Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
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Applying super ideas

Ad-Dispatch’s augmented reality technology

Ever wanted to sling webs like Spider-Man or picture yourself next to The Incredible Hulk? Now you can, thanks to the latest mobile applications from one Nova Scotian company.

Halifax-based Ad-Dispatch is building the next generation of interactive advertising and promotion for the corporate world with emerging technology known as Augmented Reality.

Founded in 2000, the company has recently become a leader among a few specialized North American companies working to apply Augmented Reality applications to every day consumer products.

So how does it all work?

According to Ad-Dispatch president, Nathan Kroll, it’s all about creating layers of information on top of physical objects and images in real time, similar to the way GPS map features work.

Working with entertainment studios ― like Warner Brothers, Paramount, Twentieth Century-Fox and Marvel ― the company’s 50 employees have successfully used technology to create unique in-store experiences of well-known brands like The Avengers and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. 

For customers browsing in a store with enabled mobile devices, they can now simply aim them at objects around the store, causing animations ― like Spider-Man or The Incredible Hulk ― to come to life on their mobile screens.

The advantage to consumers? A more engaging browsing experience. The advantage to stores and merchandisers?  The more people interact and move around the store, the more likely they will buy.

Little wonder then that major brands ― like Chevrolet, Drambuie, Absolut Vodka, Labatt Blue and Proctor and Gamble ― are also using Ad-Dispatch products to interactively promote their products and engage consumers.

And earlier this year, the company launched “BoostAR,” an application that lets you buy Disney T-shirts, bedspreads, toys, wall decals and other merchandise from stores like Wal-Mart, Kohl’s, Macy’s, ShopKo and Toys “R” Us that later “come to life” when viewed through mobile devices.

“This is about interaction, you can play with it,” beams Nathan.

According to Nathan, funding from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency helped Ad-Dispatch seize new opportunities such as developing and launching products in a timely way, which is critical in such a fast-moving business.

As a result, the company will soon be shipping its first seven-figure order for BoostAR.

As for the future, Nathan says that with a 700% increase in sales last year and the mainstreaming of the technology, their company seems bound for new explosions of success.

Just goes to show ― when a great blend of creative and technical minds have the courage to try new things, it can spell a happy ending fit for any superhero.

View ACOA’s social media release about Ad-Dispatch.

Published March 5, 2013