Q&A WITH PHIL CHARNOCK, SALES AND MARKETING MANAGER, DRAW & CODE
TELL US ABOUT DRAW & CODE – WHO YOU ARE AND WHAT YOU DO:
Draw & Code is an immersive technology studio. We produce bespoke work for innovation-hungry clients and also develop our own products.
IN A YEAR OF INCREDIBLE CHALLENGES, CAN YOU SHARE SOME POSITIVE NEWS THAT’S HAPPENED FOR DRAW & CODE OVER THE LAST 12 MONTHS?
Perhaps our most positive news is that we didn’t need to furlough staff and we were able to work well together without actually being together. Interactive technology and entertainment has really come into its own under lockdown conditions, so we have found that while event-based work was postponed, there were new clients looking for ways that AR and VR can connect home audiences.
Our AR work with Sony Music continued through 2020; we have now developed five campaigns with them that have amassed millions of views and a prestigious award. After working on immersive installations for National Museums Liverpool’s smash-hit 'Terracotta Warriors' exhibition, we are researching ways the museum group can utilise XR tech and build on its digitisation strategy. We also received support from the Future Innovation Fund to develop a VR events platform in response to Covid.
WHO SHOULD HAVE DRAW & CODE ON THEIR ‘ONES TO WATCH’ LIST?
As with any digital and creative company, Draw & Code’s partners span a wide range of sectors. Our sweet spot is when a client comes to us with a project that is on the edge of what is possible. Any brands that are willing to work in partnership on R&D-focused AR, VR or interactive installations should speak to us, especially if they want to work up the ideal strategy and specification of the project in tandem with us.
WHAT NEW OR EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES ARE YOU EXCITED ABOUT RIGHT NOW AND WHY?
All XR technologies are moving at a frantic pace, it’s hard to just pick one! Web AR is rapidly growing as a medium and catching up with app-based AR. 5G will be the ideal enabling technology for web AR that will help it to be used in more sectors than marketing, where it is proving to be a stunningly effective tool.
AR is just one facet of computer vision, a broader area of technology with the potential for profound change. We have recently been working on two projects involving skeletal tracking using a conventional smartphone camera that has really got us thinking. While Apple is installing Lidar (a Light Detection and Ranging scanner that will improve the experience of AR on iPhones) on its phones, software solutions will soon make far more humble cameras just as powerful. Automated vehicles will be enabled by computer vision, but expect to see more and more apps that have this technology at their heart. The first computer-vision unicorns are coming!
Virtual production is a fascinating area as more and more movies are being created using game engine technology and XR techniques. Supporting technologies such as volumetric capture are also moving quickly with companies like Scatter in New York or Volograms in Dublin pioneering volumetric as an accessible medium.
WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES FOR DRAW & CODE OVER THE NEXT 12 MONTHS?
Obviously the lack of events during the last year has been tough. As specialists in event-based uses of immersive technology, we are looking to that changing. We are based in Liverpool, but have worked with clients across the globe and the double-whammy of Brexit and Covid can only make travelling to events and making connections with new partners more difficult. Immersive technology is not complete without you; it needs to be experienced to be fully appreciated, making persuading people of its merits that little bit more difficult right now.
WHO IS ON YOUR ‘ ONES TO WATCH’ LIST AT THE MOMENT AND WHY?
Electric Gamebox are a bold and ambitious UK startup who are making moves in the LBE (location-based entertainment) space. They already have four venues open and are planning on developing sophisticated yet instantly accessible game experiences for all ages.
Yorkshire-based VR specialists Cooperative Innovations have just revealed the first 3D music video using Sony’s remarkable Spatial Display for rendering 3D images, it will be exciting to see what else they do in 2021.
SXSW Interactive award winner, Telly Award best campaign, HAX and Tech North Northern Star alumni.
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