Ray Walker: The Innovation Interview

Ray Walker, Vinificateur/Owner of Maison ILAN shares his thoughts and insights on burgundy and how technology and innovation are impacting the wine industry.

Ray Walker had a secure career in finance until a wine-tasting vacation ignited a passion that he couldn’t stifle. Ray neglected his work, spending hours poring over ancient French winemaking texts, learning the techniques and the language, and daydreaming about vineyards. After Ray experienced his first taste of wine from Burgundy, he could wait no longer. He quit his job and went to France to start a winery—with little money, a limited command of French, and virtually no winemaking experience.

Fueled by determination and joie de vivre, he immersed himself in the extraordinary history of Burgundy’s vineyards and began honing his skills. Ray became a pioneer in his use of ancient techniques in modern times and founded Maison Ilan. In 2009, Ray became the first non-French winemaker to purchase grapes and produce a wine from Le Chambertin, long considered to be one of the most revered and singular vineyards in the world.

How do you define innovation and what does it mean to you?

Innovation for me is taking from the mistakes and successes of others and yourself and bringing something new to the discussion or project.

What industry needs to embrace innovation and take more risks?

Every industry should do this, to take risks. There will undoubtedly be failures but the failures of today are the foundations of tomorrow’s great successes.

What is the best piece of advice that you have been given and received?

My father often quoted his mother as saying in life you either wore out or rusted out. My life is going to be spent living each moment, taking advantage of each option in front of me and finding a way to make possible things that I used to think were impossible. If not, why am I here? Anyone can go through life eating, sleeping and hoping, but how many shut up, put their head down to work and make it happen?

What is your greatest achievement and why?

I am always trying to find ways to be a better father. Nothing else in this world has given me as much satisfaction than knowing my girls are happy, healthy and well taken care of. It isn’t always easy, but having this unflinching goal to be the best for them has shown me how to be a better person, a better man.

Newspapers and Books: Digital or Physical?

For speed, I’d say digital. you have so much more potential in terms of media sharing and exploring in this medium. However, there is something real, respectful, tangible and of sufficient weight when it is read on a dead tree. If I am reading for pleasure, for knowledge, it Has to be on a dead tree. Digital seems more like a throw away type of thing. Funny how it actually is the opposite. But, this doesn’t diminish my preference and the reasons that I have them.

It is clear that you have a deep and profound appreciation for the history of wine. This is very evident in the winemaking processes that you employ. Have you always had such a great appreciation for history and did you ever think that you would choose to utilize minimal technology to create your wines?

I’ve always been a history geek. I just respect what has passed and can also relate to people that have lived before. At least I would like to because I believe that they often lived more meaningful lives than we do today. The pursuit of knowledge is one thing that has impressive leaps and bounds today but the general thirst to know more is something I believe we lack in today’s global reality. I never knew I’d get a chance at having my own wine. This is all still too new for me to make sense of. But, when I had the first bit of grapes in my hand I felt like I was holding the bounty from a sacred place, I was, really. And so what I felt was a sense of responsibility and yearning for being a part of the region’s history, not of some passing trend.

On your blog you write “Every email is personal and I believe it best to treat it with the respect that they deserve.” Impressive. Have you always had such a great appreciation for customer service and where does it stem from?

I always have. I think it is important to think as a consumer first. If you wouldn’t spend money on it yourself how can you ask someone else to do it? When you have a great exchange, it strengthens the entire relationship and experience. I wanted to provide that to people since I think of them as friends instead of clients. Why not, we drink together, have the same taste in wines usually and they are supportive of my endeavors. On top of all of this, I am trying to be connected with those that have an interest in doing the same with me. This is one of the most basic aspects of society but it is something that gets forgotten all too often.

In 2009 how did you go about becoming the first non-French winemaker to purchase grapes and produce a wine from Le Chambertin?

First of all, when anything happens it is the opportunity first that has provided the situation. So, I was lucky in that people were supportive of me. On top of this, I set my sights high and was rewarded with even more luck in finding grapes from a historically cherished vineyard instead of something more common. I would have been proud with finding less hallowed grapes but timing, support and luck made it all happen. There is a lot to it, but this is all in the book.

What new innovations do you feel, for better or worse, will have the greatest impact on the winemaking business in the future?

