The Round is a London based company founded by theatre producers, Pip Brignall and Thomas Winsor. By exploring immersive mediums and advanced tech, The Round is dedicated to finding unique ways for artists to express their creativity and tell engaging stories.
The Round app, launched in 2021 uses pioneering real-time motion/facial-capture and multiplayer gaming technology to transform your immediate surroundings into an immersive, virtual venue via your mobile device.
Imagine your favourite band performing an intimate live session in your front room; your favourite author reading an extract of their new book and then taking a live Q&A from your own sofa; your favourite comedian performing a stand-up routine in your kitchen; a live murder mystery where your home is the setting. The world really can become a stage!
Using the latest in AR technology, The Round app facilitates premium, live, holographic performances - whereby artists, creatives, performers and brands can virtually enter locations worldwide, for a shared and intimate experience with their audiences.
In 2020, the theatre and the wider arts industries were devastated by the Coronavirus pandemic. With live performances unable to take place physically and as creators and theatre producers themselves, The Round’s Co-Founders, Pip Brignall and Thomas Winsor, wanted to explore how technology could help keep the industry alive. Not only did they find a way to do this, but they also found an exciting and innovative way to harness the power of live performance - offering genuinely meaningful and engaging story-telling experiences to entertainment-starved audiences.
Receiving government funding from Innovate UK’s COVID Response Grant in summer 2020, Pip and Thomas were able to set the wheels in motion. Following the successful delivery of the prototype, The Round received further funding from Innovate UK to deliver a scalable platform for creating and distributing Live AR entertainment at scale.
The Round’s first project saw them working with EE and world-renowned recording artist Liam Payne. Powered by EE’s 5G technology and The Round’s live performance facilitating app, Liam Payne virtually entered houses across the UK to perform ‘Midnight’ as an opener to the 2021 EE British Film Academy Awards ceremony, in a world-first live Augmented Reality performance.
The groundbreaking campaign for EE BAFTA 2021 highlighted a gap in the global creative technology market for a dedicated distribution point for immersive experiences for fans and consumers to engage with their favourite performers and brands. A current barrier to the growth of consumer immersive experiences is the cost of developing a new app for each activation. The Round is making its tools available to other immersive content studios to distribute unique and engaging content for audiences globally in one intuitive and accessible location. This will lower the barriers to entry and encourage rapid adoption and growth of the creative immersive technology industry and market in the UK and globally. By being the first-to-market, The Round is in a strong position to lead this growth and become a British global tech powerhouse demonstrating its traditional and future creative and technological talent across the world.
By the end of 2021 we will have delivered two Live AR Experiences, our first delivered with EE/BAFTAS was a world first Live AR experience and our second will be delivered using a scalable Cloud Solution with the ability to distribute to the whole world in real-time. We will have also delivered a Pilot Offline Interactive Experience on the app that incorporates Multiplayer functions for a shared as-live immersive experience.
At The Round, we believe that storytelling, interactive performance and brand engagement can be unlocked to create a powerful and meaningful consumer experience harnessing the power of advanced tech. As the UK slowly eases itself out of the grips of a global pandemic, it is crucial that creative technology is harnessed to support the recovery of the performing arts and retail industries. The Round offers a unique opportunity to symbiotically achieve this through interactive brand-sponsored experiences on our user-friendly mobile app.
We have begun work with several of the UK’s largest content studios, also global industry leaders, to create work for The Round app and believe that with the right network and support, we can place British creativity and technological innovation at the forefront of a global movement towards a more engaged and meaningful tech transformation. We have been supported so far by Innovate UK, Digital Catapult, StoryFutures, Epic Games and EE, and hope that our open and accessible platform can continue to support growth in the sector with the support of the Creative Industries Council.