BookDao: Can you tell us more about the production process such as what type of people were involved? How much time and manpower was required. And what some of our main challenges encountered during the process.
Anastasia Ly: The process of creating augmented reality books involves a large team of dedicated professionals. Typically, we have a production team consisting of around 100 people working on each book. Our in-house editorial team conducts research to identify topics that are both interesting for kids and aligned with our company's goals. Once the topic is confirmed, we move on to the production phase, where we determine the types of interactions that will be included.
Our creative tech department works on developing the concept and scenario, while the programming team is responsible for implementing the necessary technology. We also have a 3D department that brings characters to life with realistic animations, skins, shaders, and other visual effects. Additionally, we have a sound designer who not only adds sounds but also composes original songs for our books. In fact, some of the songs are created exclusively by our sound designer.
After creating the first demo, we invite kids to our office to interact with the books. Their feedback is invaluable and often leads to improvements in the final product. For example, during one testing session with an Angry Birds book, a programmer thought the game was too difficult and suggested simplifying it. However, the kids in the focus group effortlessly completed the game in just one minute, making it clear that no further simplification was needed. This kind of feedback helps us understand the expectations and preferences of our target audience.
We also receive feedback from customers through our customer and technical support channels, which allows us to gather additional insights and enhance future works. Launching an augmented reality book is not simply about adding augmented reality as a selling point. It is a complex and time-consuming process that requires years of experience to deliver the best possible product for children and their parents. The involvement of a dedicated and skilled team is crucial to the success of these projects.
BookDao: I've noticed that current AR books are mostly encyclopedic in nature. Is DEVAR working on AR books with other themes as well?
Anastasia Ly: We initially started with augmented reality coloring books, which have become a significant part of our product lineup. The unique feature of these books is that children can bring the pages and characters to life in the colors they choose. For example, if there's a dinosaur on the page, they can color it with red pencils, and through augmented reality, the dinosaur will appear as a red-colored creature. It's important to note that the accuracy of the coloring also affects the augmented reality model. If the child colors the page accurately, the model will look more visually appealing.
During testing in Germany, we encountered an interesting situation. As children began using our augmented reality coloring books, they started to expect other coloring books to come to life as well. They would color pages in regular coloring books and then ask their parents to bring them to life, not understanding that only our special coloring books had augmented reality features. This highlights the level of engagement and excitement that augmented reality brings to the coloring experience.
In addition to coloring books, we also offer activity books featuring popular IPs such as Paw Patrol and My Little Pony. These activity books allow kids to explore the characters in different ways and engage in mini-games with their favorite characters like Pinkie Pie and Chase.
Our range of products also includes encyclopedias, such as the Wild series. These are not traditional encyclopedias; they incorporate a storyline where two main characters embark on a journey to find their missing grandpa, who is an explorer. Along the way, they travel the world, encounter various creatures, and learn about them. This combination of storytelling and educational content makes our encyclopedias unique.
Furthermore, our augmented reality experiences extend beyond books. We offer posters, flashcards, fossils, and leaflets that can be used in schools for extra-curricular activities. Teachers can hang space-themed posters in the classroom, allowing students to interact with the augmented reality content. Kindergartens have also integrated our dinosaur books into their STEM lessons, providing a fun and interactive learning experience for young children.
We have also partnered with toy manufacturers to create augmented reality experiences that complement their toys. For example, a company from Hong Kong called East Collide produces anatomy models that perfectly align with our augmented reality content on anatomy. By pointing a camera at the toy, children can see an interactive 3D representation of the anatomy and learn about its different parts.
BookDao: As AR technology continues to evolve, what other applications do you think will come to market? If these new applications were deployed in the five books of this series, what effect would they have? Would you consider re-publishing the series in light of these new developments?
Anastasia Ly: The augmented reality market is poised for continuous growth and development. Apple's recent introduction of their long-awaited headset marks a significant milestone in technology advancement, specifically for augmented reality. This step is expected to have a profound impact on the field of augmented reality and its future prospects.
Augmented reality has found applications in various industries, including marketing, communication, gaming, learning, and professional fields. In marketing, augmented reality allows customers to interact with products directly on the shelf, providing them with additional information and increasing their engagement. Recent polls by marketing agencies indicate that approximately 68% of customers are willing to try augmented reality products if they are available on the shelf, making it an attractive and effective marketing tool.
Augmented reality also serves as a new media channel, enabling users to scan products and directly interact with the brand. Users can access cultural actions and obtain detailed information directly from the producers of the goods. The content associated with augmented reality experiences can be updated quickly by simply changing the QR code, eliminating the need for redesigning packaging. This flexibility allows for dynamic and customizable augmented reality content that enhances user experiences.
Furthermore, augmented reality has made significant contributions to the gaming industry, as demonstrated by the ongoing popularity of games like Pokémon Go. It has also been adopted in the field of education, providing interactive and immersive learning experiences. In professional settings such as medicine, augmented reality glasses are used to perform precise operations and enhance accuracy by providing detailed information about different parts of the human body. Industrial sectors, including construction and architecture, have also embraced augmented reality technology to facilitate design processes and improve efficiency.
As technology continues to advance, new developments in augmented reality are emerging. For example, browser-based augmented reality experiences are becoming more prevalent, eliminating the need for users to install dedicated apps. This approach is particularly appealing to users who are reluctant to install multiple apps on their devices. However, for products like toys or books that require frequent interaction, dedicated apps still offer a more seamless experience. Users can install the app once and easily access the augmented reality content whenever they interact with the product.
In our latest editions, we have introduced augmented reality covers that come to life without the need for any apps. This allows customers to preview the book's content in stores, making an instant decision about whether they like it or not. Once they decide to purchase the book, they can then download the app and fully engage with the augmented reality features.
Overall, augmented reality continues to evolve and find new applications in various industries, enabling interactive and immersive experiences for users while enhancing marketing strategies, communication channels, learning environments, and professional practices.