Personal contact and information sharing. When producers will pay more attention to this, especially in the old world wine growing regions, there will undoubtedly be an explosion in wine appreciation and therefore consumption throughout the world. Educating your potential clients is the best way to create a lasting relationship.

What does Burgundy mean to you?

Burgundy isn’t just a place, a wine, or destination for those on vacation. It is a physical representation of the beauty of diversity in all walks of life. There isn’t really a best or worse, one red, blue or green. Everyone sees things differently, experiences them at their own pace, and through their own unique lens. But there is beauty to be seen everywhere, all that needs to be done is to simply take the time to see what is right in front of you. It means that the land beneath your own two feet can bring something special into your life. The plot of land just next to you will be interesting as well, but to appreciate the next step, you must first understand your current location.

Charlie Walk: The Innovation Interview

Charlie Walk, Chairman of JWalk shares his thoughts and insights on how technology and innovation are impacting the music industry.

As Chairman of JWalk, Charlie oversees all strategy and creative development for the brands in the JWalk portfolio as well as cultivates opportunities for new business and out of the box partnerships. Charlie brings to JWalk his extensive music management and marketing experience as well as his proven ability to identify trends and build companies through non-traditional, first to market strategies that ultimately create internationally recognized lifestyle brands. Some examples include, Equinox, DeLeon Tequila, VitaCoCo, Moonshine and SoulCycle.

Prior to J Walk, Charlie served as President of Epic Records. In his three years at its helm, Walk transformed Epic from a traditional record label to a progressive, multi-faceted entertainment company and built a culture of innovation. During his tenure, Walk established a creative haven for superstars such as Jennifer Lopez, Shakira, Ozzy Osbourne, Duran Duran, Tori Amos, Good Charlotte and George Michael, while pioneering pop culture trends and cultivating edgy new sounds with the signing of artists like The Fray, Natasha Bedingfield, Sean Kingston and Sara Bareilles. These artists not only expanded the breadth of Epic’s artist roster, but also proved highly profitable for the label.

Walk’s time at Epic was largely defined by his embrace of the digital movement and approach to making artists household names. As the music industry underwent a dramatic transformation, Walk focused on the unconventional with a series of new deals and revolutionary marketing initiatives. Some examples included a partnership with Yahoo for the first ever user-generated video for Shakira’s “Hips Don’t Lie”, the first ever personalized pop song with Jessica Simpson, and a digital partnership with lifestyle mogul Rachael Ray. Walk also initiated an exclusive partnership with ABC, making Epic the first label to showcase its artists through integrated television campaigns, introducing them through a new medium while providing a modern platform for album sales and downloads.

Over the course of his career, Charlie Walk has been an unstoppable force of momentum. As an entrepreneur, marketing expert, digital pioneer, Fortune 500 consultant, brand builder and music executive, Walk has consistently delivered beyond the status quo, using innovative tactics to turn products into brands and artists into icons.

His groundbreaking style has earned him a number of prestigious accolades throughout the years. Esquire Magazine cited him as a “visionary” who seeks opportunity and innovation. Details Magazine followed suit several months later featuring Walk in their Mavericks Issue, alongside the likes of Ryan Seacrest and Timbaland, as an “agent of change” with the ability to “bend the future to [his] will”.

Walk graduated from Boston University’s School of Management.

How do you define innovation and what does it mean to you?

Innovation is everything in my world. If you are not innovating and changing something, then you are part of yesterday, not tomorrow.

What industry needs to embrace innovation and take more risks?

Education, Education, Education…our kids are our future (I have 4 of them), so it we don’t give our children tools to innovate and live in this ever changing world, we will continue to fall further behind our peers.

What is the best piece of advice that you have been given and received?

Will Smith once told me, “Being realistic is the most common path to mediocrity.”

What is your greatest achievement and why?

Being successful at work and home. That balance is the hardest thing to achieve in life, and rarely are my stars all aligned. But when they are, I hold on to it for as long as I can. Its the best feeling in the world.

Newspapers and Books: Digital or Physical?

Digital all the way – I need to share, save, curate, edit what I read, and its really hard to do this with physical content.

What does the future hold for the music business?

It’s an exciting time for the music business now when you combine the entrepreneurial spirit of independent labels & artists with the firepower of the most progressive majors. There is nothing more powerful then a major label when it comes to the overall game plan and execution for global success. It is more true than ever that Major labels add the additional scale and creative input to make the difference on a domestic and international level.

