There are times when technology can still truly surprise you, and Friday morning’s #blogbus visit to metaio was, happily, one of those occasions.
I remember not too long ago the first time I showed my father an iPad and just what you could now do on the move. His face was a picture, he genuinely looked like a guy in a sci-fi movie who had arrived in the future and didn’t really understand the world in which he was.
I wouldn’t go quite that far with metaio but as someone who is used to technology, who has grown up around it and worked with it for many years, it’s nice to know that you can still be blown away.
metaio’s augmented reality solutions really do feel like the stuff of sci-fi movies. It is not that long ago that the likes of Paul Verhoeven and Ridley Scott were using AR stuff in their films, and cinema audiences were left suitably, and intentionally, gobsmacked. Think of the 3-D interactive screens used by Tom Cruise in Minority Report and you’re in the right neighbourhood. metaio’s AR tools are doing that stuff now, but in an almost worryingly everyday way.
metaio works with companies like Lego and IKEA to make catalogues and products virtually visible and realised. If you want to see how a table or bookcase from the IKEA catalogue might look in your living room, you can now do so. Point your iPad at the relevant product in the IKEA catalogue and you can have it appear in your room to see how it matches the coffee table and curtains. The IKEA catalogue – a massive 250 million each print run – is all now AR-enabled. The company’s goal is to change the physical catalogue entirely into a digital version eventually, and it is metaio that is helping make that happen.
Take the kids to a toy store and flashing your junaio-enabled iPad or iPhone across a Lego product box makes the toy within jump into 3-D, animated life. Our #blogbus attendees varied in experience at metaio but there were jaws of all ages dropping.
We met with metaio’s MD, the hugely welcoming Roman Hasenbeck, who told us with disarming frankness that metaio are already working with many of the companies we all encounter and deal with on a daily basis. metaio’s junaio browser technology is immensely impressive and at the risk of sounding like I’m giving them free PR here, looks like the sort of thing that will be default technology used by everyone in a year or two. Roman’s office has a couple of surfboards in it by the way. It’s almost hard not to hate him. “By 2014 augmented reality will be on every smartphone” said Roman – and it’s hard not to believe him.
Roman was kind enough to divulge a little of metaio’s culture and spoke about how the innovation around this kind of technology would be hard to achieve anywhere else. The future feel of their solutions felt entirely in keeping with the Valley region, and you do find yourself wondering if that kind of forward-thinking and creation can or does really exist anywhere else. Roman said that he attends networking events every other week or so, which also feels like a staple of the Valley culture. The knock-on creativity effect is everywhere.
As one of the organisers I’d like to say a big thank you to Trak Lord, metaio communications and marketing head, for arranging our visit and to Roman for a fascinating overview of the company, its solutions, culture and where it’s going. The #blogbus team definitely enjoyed themselves and a great photo-op was had too. If you’re reading this and based in Europe, or indeed anywhere outside of Silicon Valley, it’s possible that you won’t have heard of metaio. I think you may do very soon.