SQUARS participated in the Augmented World Expo 2023 in Vienna on October 24-25, 2023. Take a look at our insights and find out whether we shared our...
SQUARS at the AWE USA 2023: Insights and Inspiration from the XR Scene
SQUARS participated in the Augmented World Expo 2023 in Santa Clara, CA, from May 31 to Jun 2. Find out what were the highlights and where we found the awe.
SQUARS at the AWE USA 2023
Our team participated at this year's Augmented World Expo 2023 in Santa Clara, California, during May 31 - June 2. Following our successful launch at AWE EU 22 in Lisbon, Portugal last year, we were very excited to showcase our newest features to the XR-enthusiastic public once again.
Read below to find out where we found the awe and what ideas we packed in our bags coming back from the event.
The AWE USA 2023 Trends & Topics
In this year's edition, the Augmented World Expo (AWE) in Santa Clara gathered 400 speakers, 300 exhibitors and 5,000 attendees. While we knew the XR business is indeed thriving and constantly growing in numbers, we were still impressed to see such a high number of professionals and enthusiasts exploring the expo grounds and engaging in so many meaningful interactions.
We could sense there was a lot of enthusiasm for the current state of XR from day one. Ori Inbar, Co-founder and CEO of the AWE, opened the event with his keynote. His ChatGPT-generated speech and avatar presence were quickly eclipsed by his real self, pledging to the audience that neither the XR industry nor the metaverse are dead. In fact, the AWE showed us all that the ecosystem is thriving more than ever.
Building on the revival of the industry narrative, one of the most fervent discussions at the AWE was around how XR technologies can transform different verticals, from healthcare to education, entertainment and commerce.
Unsurprisingly, there was a lot of interest around hardware and the newest devices and headsets, as they are becoming more accessible and wearable. We could see an increasing range of options than ever before at this year's edition, and we are definitely excited to see what's in store for the future of wearables. We are already thinking how we can expand our AR offerings taking the newest devices into consideration.
Despite Artificial Intelligence receiving more attention than any other tech-related subject - at least in the mainstream media - the narrative we encountered at the AWE was one of synergies between the two technologies. Rather than being in competition with one another, AI and XR should in fact be complementary. We are inspired by the potential of this synergy and we're excited to explore how we can integrate AI and build new opportunities for creators and businesses.
Finally, although the XR industry is maturing, there is still a clear need for mutual support, collaboration, and skill development. During the 3-day event, new partnerships, collaboration opportunities, and a wide variety of trainings, masterclasses, and skill-building courses were announced. Our own SQUARS team had the opportunity to lay the foundation for upcoming partnerships and new projects.
Talks, Conversations, Questions and Answers
A very stirring topic at the AWE was the impact of XR technologies on commerce, marketing and brands. Many conversations were centered around the use of XR in retail or commerce and how brands can benefit from integrating XR technologies into their ecosystem.
We had the opportunity to start a conversation about advertising with Augmented Reality, on the Retail, E-commerce and Advertising track on day 2. Ioana Carp, SQUARS' Brand Strategist, found answers to why advertising with AR sucks, unveiling the most common obstacles marketing and advertising professionals encounter when wanting to embark on their AR journey.
The audience was encouraged to reflect on the promise of immersive storytelling, especially when considering brands, and to keep an eye for an easy execution of creative ideas. The main questions following the talk were around building trust in AR and the importance of data for the advertising sector, once again confirming that our efforts of developing analytics features directly into our platform are needed more than ever.
SQUARS State-of-the-Art Live Demonstrations
Our team was eager to showcase the latest product features especially prepared for the AWE. Despite so many exciting exhibitors and technologies, the SQUARS booth received high traffic from the very first hours of the expo. Visitors were excited to try our image tracking technology and one could tell they found awe when a simple piece of paper revealed an augmented jumping astronaut heading to the moon.
Not less impressive was the CloudAR technology we showcased for the first time. With a beautiful series of postcards created by artists in Seoul, our new technology engaged visitors in a seamless AR journey. By simply scanning one QR code, a whole exhibition of animated illustrations was brought to life in front of them.
However, if we could choose one highlight from our live demonstrations, it probably has to be the SQUARS coffee cup. Ever since day one, visitors had the chance to enjoy a cup of coffee provided by us. While most need some caffeine in their life, what was truly special was the cup itself. This awe-inspiring AR experience showcased our latest Shape Target feature, the coffee cup was augmented as a whole 3D shape, only possible thanks to our in-house developed tracking technology.
And what goes better with a warm cup of coffee than something sweet and refreshing? The visitors of the booth could indulge in a sweet treat in the shape of an ice cream cookie sandwich. It was a great conversation starter and, even if some thought we were offering virtual ice cream, we promise it was real and equally indulging. And we admit, the team might have had an ice cream sandwich or two themselves.
To make things even sweeter, we launched a limited offer with the occasion of the AWE: for any purchase of a paid plan, we offered an additional month for free. The offer is still valid until the end of June 2023, so everyone can take advantage of it. With the promo code AWE23SQUARS any user receives one month for free when purchasing any plan!
Unpacking the AWE & SQUARS' Future Plans
Coming back from the event, we are focusing our efforts on designing a reliable WebAR tool for the advertising & marketing sector, making sure professionals have the right, easy-to-use AR platform, while providing access to the data they need to make informed decisions. Additionally, we are making sure our solution is accessible to entities of any size, shape or form.
Shape Target and CloudAR, our novel features developed especially for the event, received a great response during the AWE, therefore we are committed to continuously enhance our product with new offerings.
“I am thrilled to see how the AWE US 2023 has served as a strong guiding point to our expansion efforts, providing invaluable insights into the US market and inspiring our future plans. With a clear roadmap in place, we are excited to leverage this momentum and bring our innovative products to the forefront of the industry.”
Overall, the AWE 2023 was an inspiring event which showcased the latest advancements in XR and provided us with valuable insights on how we can continue to innovate and improve our AR solutions.
We can't pinpoint one single awe-moment, but we can say that the interactions we had at the booth were definitely the highlights of this AWE edition for us. We are delighted to discover that Augmented Reality is present in many corners of life, some more surprising than others. We connected with people interested in augmenting clothes, shoes, body parts, meetings, unconventional art, sports gear, educational handouts and many more. There is nothing more inspiring to us than people wanting to organically integrate augmented reality in their life.
We are super thankful to the team of the AWE for providing a flawless organisation of the event and we're looking forward to the next one. The AWE EU is taking place during October 24-25 in Vienna, Austria - which happens to be our home ground. So, you have every reason to expect even more awe-inspiring moments from us!