With Google Fiber coming online in Kansas City brands will have a new platform to reach and interact with their customers. How do you see brands and media companies adapting their content for interactive Smart TV’s

Interactive Smart TVs have been around for a few years, Samsung is one of the leaders in that space with its own apps and platform to provide richer content, games, and tools via their TV sets. More bandwidth will help people consume more content, but there is still a long way to go for consumers to be comfortable with the lean back TV experience being as interactive as an iPad. My kids all use their iPads as an extension of the TV to get the interactive experience – it might be hard for the TV to win that battle.

Which brands do you think would best suited to implement Augmented Reality into their advertising and marketing campaigns? Are you currently using Augmented Reality for any of JWALK’s clients?

Augmented Reality has been much hyped over the past few years. It is an interesting technology, but the killer use case / app has not yet been developed.

We have a lot of fashion clients so we are looking at apps that can overlay fashion information around you in real time…kind of futuristic, but true. Add this to a Google Glasses and you can imagine where we be in 5 years time.

How social is too social when it comes to artists and brands interacting with their fans and customers?

Never too much. Fans can’t get enough of being part of the experience, and those bands that are the most authentic and engage with the fans in innovative ways will be the winners of the future.

What will be the big trends in 2013?

JWALK. CONTENT. MOBILE …in that order.

Gary Shapiro: The Innovation Interview

Gary Shapiro, President & CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)®, the U.S. trade association representing over 2,000 consumer electronics companies and owning and producing the continent’s largest annual tradeshow, the International CES® shares his thoughts and insights on how technology and innovation are impacting the consumer electronics industry.

Shapiro led the industry in its successful transition to HDTV. He co-founded and chaired the HDTV Model Station and served as a leader of the Advanced Television Test Center (ATTC). He is a charter inductee to the Academy of Digital Television Pioneers, and received its highest award as the industry leader most influential in advancing HDTV. He focused on the need for and led the effort to obtain the 2009 cut-off date of analog broadcasting.

As chairman of the Home Recording Rights Coalition (HRRC), Shapiro led the manufacturers’ battle to preserve the legality of recording technology and consumer fair use rights.

Prior to joining the association, Shapiro was an associate at the law firm of Squire Sanders. He also has worked on Capitol Hill, as an assistant to a member of Congress. He received his law degree from Georgetown University Law Center and is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate with a double major in economics and psychology from Binghamton University. He is married to Dr. Susan Malinowski, a retina surgeon.

How do you define innovation and what does it mean to you?

Innovation is doing something a different way so that it has value. It is a strategy that embraces careful planning and risk-taking, bold action and stealth. These elements seem to contradict one another, but as I started to really ponder what innovation looks like, I began to see connections between modern innovators and the ancient ninja warriors of Japan, which I elaborate on the book that CEA is publishing in January, “Ninja Innovation: The Ten Killer Strategies of The World’s Most Successful Businesses”.

Ninjas were up-and-comers who relied on their talents to succeed. They were strategic and disciplined, but able to adapt to new challenges quickly. They had to be focused, constantly analyzing their surroundings for threats or tools. They were ruthless, but followed a code of honor. The same characteristics are required of today’s innovators, so I call them “Ninja Innovators.”

What industry needs to embrace innovation and take more risks?

All industries could use more Ninja Innovators, but one that stands out right now is broadcasting. Broadcasters’ market share has declined annually for 30 years, and they have relied on government to protect them. I advise them to take advantage of their lower-cost structure as a strategic strength and “own” the local geographic area and go beyond broadcast. The industry should work to free itself from government strings and compete with cable, satellite, and Internet. Rather than seek regulation, they should remove all the content restrictions, programing requirements, retransmission mandates, and costly requirements imposed by bureaucracy.

What is the best piece of advice that you have been given and received?

Never stop learning. The most successful organizations have a culture of sharing and training. This means that the more experiences and success a person has, the greater the obligation to impart wisdom and pay it forward to the next generation.

What is your greatest achievement and why?

I am proud of helping set the American strategy for HDTV as we are know doing for the next generation of HDTV, Ultra HDTV. I am also proud of building up the Consumer Electronics Association at the world’s greatest innovation event, the International CES. I also was thrilled to be part of the group that created the world’s first set of laws laying out how business can be done on the Internet. Preserving fair use rights and promoting home theater also give me pride.

