At the end of 2019, after a bunch of weekly lunch discussions about a broad range of topics, from AI to holograms, Bram, my brother, decided to take the plunge. With a knack for topics about new markets, Bram challenged himself to create something from scratch which could entice others.
With a background in machine learning, AI, neural networks, and so on, he set out to develop something new, not yet knowing what would grasp his attention. And I, having had a career in startups, definitely understood the attraction of entrepreneurship.
There’s nothing like the thrill of starting something new, which comes with typical known- and unknown challenges. Indeed, the challenges that came with the decision Bram made, aren’t to be taken lightly. And, of course, there it went, the little free time I had. I was more than happy to help where I could with suggestions, lessons learned, good intended tips, context and a framework to guide where necessary. As a Product Owner should.
Curiosity and how AR will disrupt many things
After finishing my last job, I’ve started a new venture that specifically focuses on Product Ownership within Raccoons Group. So what better way to practice what TPO Agency preaches, than by helping my brother with his ambition to create the next big thing!
In my capacity as a Product Owner, I have been assisting Bram for the past year in my spare time to discuss, contextualize, analyze and concretize his ambitious Augmented Reality ideas. Obviously, as a product owner should, I’ve learned incredibly much. My knowledge of AR was fairly limited at the time. However, after a few months of studying and prototyping, we decided to build an app called AiR, focused on creating holograms, straight from your phone.
Holograms: A new AR-approach
"Something," dixit Bram, "on the surface that seems to have to do little with machine learning and AI, but when you dig deeper, everything suddenly seems to connect.”
And that’s especially true for the niche that we’ve chosen, which is creating holograms. To guide us further in this AR-landscape, we decided to take on an even bigger challenge. Our product had to enable the user to create a hologram with a simple smartphone. So, we made sure AiR does just that: it offers you the opportunity to record a 3D video of yourself and subsequently it shows this hologram in augmented reality. In addition, you can share your holograms with others.
Maybe we shouldn't just keep on experiencing content in 2D, or communicate in 2D. Maybe we should strive for something more immersive, yet affordable. That’s exactly AiR’s mission. AiRs, which is how we call the holograms, are very realistic and intimate, easy to use (no volumetric studio, etc. needed) and instant (it's as easy as recording a video on your phone).
The app is now in bèta and the release in the app store is scheduled by the end of the year. Meanwhile, we’re gathering further feedback from our early users to adapt as quickly as possible, to find what is commonly known as the product-market fit. I am, together with my colleagues at TPO Agency, very excited and fortunate that we can learn so much from this.