is first adopted only by a small group of pioneers, but soon becomes the standard as a result of the changing marketplace and the technology becoming more accessible to everyone.
Jouslehto also stresses the role of interesting and engaging content and knowing your target group. She expects consumers to become increasingly selective in what kind of media content they are interested in and want to consume, but at the same time to also become more engaged with those brands, causes, media and people they follow. She believes that this is something Arilyn can leverage by finding the right clients and providing users with experiences and content that is meaningful for them.
Jouslehto says that Arilyn aims to be one of the pioneers in this field by offering the most versatile AR platform that allows their clients to create engaging content and memorable experiences for the consumers.
Arilyn has two sides: ArilynManager and Arilyn App. Arilyn Manager for companies is the technology platform combining augmented reality, location intelligence and interactive media. Arilyn App, which is free to download from AppStore or Google Play, is meant for consumers to view and interact with the campaigns.
Arilyn’s tech platform is the same for all of their clients, allowing the company to have customers around the world. And since there is a lot of interest in the U.S. for Augmented and Virtual Reality at the moment, Arilyn is now exploring business opportunities in the market. User volumes are another reason why the U.S. market is attractive for Arilyn: “In Finland the user base is inevitably limited because of our small population, whereas in the U.S. the potential amount of users is much larger,” says Jouslehto. This also probably means there is more willingness to put effort into content creation and think big, and generally people here seem very open to adopting new technologies, she explains.
This week Arilyn’s first project in the U.S. sees the daylight in the recently renovated main hall at Union Station in Washington, D.C. Using Arilyn’s platform the client Premier Tourist and Landmark Association (PTALA) has created an AR experience that brings the history of this venue alive. The experience will open to the public on October 14.
Text: Niina Lehtimäki