Sai Kambampati - October 1, 2021
In the past decade, humans have been subject to new apps that let them share various content. From images and selfies, to full length videos, to short, home-made videos. Take a look below at some of the past decade's most popular platforms. With every new app, we are simply adding a new content type but the digestion of media is very much the same.
However, in the next decade, I believe there will be a revolution in consumer technology. We've transitioned from personal computers to handheld smartphones to wrist-focused smartwatches. I believe the next advent is going to be wearables that capture our reality through mobile cameras with powerful sensors. With tech titans and startups pioneering the next age of wearables, Airgift aims to secure its role into the future by becoming the first of many apps to take AR content mainstream. Until now, "AR content" is only known as Snapchat Lenses or Instagram Filters. This is just the tip of a glorious iceberg. I believe AR will transform the complete pipeline of social media: from how content is created to how it is consumed. Airgift wishes to tackle both problems.
However, there's much to be done on all sides, especially with hardware. While companies with a more vast set of resources are tackling this challenge, my primary goal is to layout the software so that when these wearables become more mainstream, Airgift can hit the ground running. By having this competitive edge and spending the next couple of years (2021-2025) focusing on AR/XR technologies and spending time experimenting with what can make them seamless and immersive, we can rapidly accelerate our mission.
Our mission is to advance authentic human connection by using augmented reality to spark creative, immersive and playful experiences.
A brand motto is a mantra we repeat to ourselves again and again. It lets us know which features we should add and is a very simple shortcut to accomplishing our mission. As a North Star to all of our design and development efforts, I believe it's worth taking the time to explain this motto.
We're straying away from arbitrary statistics such as likes and followers. Instead, we're experimenting with new ways to help users feel more connected to what you have created. We hope this encourages users to capture their reality as is so they can share their authentic selves with others.
As with any AR endeavor, it's important for users to be immersed in this new format. While we handle a lot of the AR creation, it's important that users feel as if 3D models and experiences are right there in front of them. We hope that an immersive experience creates a more positive experience.
Airgift is a social media app. As such, we want users to have quality connections over the app instead of prioritizing quantity. Research has shown how AR tends to help with human connection and can even change their behavior. We'd like to make sure this is being used positively.
The Problem: It's too complicated! Right now, if an average user wanted to create an AR experience, they would be subjected to apps like Reality Composer, Spark AR, Lens Studio, Adobe Dimension/Aero, and many more. It needs to be simple and easy for everyone to use.
The Problem: Content. Interaction. Experience. I believe these are the 3 biggest problems that are preventing AR from making any strides beyond a dog filter for our faces (I love filters don't get me wrong but still). The way for Airgift to tackle each of these is to develop unique features and applications to solve each one of these problems (while also hoping other startups do their part of pushing the industry forward).
Content refers to the AR-specific media users will want to consume. As of 2021, there is a lack of well designed and simple apps that make users want to place 3D objects in their world. How often do you want a T-Rex in the living room? Another issue is that 3D objects are hard to create. There should be a delicate balance between quality of experiences and quantity of experiences being created.
Interacting with AR should feel like they are in our environment, as with most AR creations. This means using the best interaction device we have: our hands! Being able to recognize gestures and manipulate 3D models would be the next step from touch input. Aside from this, any product created by Airgift should be simple and easy to interact with. While we are building for the future, it should feel familiar and usable.
AR is amazing when you can be mobile and active. But most of the time, humans prefer convenience. So an app which requires you to always calibrate, have good lighting, and be able to interact with a phone will eventually be lost on human nature. It's again why AR has been limited to filters- because the UX is simple. Any AR solution should account for the experience and be able to function regardless of mobility.
So that's the master plan. Improve AR creation and AR consumption by elevating the content, interaction, and experience in each domain.
And there's a plan to get there.
Release the Airgift beta and after significant testing, release the iOS app to the App Store.
Domain: Content and Experience
Refine the app while also elevating the content on the iOS app. Keep hashing out bugs and improvements to refine the experience.
Domain: Content, Interaction, and Experience
Use traction to work on improving the interaction using machine learning. Develop two new applications with a specific focus on content and experience. Further refine the connections aspects of the applications.
Domain: Content, Interaction, and Experience
Launch all applications.
Does the above roadmap look a little vague? Everything is always a little up in the air (pun not intended) so this plan can change at any time. But I believe that this is the framework that will not only drive Airgift but can drive so many other AR apps to wild adoption in this new world. And as for the applications and features above, you'll have to wait a bit longer to see how these chess pieces play out. But I hope this sparked your curiosity in Airgift and the future of AR. If you're interested, I am looking to hire people to help me execute this vision and would love to have you join the Airgift Crew. If you're interested, reach out on Twitter or Email.
Until next time, Sai