Headquartered in Irvine, California, Candy Lab AR is an augmented reality (AR) technology company specialising in location-based services (LBS). Candy Lab AR’s target audience is tech-savvy, forward-thinking marketers and mobile phone users who are receptive to the use of disruptive technology in influencing consumer behaviour. They serve large agencies, brands, marketers and consumers with core technology to implement into existing efforts, or, serve as stand-alone dedicated channels for augmented reality experiences.
The European caught up with Andrew Couch, Co-founder and CEO of Candy Lab AR, to discuss the company’s strategy in the fast moving world of digital marketing.
Tell us about the inception of Candy Lab AR and the services you provide.
Andrew Couch: The formation of Candy Lab is quite an interesting one. I had just sold my first company and was trying to figure out what do next. I lived in San Diego at the time and the super-hero expo, Comic-Con, was in full swing. I wondered to myself “how can marketers engage with this crowd and market to them so they have an indescribable experience with their heroes at Comic-Con?”
I wanted to create a new advertising vertical through a new medium, which led me and my Co-founder, Gilda Campos, to create an augmented reality engine. Leveraging my mapping experience to the industry, we delivered a completely unique experience to marketers and ultimately their customers. So we set up Candy Lab and are proud to have established an award-winning, augmented reality technology company providing location-based services.
We have built the only 9-axis sensor fusion engine that combines GPS and beacons with a Real-Time Delivery Management System. Our augmented reality technology and real-time content delivery system are used to power mobile games and apps. We advocate for brands to create immersive experiences to deepen customer engagement. Our differentiator is due to our published beacon patent that allows for beacon facilitated content management and delivery. This ensures that Candy Lab can offer our customers both indoor and outdoor augmented reality experiences. With our content management system, marketers can make real-time updates to their augmented reality campaigns.Inside Candy Lab AR’s headquarters in California
How do you plan to expand your products and services further?
AC: Our goal is global growth and we intend to do this aggressively through licensing our technology in various markets. We are an engine and management company, not a marketing company or an agency.
It would be incredible if we could get our technology in the hands of every consumer out there. The best way for us to achieve this is by licensing our tech to the large agencies and partners that want a piece of this augmented reality tech for their customers, as they can offer it as a value-add to their current services.
Interestingly enough, we signed our first license deal in the UK in January and by the end of the year, we hope to have license holders in Brazil, Australia, UAE, Mexico and others.
However, we also have large brands and small-to-medium size businesses reach out to us and we service them by either integrating our technology into their already existing mobile apps or we can create a completely new augmented reality app.
Where does Candy Lab AR see location-based marketing going?
AC: It is going to be ubiquitous. Location-based marketing is going to be the new ‘digital marketing’ because you get to market, educate and engage with your consumers wherever they are at any specific time. Consumers are going to drive the demand for location-based marketing and augmented reality technology is going to be the disruptive technology that spurs the engagement of the consumer.
Any other projects in the pipeline?
AC: Candy Lab built the first ever location-based, augmented reality poker game, ‘Texas Rope ‘Em’ in 2017. This was really exciting for us because it allowed us to show the capabilities and versatility of our augmented reality technology.
We are not a game company but developing the game gave context to how our AR engine could be used by various industries. It also made brands very excited because they could visualise how they could build an AR experience for their brands or customer if they were an agency. We also became a member of the VR AR Association, which is an association helping to drive the acceleration, growth and connections in both virtual reality and augmented reality.
Our CMO, Josephine Munis is the president of the Los Angeles Chapter, while I sit on the board of the association as an advisor. I am also the co-chair for Mapping & Location Based Services. The committee is responsible for creating best practices, guidelines, and call to actions – e.g. recommendations for standards – for mapping and LBS. Our committee participants have or are actively publishing augmented and virtual reality experiences using ultra-specific locations to trigger immersive content. Our mission is to set the best-known standard for the many ways location sensors play a role in content delivery to a device in augmented or virtual reality.
How does location-based marketing work?
Location-based marketing targets consumers depending on their geographic position, therefore taking into account personal and cultural traits. This allows marketers to adapt their message and products accordingly, delivering to co-inside with specific events or local trends.
Candy Lab AR fit into this by providing the technology that allows marketers to create ultra specific innovative and exciting campaigns that allow engagement with their consumers consistently via their mobile device.