Newspapers and Books: Digital or Physical?

The trend is clearly toward digital. There will always be a special place in my heart for printed books and newspapers, but the accessibility, portability and other features offered in the latest wave of e-readers and tablets makes them hard to beat – until some ninja innovator thinks up a better one.

How are government policies impacting technology and innovation today?

When good leaders collaborate with a common purpose with stakeholders government can do great things as it did with HDTV and the Internet. But generally, government responds to the established powers with money and reputation to influence leaders. Rules are necessary, but if they are ambiguous or unclear, overreach, or give too much discretion to their enforcers, they stifle business and innovation. Regulation should not replace ethics. A government that works against or demonizes business and success is not helpful to innovation.

In your opinion, who has been the most innovative company in the past decade and who do you think will be the most innovative in the next decade?

I go through many of modern histories of the best innovators in “Ninja Innovation,” but Steve Jobs and Apple possess many ninja qualities. Jobs was smart, passionate, and relentless. He never retired while he could still produce. In the twilight of his life, he was still vowing to “destroy” the competition. His example inspired countless people to pursue victory in their own lives, if not necessarily in the same way.

Jeff Bezos of Amazon is another ninja innovator. Jeff is regularly described as brilliant, not only because of his native intelligence, but also because he has led Amazon to breakthroughs and prospered in tough times like the dot-com collapse in 2000. I think part of his secret is that he’s willing to challenge the status quo as well as shift his strategy when it’s required.

With Paul Otellini retiring as CEO of Intel in May of 2013, how do you feel the company is going to change? What new directions do you think the new CEO of Intel will take the company? Will the new CEO follow in the footsteps of Qualcomm and focus on mobile chips?

I’m sad to see Paul leave Intel, but excited to see where the company will go under its next CEO. Intel has set a great example for innovative thinking obviously in terms of technology, but also in branding. In the 1990s, they made people start caring about the chips in our computers. The “Intel Inside” brand is so ubiquitous now it’s almost difficult to remember how crazy that strategy was in the early 90s. Whoever the new CEO is, I’ll look forward to hearing from him or her at the International CES. Paul delivered a 2012 International keynote, and his predecessor, Craig Barrett, delivered CES keynote addresses several times as well. Intel has always used the CES platform masterfully, demonstrating how Intel “gets” technology and alternative futures.

While researching and writing your newly released book, “Ninja Innovation: The Ten Killer Strategies of the World’s Most Successful Businesses,” what was the most surprising strategic tactic that you learned?

One difficult concept is the value of failure. If you never fail at something, you are not stretching, risking and subject to self delusion about your own brilliance. (Of course, I want my Delta pilot not to follow this advice). American society as a whole, perhaps more than others around the world, values failure as experience. The American view of failure has led to our historical innovation dominance, but being “okay” with failure is very foreign for many businessmen. I write a lot about failure – my own as well as some of the big failures in the CE industry, like Microsoft’s “Bob,” aka the Dancing Paper Clip.

Which new companies and technologies do you expect to be the game changers at CES 2013 and why?

I am excited about UltraHD, 3D printing and heath care technology. But I am sure my answer will change soon. One exciting aspect of the International CES is how everyone who works in technology, or any industry that touches technology, is at the event and that we don’t know who are going to be the game changers at CES until the show begins. That is why face-to-face events like the International CES still are so crucial to how business gets done. People relish the chance to experience products first hand and to network with professionals from some 150 countries, to launch new products, pitch ideas and make a name for themselves amongst the “who’s who” of the global tech world.

With some 20,000 new products expected to be launched at the 2013 International CES, we expect to see game changers across many categories, including automotive technology and connected vehicles, digital health and fitness, gesture and voice recognition, smartphones and connected devices overall. The fun part is discovering the surprise successes and watching innovation abound across the CES showfloor.

Tom Roelens: The Innovation Interview

Tom Roelens, General Manager of Four Seasons Resorts Lāna`i shares his thoughts and insights on how technology and innovation are impacting the luxury hospitality industry.

With over 22 years of experience in the luxury hospitality field, Tom Roelens has traveled to 37 countries and has worked in some of the world’s most luxurious and exotic destinations. Mr. Roelens comes to Hawaii as the general manager of Four Seasons Resorts Lāna`i, encompassing both the 236-room Four Seasons Resort Lāna`i at Manele Bay and the 102-room Four Seasons Resort Lāna`i, The Lodge at Koele.

