The entertainment industry has often been the go-to option to test the promise of augmented reality across the globe. The experiment is still in its evolutionary stages despite all the progress.
A welcome addition in this direction is the 'AR X AR' app, developed by Avantari Technologies in collaboration with Apple. The app will have A R Rahman interact with his fans like never before. Taking one step ahead from their attempts with Telugu film Nene Raju Nene Mantri and Kapil Dev in the past, this app aims to help the star reach out to his fans on a one-to-one basis — selfies, videos and exclusive messages are initial additions to the same.
A R Rahman is among the first in the film industry to have an AR app dedicated to him.
‘Championing for AR’
Talking of the collaboration with Apple and the advantages of this initiative, Bhairav Shankar from the team says, “Apple had immediately come on board when A R Rahman gave a nod. They have championed for AR like no other in the industry-their efforts towards the AR kit is proof of that. The reach that Apple has got in this space is yet to be matched.”
Avantari had worked with Apple over two months for the project. As we speak, they're already in talks about new portals being added in the same app. “In the future you might have a fan asking Rahman to hear a song and knowing how good it is, the interaction is bound to get personal in the future. Not many fans know how he composes songs, here he'll be doing that in front of them.”
One of the major inspirations behind this idea is the hologram campaign launched by the PM, they say. “We took time to understand it would be an ideal blend to AR. Hololens and other wearable devices are indeed the future. John Paoletto (the director of the company) was mentioning about it being a 100 billion $ industry, it's the merger between the real and the digital that'll give rise to such numbers.” The reason behind the exclusive app for A R Rahman also happens to be his global stature.”Every celebrity would want to interact with his/her own fans and A R Rahman wanted something more personalised. It's as good as his personal podcast.”
Among the enhancements the developers plan to include is the composer helping aspirants knowing how good their song is, another facet is Rahman playing the teacher for their music lessons. Yet John doesn't over necessitate the importance of a celebrity's stature with respect to the idea. “That person's audience needs to have a phone that can access it. The stature doesn't matter much at the end of the day.”
But aren't they neglecting the bigger reach they would be getting with a social media channel for AR, instead of a celebrity driven approach? “A social media like channel for all celebrities is an idea that we've talked about in the past, but there were time-bound obstacles, like enough people having smart phones to access that. Once that gets to a certain level, we may go ahead with it,” John replies.The next area of interest in terms of AR for Avantari is artificial intelligence.
Bhairav tacks on, “For movie promotions, we already have Appstar. What we are trying to understand is to make things more interesting for the end-user, a lot of our focus is now on machine learning where the outlook of communication undergoes a huge change. The aim is to create a channel exclusively for AR.”
From an industry perspective, the team accepts that not everyone has a clue about how could AR be channelised. John says, “The opportunities are huge. AR can change everything for education. You could be in another continent and the subject matter would reach out to you in a different dimension-engineering or any other course.”
They're in talks with the education sector that's finding AR's application in it phenomenal. “It's about making something appear when it isn't there. Even when we talk to new clients, there's an educational process on what we exactly do with AR. We've brought A R Rahman to your home, the industry will progress on the basis of how we innovate next after this.”
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