February 18, 2014 00:00 By Asina Pornwasin The Nation
Innovation Plus to offer products through cloud
Innovation Plus, developer of the popular augmented-reality (AR) application MAYAR, this year plans to move forward from developing and customising applications for customers to create its own products, offering them through the cloud model.
One development is a cloud-based version of its SmartSign digital signage system.
Managing director Nakrin Lerdnamwong said that this year the company’s core businesses were AR browsers, smart devices, and wearable devices. The latter two are new business areas it will get into this year. The flagship product is SmartSign, based on the Android platform.
He said the company aimed to offer SmartSign in the replacement and new-implement markets, as well as digital advertising. It aims to generate about Bt20 million in revenue from this product this year.
The company provides SmartSign hardware in two types, dongles and set-top boxes. It is a wireless system requiring neither cable or local-area-network (LAN) connections. Both the dongle and the set-top box are embedded with a 3G slot that can connect a TV to the Internet and display content programmed in advance by customers.
“The costs for customers are the SmartSign hardware and the hosting fee for storing their content on our cloud. They can increase the number of digital-signage screens with the cost of the SmartSign hardware only, and for content hosting they pay a flat rate. The hosting fee depends on how much content there is and how long it is stored,” Nakrin said.
An advantage of wireless digital signage is that it is easy to implement, easy to maintain, and flexible for changing or adjusting programs.
“Our concept is we build the digital-signage platform on the cloud, then allow customers who buy our products, SmartSign and hosting service to host their content, to log on with username and password,” Nakrin said.
Fuji Restaurant has ordered 51 SmartSign sets to replace its old-platform digital signage on PC and LAN systems in its 40 branches.
“The market opportunities of digital signage are very big. There are demands from existing customers who this year are migrating to wireless digital signage. Also, there are a lot of demands by new customers who need such digital signage with a more flexible system that is not expensive. Our system costs only one-third that of the old digital signage platform. They can start to have digital signage with a couple of screens,” he said.
Another big market for digital signage is the advertising business. He said digital signage could be used for ad displays. The company will work with advertising agencies to deploy this kind of service to the market by the second half of this year.
“There can be two business models. One is to work with advertising agencies to manage ad displays via their networks through digital signage. The other is to act as an ad agency ourselves. With that model, we would need to create our own advertising network with the approach of a digital signage system.”
Nakrin said Innovation Plus would utilise SmartSign software in digital TV set-top boxes to measure consumers’ behaviour when watching TV. He said the company would play the same role as ACNielsen to gather insight information for commercialisation.
He said the beauty of Android smart devices and software was that it could be used in digital TV set-top boxes.
“We can capture this market with our own software. We can gather and analyse it for commercial users. This kind of service will be started in the second half of this year,” he said.
Innovation Plus is also adapting its MAYAR app for the cloud platform to allow people to create their own AR over the Internet. Instead of developing and customising AR applications for customers, now the company allows them to log into the MAYAR cloud via the MAYAR Studio website.
“This is our strategy to expand AR from being business-to-business to business-to-consumer and from one-on-one AR development and matching to ready-to-customise AR. This service is based on the cloud platform. This model will help create wider awareness and greater usage numbers of AR applications on a massive scale,” he said.
He added that this was a free service for now. In the future, the company might offer a “freemium” model, meaning a large number of users before being charged.
“We provide the elements to allow consumers to build their AR applications easily free of charge with limited features. This is to create the experience of using AR among the masses.”
The MAYAR augmented-reality browser is now on beta trial.
Innovation Plus also plans to expand into developing software and applications focusing on wearable devices, which are targeted to be more available in the market this year.
It started with the launch of MotoCeity, a social-network app for motorcyclists. Its features include trip recording, speed recording, maximum speed, photo gallery, average speed, and routes. Users can share their activities on social networks.
“The business model of this app is ‘in-app purchase’, that is, to offer the service free of charge but if users need to keep their information on the cloud they have to pay for,” Nakrin said.
He added that this app could be applied to wearable devices, such as Google Glass once it becomes more affordable. It can also generate revenue from sponsorship.
“This is an exciting year for us. After investing in development and creating the businesses, now we are ready to harvest our investment. We will focus on the domestic market before expanding overseas. We go step by step using our own resources and our partners. We do not need venture capital, but we need business partners who can synergise with us,” Nakrin said.