The Gadgets These 4 Startup Founders Are Hoping To Find In Their Xmas Stockings
This festive season, we peeked into the stockings of 4 innovative startup founders to find out!
Where is augmented reality headed? If a recent hubraum pitching session is anything to go by, gaming is the future, “no code” authoring tools are huge and all the new user experiences that AR will enable could be revolutionary.
But let’s rewind. A few months ago, we published a call for applications for our new augmented reality program, Snapdragon Spaces. Together with our program partner, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., we were looking for startups who were utilizing the Snapdragon Spaces™ XR Developer Platform to create AR apps. Introduced back in November 2021, Snapdragon Spaces offers proven technology and an open, cross-device horizontal platform and ecosystem to bring developers’ ideas to life and revolutionize the possibilities of headworn AR (and is available to download now — see for yourself at https://spaces.qualcomm.com/)
Throughout May, our jury fielded pitches from 17 incredible startups from all over the world — everywhere from Bulgaria to Portugal to Trinidad & Tobago. We spoke to three of the jury members from the pitching day — hubraum Program Manager Tim Akgül, Deutsche Telekom’s Product Manager for XR and Consumer IoT Jan Speich, Deutsche Telekom’s Head of Business Development XR Elmar Schrage and Qualcomm Technologies, Inc.’s Director of XR Business Development Kathy Braegger — to find out about AR trends and to ask for tips on how you can hone your pitching skills.
Elmar: First of all, it is amazing to see that so many creative developers are engaged in the area of XR. You can feel their passion for innovating in this area, which will eventually change the way we work, play and interact with digital information. Gaming, education & training continue to be important, as well the way we work and communicate in the future.
Tim: I couldn’t agree more, it is very exciting to see the quality and creativity of the developer community when it comes to building great XR apps. For several years we have witnessed a rise in immersive use cases, many new concepts and products that will impact people’s day-to-day lives — for example, MyFinder helps people with visual impairments locate objects or connect with an able-sighted volunteer in real time.
Jan: In my opinion, two major trends emerged during the pitching session. There was a clear trend of providing “no code” authoring tools for creating 3D content/XR experiences e.g. for education purposes. We also saw a trend of startups providing entertainment experiences ranging from games to music to new experiences for theme parks.
Kathy: To echo what others have already said – it is really encouraging to see the enthusiasm coming from the XR developer community and see companies and startups exploring various use cases and industries that can benefit from headworn AR.
Tim: What I find most appealing is the combination of a great product (designed with a sales-oriented mentality), a well-structured, authentic pitch, an organized team, plus a healthy dose of confidence. I find it impressive if I get to meet a team who has already thought in detail about their target group and PR opportunities, as well as the technological side of things.
Kathy: For me, the most persuasive pitches came from those participants who were able to clearly communicate their vision for the user experience. As this is new territory for most, clearly explaining the utility and tangible value of their app or experience for headworn AR is essential. Pitches that were able to tie their vision to how consumers would directly benefit were the most exciting.
Jan: That all sounds essential. But the pitches that impressed me the most were those that presented ideas about using XR to create new user experiences that had never occurred to me before. The pitches from PatchXR and Spree Interactive revealed that XR is much more than just transferring existing use cases into 3D form. I was blown away by the pitches which focused on the company’s product and put less emphasis on financial figures. Additionally, I was most impressed by the pitches which were able to visualize the functionality and purpose of the product (for example, by showing us a demo video).
Elmar: Yeah, that video was great! Personally, I was most impressed by the teams who understood two things: firstly the potential that AR has for the future and the massive opportunity these startups have in getting to engage so early with us and Qualcomm. Plus, secondly, those who understood the power of telcos and Qualcomm and how they would be able to reduce the technology barrier for consumers on the hardware side while at the same time benefitting from the power of Deutsche Telekom in terms of its network and market reach in US and Europe.
Kathy: We are entering a stage where XR moves from being a novelty to a utility phase, with many developers possessing hands-on experience and a comprehensive understanding of how to create value using technology. Some projects presented showed how they can benefit from multiple Snapdragon Spaces features which helps to showcase AR at its best.
Jan: I think that XR and MR are currently in a similar state to the initial smartphone ecosystem. There is not one single “killer use case” for XR and MR, but the field’s real value is found in its sheer multitude of different use cases. While it’s still early days when it comes to the XR and MR ecosystem, I believe in terms of potential, it will outgrow the smartphone market in the future.
Tim: I am most excited about meeting these creative minds and founders in person (the pitches happened via video call). Finally, an event on a global scale with partners from all over the ecosystem coming together. That is in and of itself exciting, especially when combined with the power of the network, Qualcomm’s great platform and the developer teams’ use cases. I’m looking forward to seeing the next tangible customer experience around XR evolve, bit by bit, over the next four months.
Jan: Much like Tim, for me, it’s all about the in-person experience. I’m most excited about getting real hands-on demos in a couple of months. I’m especially looking forward to trying out PatchXR’s music experience (they let you build entirely new musical instruments and play electronic music in the metaverse) and the theme park entertainment experience from Spree Interactive.
Elmar: For me, building is key, as is the technological aspect. I am excited to get the teams up and running on the Snapdragon Spaces platform and see what they will be able to build during the program. What I’m hoping for? That we push the boundaries of what is possible today and create experiences which fuel the AR ecosystem’s success.
Kathy: When we announced Snapdragon Spaces, we received so much positive feedback from the developer community and our partners. Now we’re entering a really exciting moment in time and get to see these amazing startups leverage the tools we created to bring to life a variety of experiences that demonstrate how headworn devices can bring augmented reality to the next level.