No company can afford to forget about mobile as a communication channel

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Guest lecturer Szabolcs Budaházy from Arworks talked about Augmented Reality within the MSc in Marketing Management programme in professor Bálint Nagy’s module. Szabolcs Budaházy is one of the best Hungarian practitioners of Augmented Reality. Students had an opportunity to experience several funny gadgets in real reality, which was a real success.

What did you study and how did this lead you to found a Smartphone Application Developer company?

I studied Geology for 1,5 years at ELTE, then I switched to BKF (University of Applied Sciences, Budapest), I have my degree in economics. I think, my career shows how you really have to follow your instincts and do what you like: I started as a training manager at Coke, then spent 5 years at Raiffeisen Bank where I worked as HR Deputy Head. Then I became the Managing Director of one of the biggest BTL  Agency of Hungary – Extreme.

After 10 years – at the age of 40 – I thought there were still new things for me, so I started Arworks – a mobile app developer company serving business clients. Now we have 10 full time colleagues, 15 contracted, we have a strong presence in the Middle East, we are carrying out projects in Switzerland, Romania, India and Hong-Kong as well. The actual decision was made, when I saw an article about one of the first AR based marketing solution in the world – a 3 dimensional animated figure from the Avatar movie was added to the back of plastic character’s box.

What is the difference between Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality? In what ways and in what fields can they be applied?

The difference is pretty simple if we look at the experience they give: with VR, the user experiences a totally artificial, otherwise not present reality around him. If you put a VR glass on your head, you’re ceased to see your actual surrounding – it is actually excluded – and as you look around, up-down-left-right, you feel that you’re placed in another world: in space among the planets, on a rollercoaster or in a still not built building – or anything else.  Augmented Reality or AR, on the other hand, adds new content to the real world – so while experiencing AR you still see your real environment, just new, virtual things are added to it – to the objects, places of the real world. They are however similar in a way: both can be experienced throughout your smartphone by running the VR or AR based app.

These smartphone applications are both for fun and for business, probably they bring good business for the developer, Arworks. Can these applications bring business success to your customers? Can you tell an example?

Most of our AR/VR apps are connected, in some ways, to campaigns that include other channels as well, so it is hard to tell. Companies still tend to forget to think about mobile applications when they plan their campaign, they rather leave it to the final phase when they do something with mobile but without integrating it into the whole campaign, just because there is a big pressure for HQ-s. When the mobile app is at the core of the campaign, it surely will be reflected in the download and consequently sales figures. For example, for the Buggy Race, we’ve developed with Grey to Kinder Bueno for the ME/GCC region. There was a TV spot, strong social media campaign, etc. – and all these were nicely integrated into the whole campaign. The promotion mechanism was simple. Download the app, buy a Kinder Bueno, scan it, race with the app, be one of the best and you could win an actual buggy. The app download was around 200,000, which was a great number. Also, we are just about to finish another app for the same client, so I think, they also think the mobile channel really works.


 

Generally speaking, AR/VR is good for two purposes: it can be used to give the potential customer a real and interactive, three dimensional experience of products where design is important – car, furniture, jewellery, fashion, real estate, etc., and for FMCG products. AR can add any type of virtual content to the product itself – like playing a song by the sponsored musician on the product itself, exclusively available within the app and on the product. Of course, there are other areas, like introducing and displaying large size products (ships, cranes, etc.) or small size ones (drugs, molecules, vitamins) which are otherwise hard to bring to the customers. But AR and VR are just technologies. The important thing is that no company can afford to forget about mobile as a communication channel.