As general manager of Four Seasons Resorts Lāna`i, Mr. Roelens oversees all day-to-day operations at Manele Bay and The Lodge at Koele. His management style reflects the epitome of class and hospitality, with great attention to detail, ensuring a staff that thrives on delivering a highly personalized experience to each guest.

How do you define innovation and what does it mean to you?

Innovation is part of Four Seasons Resorts Lanai’s daily culture. Our team continuously strives to innovate the guest product and overall experience, all the while adding value and maintaining the brand integrity. Our success is due to our team’s mindset – we believe in the possibilities, each other and most importantly a cohesive guest experience. To deliver such results, we selected a group of Innovation Ambassadors, who are also various managers around the resort. The Innovation Ambassadors held fun and engaging training and brainstorm sessions throughout the resort. From the bellman to the beach attendant, sales managers to restaurant server – the spirit of creativity and innovation was ignited and brought the team together. Each department had a valuable innovative idea to contribute. The collective creativity and knowledge among the employees generated an overwhelming response to enhance the guest experience.

What industry needs to embrace innovation and take more risks?

Innovation has the unique ability to capture new business and explore new market opportunities through strategic, yet thoughtful, practices. While many industries have maverick approaches to innovation and technology, there are many that are more traditional in their practice due to their customer’s needs. Our innovation journey has enabled Four Seasons Resorts Lanai to explore new market opportunities through strategic, yet thoughtful, practices. The initiative is about the team, and how each employee can contribute to the success of the resorts by delivering thought provoking ideas to anticipate the needs of the guest and travel industry. Our success is measured by masterfully creating a memorable guest experience, along with creating an exceptional employee experience to continue to drive our culture.

What is the best piece of advice that you have been given and received?

The best advice is to recognize the changing climate and adapt to your company’s needs. For most businesses, social media has revolutionized the way business is conducted and it is here to stay. Four Seasons Resorts Lanai has embraced the digital age – both for the guest experience and communication, but also communicating internally, thus allowing all employees to have a voice and forum to actively participate and be stewards of innovation.

What is your greatest achievement and why?

My greatest achievement was to be part of and manage the Kuda Huraa apprenticeship program in the Maldives to enhance the education of young Maldivians and launch their careers in the industry. Nothing is more important to me than the development of the people around me. Here at Four Seasons Resorts Lanai we have launched and created the Lanai Assistant Manager Program help local line staff into leadership roles.

Newspapers and Books: Digital or Physical?

While Four Seasons recognizes that while the world is changing with technology, as well as the way guests travel, we also recognize that guests enjoy variety and choices. Therefore, we offer guests a library of choices, which includes complimentary Internet, iPad use and traditional forms such as newspapers, magazines and books, at their fingertips.

What new technologies do you feel will enhance the guest experience and when will guests see these new technologies in action?

Social media has transformed the way guests travel, as well as enhanced how hoteliers connect with customers. Technology is ever changing and it’s exciting to see what new platforms are introduced on a daily basis to ease travel and enhance the guest experience. Four Seasons Resorts Lanai recently launched complimentary apps for both Manele Bay and The Lodge at Koele that are designed to offer convenience and simplicity for today’s sophisticated traveler.

The app provides a variety of functions, from historical insights to dining and spa reservations, guests can create a customized itinerary in a virtual minute, in advance or during their stay. We have received great feedback from guests regarding the ease and convenience. The app is in the palm of your hand, so whether you are at the pool or exploring activity options over breakfast, you can instantly plan your trip – no matter your physical location.

You have traveled significantly and visited 37 countries to date. Prior to accepting the General Manager position at Four Seasons Resort Lāna’i, you were the General Manager of the Four Seasons Resort Maldives at Kuda Huraa. How has your extensive travel impacted your ability to spot trends and implement those trends into the guest experience.

My extensive travels have been able to help me personally, and subsequently our teams, in delivering exceptional service for our international guests and have a deep understanding and respect for people from different walks of life.

What new innovations do you feel will best enhance the guest experience in the coming years and why?

The importance of the use of technology to enhance the overall guest experience, yet as hoteliers we must continue to focus on that personal interaction, or the traditional sense of “face time.”

