CASE: inde TURNs ar INTO BUSINESS GROWTH STORY
To benefit from the boom in China's tourism and entertainment sectors, many of the country's theme parks, scenic spots, and entertainment centres want to upgrade their facilities.
This has created a growth opportunity for INDE, a company which started in 2011 with a contract from National Geographic to develop a large screen augmented reality (AR) experience, and has since acquired a much wider reputation for technical expertise and an enviable client base.
INDE is a market leader in AR solutions, which it markets under the banner "Experience Engineering". Its products range from immersive AR photo kiosks and AR apps for mobile devices to large screen AR implementations, and real-time interactive 3D Avatars. These products bring digital tools to physical locations, helping retailers and leisure operators attract customers into stores and attractions, and retain them with entertainment, information, and offers.
At the time of writing, the company has installed permanent AR systems across six Chinese cities. These include at Beijing Aquarium, at Songcheng parks in Hangzhou, Guilin and Lijiang, at Daocheng Yading scenic resort, in Shansi Daiyang Ancient Town, and at a family entertainment centre in Weifang.
(Above: One of the INDE screens at a Songcheng park in China. Image: company's own)
The AR sector is growing by an estimated 20-30 per cent year, and INDE aims to increase its business in China significantly. To support the company's international expansion, it has invested in local staff and an office in an appropriate time zone. Currently, it has locations in the UK, Hong Kong, Budapest and Los Angeles, and more than 20 employees.
INDE has three main lines of business: Physical AR - when clients buy systems packaged with INDE-owned content package licenses, or bespoke commissioned content; Mobile AR - a comprising platform license with the content typically developed; and Retail AR, purchased on a 'Software as a Service' model. Clients include Universal Studios, FOX, Adidas, WWF, and the BBC.
(Above: AR Dinosaurs entertain vistors to a Songcheng Park. Image: company's own)
It argues that its ability to combine off the shelf content with immediate worldwide delivery, as well as its commitment to integrating the latest technologies (such as computer vision which measures visitor engagement), make it a technical leader in its sector.
What does the company think would encourage more UK-China exports and business collaborations between both countries?
It says there "should be more opportunities for UK businesses to be put in direct contact with decision-makers from major game players in China" , ideally through links with officials, "to help increase the level of communication and facilitate decision-making".
It offers two main bits of advice to UK creative businesses looking to expand into the Chinese market:
- "To be physically present in China is important, but this does not mean that you cannot conduct business in China from overseas."
- "Cultural senstivity (the understanding of Chinese business culture and language) is the key to maintaining a positive relationship with Chinese partners."
INDE has generated 90 per cent of its business outside the UK since it was incorporated, and in addition to China, it is also targeting future growth in the USA, the Middle East and the EU.
Other organisations it has worked with are The Coca-Cola Company, American Express, Heineken, Warner Bros., Pizza Hut, 7-Eleven, and the Smithsonian Institution.
More information at https://www.indestry.com/
Watch a demonstration video here.