Osama AbdelKarim is a founder of Graphmented, an app that makes stunning charts using AR. He is an entrepreneur with a passion to achieve the strongest impact on the world by crafting code and leading brilliant minds.
He is a co-founder of Vimov growing it to more than $1 million in revenue. While working at Vimov his leadership helped its products reach a user base of 10 million people all over the world. He is going to talk to us about how you need to move your technology to markerless tracking, and how you do it.
[nectar_dropcap color=””]Y[/nectar_dropcap]ou are listening to the VR AR Pioneers podcast, brought to you by Admix.in. We interview top professionals who share their exact formulas for success in development, growth and funding an XR startup, and I’m your host, Juan Felipe Campos. Okay. VR, AR, pioneers. Remember on every episode we give away resources to help you grow your VR AR project. To enter the giveaway, subscribe to the podcast on iTunes and message the word “done” to Admix.in/giveaway to prove that you did it again, visit Admix.in/giveaway and message the word “done” to prove it and get your free resources.
Juan: 00:48 Hello and welcome to another episode. Today we have a very special guest and your name is. Osama. And Osama what are you working on?
Osama: 00:58 We are working on an app called Graphmented. It visualizes data like charts and tables in augmented reality, and users can explore charts and tables in a, in a very enjoyable way by placing people in their roles and on the desk and showing them others as well.
Juan: 01:24 And the great thing about Graphmentedred and what does Osama has done with this. It’s one of the most stable technologies that I’ve seen for creating mixed reality, mixed reality experience for professionals. It’s very, very stable. It’s very beautiful, and the thing that jumps out to me the most is that it doesn’t use any marker, icon, token, QR Code, nothing like that to generate the projections. It actually has great context of its surroundings and Osama is going to talk to us about the importance of doing, AR experiences, mixed reality experiences using technology like this that all of us have access to and why it’s the inevitable future if you are in this space to already start thinking in terms of how you need to move your technology to markerless, markerless tracking, so how do you do it? What are you thinking in terms of that Osama?
Osama: 02:15 Okay, well, so augmented reality used to be dependent on, on, on markers in the past who have seen many apps that a, that asks you to put the QR code so that it can augment an object over it. But actually this is not augmented reality and I call it augmented QR codes, but that’s not augmented reality because to augment reality, you need a reality to be augmented, you need a desk, you need a chair and so on. But what was interesting for us to start to augment reality when we sold ARKit list by Apple, the ARKit in the library that Apple developed in last summer and it’s, it was miraculous it, which means that it can depend, it can detect surface without the need for the mark with work field for a marker on it. We started doing it and it become really useful for us because we can easily drop the chart over a desk or over the whiteboard and without the need for, to ask the user to print a QR code or a or some markers and place it over the surface.
Juan: 03:37 It’s fascinating and you’re using a lot of this technology in your own application, but you, we were having conversation before about this. You have some suggestions for not even for people to do exactly what you have done, but you have some suggestions for people that are listening, that are saying, okay, I get it, I see the value in going marker less now. You’ve made some mistakes, you’ve been in the space and you have some suggestions on how someone getting started can go down the marker less route. What are those tools? How do we get started?
Osama: 04:08 Okay. Getting started with your ARKit is easy. Actually you can just start. If are an iOS developer for example, you can easily go to Apple Developer portal and search for ARKit. You will find guidelines. you will find examples that can you get, can get you started with a few minutes. Um, you don’t need that external library or to pay for something to get started, but you need a iPhone 6s or above to try it out. Uh, so getting started is easy. Um, however, um, when you start to get more deep, you will need experience in 3D programming and Apple is offering a brilliant 3D engine called the SceneKit which is available out of the box, in the IS library. So I can start using it. But of course you will need some experience in 3D programming to start dropping objects and anchoring it to reality.
Osama: 05:12 And you have thought about mistakes, I think, right? Um, yeah, one of the most, important problems that you need to get aware of when using ARKit at the time being is that when it detects surfaces the surface must have some texture, which is a considerable limitation. You can do it for on a carpet, but you can’t do it on a solid color wall or a sort of color desk. That’s because the phone uses the camera to the still image or the frames of the video camera to, to analyze the wall and detect surfaces. However, we believe that this will be solved really soon and we have seen an example for it, which is iPhone 10, which uses the laser to take the face even in, in dark rooms, uh, so we believe that in the near future, Apple and other vendors will differently start bundling hardware with a specific outward with the mobile that can use the infrared or produce the laser beams to detect an object besides the feature fragments. But at the time being, take care of this, you need to teach your users how to use it. You need to tell him that a textured surfaces, all the are detectable and perhaps you need to provide for him, uh, for that, a way to run his data or to visualize this data without the need for a surface. If this is important.
Juan: 06:55 Right. What do you think Osama of doing cross platform builds? Because that’s something that a lot of developers are going to be thinking about. If I use the ARKit, then that will only let me create my product on the IOs, the Apple ecosystem.
Osama: 07:14 Okay? so let us first say that maybe Apple is not evil, but business is evil. So what Apple is doing with ARKit is actually killing a considerable portion of the business of many other technologies that existed before it, and it’s better than them. It’s very fast, it’s native, it uses the hardware in a very efficient way. So what cross platform lobbies did is that they started to ship their power from competing with Apple, Apple’s library to building a technology over it, for example, Euphoria now as a support ARKit, so it can, but it’s the, but it offers other features like detecting irregular shapes, for example, or advanced analysis for images. And so if you want to start with a cross platform AR lobby now, um, it, it, it’s there, there’s a big benefit for using cross platform across our library because you will develop it one time and it will be deployed over on Iris and Android out of the box. However, um, the current technologies, it’s still not very suitable for business applications. Um, maybe you will need to use, for example, an engine like Unity which supports ARKit, but it is a game engine. So it was not useful for us to not suitable for us to use. So my advice is put an eye on cross platform lobbys, but perhaps starting with the sync it for business apps is more, makes more sense.
