Augmented reality blossoms into life in Dublin (video)

16 Apr 2014

The blossoming of augmented reality (AR) into a viable marketing and entertainment tool is a real opportunity for Ireland in terms of its heritage in the fields of arts and technology, the founder of the first AR conference in Ireland told

Alex Gibson, the assistant head of the College of Arts and Tourism at Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT), and instigator of the AR Marketing Conference which took place in Dublin yesterday, explained Ireland is well placed for a new era in transmedia storytelling.

“It’s a real opportunity for Ireland. The focus will move to the creative platforms and Ireland is well placed in terms of the strong technical ability combined with a heritage of storytelling,” Gibson said.

At the conference, the CEO and founder of Glassware Foundry Dave Lorenzini pointed out that AR is exactly that – “adding” to the reality of the world around us.

Lorenzini said that with the advent of Google’s Glass eyewear, the computing world is on the cusp of the most exciting time in a decade.

“Glass enables an almost effortless interaction with the world around you and puts things into your view.”

The new mass media for traditional media

Lorenzini said the technology has the potential to redefine computing very much as the iPhone did in 2007 when it was first launched.

“I could look at a sign in Chinese and Glass would translate it for me,” he said, adding the technology could lead to a groundswell of change in everything from industrial and medical applications to video gaming.

“AR is the new mass media that will supercharge all of the other previous mass media.”

An example of how Irish indigenous software companies can thrive in this new era of AR is vStream, a company founded in Dublin that has done compelling AR storytelling work for major brands ranging from the Aviva Stadium in Dublin and Westfield Shopping Centres in the UK, as well as Formula 1 racing team McLaren.

“Dublin has the creativity and the technology to create engagement in a new era defined by AR,” explained vStream director Andrew Jenkinson.

Global technology companies to watch in the AR space include DAQRI, which focuses on a myriad of educational, medical and entertainment applications in the 4D world.

DAQRI CEO Brian Mullins said you don’t need to be a programmer to create AR products to tell a story.

“If you are telling a story and use AR to tell an engaging story you are effectively creating a valuable experience.

“DAQRI makes tools for engaging experiences, such as real-time learning in an industrial environment.

“There are a lot of applications where AR is becoming more and more valuable,” Mullins said.

Augmented reality in Dublin 

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years