Juan: 09:06 That’s super interesting. So you’re saying services like Wiki tutor, Kudan or Easy AR that are libraries that help people create augmented reality, mixed reality experiences on both IOs and Android. They’re not able to compete with the giant that is Apple in the more that Apple gets in the space, the easier it is for them to create something that is not only cheaper but also better. It’s faster, it’s just a better product all around. Now the problem is that that won’t be a cross platform and then your suggestion to do it is to be working with something like Unity that will still help you run ARKit in the back but then deploy cross platform and do a build for Apple using ARKit. And then I think you had mentioned before doing a build for Android using AR Code, right?
Osama: 09:54 AR Code right, I think we will, we are already planning to start with Unity because want to make a version for Android and there, there is no native 3D graphics engine on Android, so the only way to start on Android is to use one of the game engines available like Unity or Unreal Engine. Um, so our planning to do so, but I think we’ll stick to sync it on apple for awhile until we find a more raw, more suitable for us.
Juan: 10:27 That makes a lot of sense. Okay to kind of rapid fire some suggestions that you would have for somebody that’s about to start a startup in the AR, VR mixed reality space. What are some lessons you’ve learned from launching your own tech product in this space that you can share with our early stage founders
Osama: 10:45 Okay. So I think that the most important advice is that we are still in a very early stage in VR which means that all the early adopters who will be interested in your app, don’t listen to other late adopters who will tell you oh that’s useless, psychology, and so on. So stick to early adopters and we will need to be a little bit patient because I think that AR apps on phone is, it’s too nice to have feature but not a killer feature that people who will use in a wide range. And so, um, is my advice start with early adopters, wait a bit for like a year or two until AR classes start to appear and I think, by that time AR technology will boom and will definitely be the next successor for smartphones and for PCs as well.
Juan: 11:50 So. And when you say focus on the early adapters, it’s people that are interested in tech people that are currently already using this technology and create solutions for the problems that they have instead of making solutions for like a mom or a dad or grandpa because they’re not using the technology yet or, or what are you picturing when you say focus on the early adopters?
Osama: 12:11 Yeah, that’s what I mean. Maybe mommies that are technology geeks but most of the time, sure, I’m talking about early adopters those who love technology, love trying new things first before everyone. But those who search for the need only, the pain that these solves will not use the app now because the phone is still the most intuitive way to make use of AR jobs. So yeah, that’s what I mean by early adopters.
Juan: 12:49 Gotcha. Okay. So focus on the early adapters. What are, what are some other lessons that you’ve learned from launching a product in this space?
Osama: 12:57 And the other lesson as well is that things are moving very fast Apple detected or provided the ARKit in summer detecting horizontal surfaces and few months later after that they, they, they introduced a big, a big update for their library. I can see now magically, uh, uh, providing a very brilliant, hands vector. So one needs to get in touch with the latest technology and adopt it. This is often made with, with Graphmented. Actually, we supported the vertical surfaces like whiteboards once it was policed by Apple and one needs to keep an eye on this and keep progressing with them. And not to give up early. Kinks are still at the beginning, but it’s promising. Critical.
Juan: 13:56 That is amazing. There you have it. Osama has created one of the most beautiful, most stable products that I’ve seen in the mixed reality space. It is Graphmented, an app that helps you visualize and project charts and graphs, super stable for beautiful, highly recommend that you check it out. If for no other reason as a tech testament testimony of what can be done without any marker, without any QR Code Osama, I thank you so much for sharing with us some tips and pointers on how we can implement this technology in our own projects as well as explaining the significance and the importance of moving in this direction.
Juan: 14:32 Okay? VR AR pioneers. Do not forget to get your free resources for this episode. It’s very simple. You just subscribe to the show on iTunes and then once you’ve done that, message the word “done” to Admix.in/giveaway. Subscribe on iTunes and then message “done” to Admix. A D M I X dot letter I letter N slash giveaway to get your XR growth resources. See you on the next one.
Juan: 15:02 Thank you for coming on the show. What is the best way for people to stay in touch with you and stay up to date with what you’re doing?
Osama: 15:09 I think that’s the best way is to follow us on Twitter. The app is called Graphmented see us at graphmented.com and we we’re posting. We’ll be posting our updates on it and problem quotes as well to try out so can keep in touch on this and thank you very much.
Juan: 15:31 Perfect. Thank you so much for coming on the show.
Osama: 15:33 Thank you. Thanks so much.
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/osamaabdelkarim/
- Website: http://www.graphmented.com/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/graphmented
- ARKit by Apple is a useful tool when augmenting reality because it can detect a surface without the need for a marker.
- One of the most important problems that you need to get aware of when using ARKit at the time being is that when it detects surfaces the surface must have some texture, which is a considerable limitation.
- Augmented reality used to be dependent on markers that ask you to put the QR code in so that it can augment an object over it. But actually this is not augmented reality because to augment reality, you need a reality to be augmented.
ARKit: A tool that allows you to build augmented reality experiences.