Four Seasons is one of the most well respected and recognized brands worldwide. Recently Mr. Larry Ellison purchased 98% of the island of Lanai including both Four Seasons properties, Manele Bay and The Lodge at Koele. After speaking with the staff and local residents, one can see that Mr. Ellison will soon transfigure Lanai into a truly world-class destination while respecting the heritage of the island. As the General Manager of Four Seasons Resort Lāna’i, what technologies will you utilize to implement Mr. Ellison’s vision all while enhancing the overall guest experience?

Lanai is truly an exclusive and one-of-a-kind destination, complemented by two of the finest resorts in Hawaii. The recent purchase of the island has captured the world’s attention and marks a truly exciting chapter for the island, community and for our two beautiful resorts. Four Seasons remains dedicated to offering our discerning guests with impeccable and signature services, all the while innovating the guest product. As part of our ongoing strategy, we have implemented a team of Innovation Ambassadors. Their goal is to drive, support and champion innovation throughout the resort and every department. Ideas are strategically piloted by testing and refining to measure the value of improved guest experience. Technologies such as the current Four Seasons Resorts Lanai app and social media channels allow our team to thoughtfully connect with our guests – prior to and during, their stay and encourage engagement in a timely manner. As a result, Four Seasons has been recognized as stewards of innovation among Four Seasons Corporate and leaders in the luxury travel industry.

Matt Mills: The Innovation Interview

Matt Mills, Global Head of Sales & Innovation for Aurasma – the world’s first visual browser for smartphones and tablets leading the market in Augmented Reality shares his thoughts and insights on how technology and innovation are impacting the Augmented Reality industry.

Aurasma was developed by software company Autonomy – an HP Company. Prior to working on Aurasma, Matt held the position of Senior VP for Autonomy’s Optimization platform for Europe. Matt holds a Degree in Computer Science from the University of Durham and has given the TED Talk on the future of Image Recognition and Augmented Reality.

How do you define innovation and what does it mean to you?

Innovation means challenging the status quo by changing the way people view and interact with the world around them. True innovators stretch boundaries, erase limits and deliver solutions to fill a gap that you may never have known even existed. In the case of Aurasma, we are shifting the way people consume information by bridging the gap between offline and online interactions. Our platform is only the beginning to this fundamental paradigm shift and we’re excited to be leading the charge.

What industry needs to embrace innovation and take more risks?

The publishing industry has been around for years and years, but in the last five to ten years it’s been challenged to adopt a digital identity while still maintaining its traditional heart and soul in print. It’s important for publishers to embrace the shifting landscape and accept the digital evolution as another means to reach their increasingly mobile audience. What makes Aurasma unique is that it serves as the mobile gateway between print and digital offering the best of both worlds to readers.

What is the best piece of advice that you have been given and received?

With over four million users and more than 10,000 partners not a day goes by without receiving some form of advice. Our partners and fans have been a huge resource in building our business and developing our platform over the last year and a half. From big brands like Marvel to elementary school teachers, our partners have challenged us to test boundaries and deliver on these requests. Ultimately, it is thanks to the input from our loyal partners and fans that we’re excited to announce our rebranded and fully equipped Aurasma platform that includes many new features and functionality.

What is your greatest achievement and why?

We will talk about Telefonica shortly, however, it still needs a mention here as it was a ground-breaking move for the AR industry as a whole. But overall, GQ remains a significant milestone for the augmented reality (AR) industry. With every single advertisement augmented as well numerous editorial pieces, it is an example of a true cover-to-cover augmented reality magazine. Conde Nast is setting new standards for the publishing industry and serves as a proof point that AR is happening today and Aurasma has the scalability to make it happen.

Newspapers and Books: Digital or Physical?

Working in the tech industry, I am lucky enough to have a number of great devices for reading on-the-go. There’s no doubt that for browsing newspapers and glossy mags the iPad has advantages and the Kindle is great; however, as a digital native I still prefer the print copy and physically holding a book. One of the reasons I’m passionate about AR is that it bridges the gap between the two.

Augmented reality will change the way the physical and digital worlds interact with each other. How do you see the technology evolving in the years to come?

The big change will be a move away from gimmicky fun and towards scalable platforms and everyday use cases. As this starts to happen you will see consumer adoption rise and this will drive the industry forward. We are still educating the general public on augmented reality, but as smartphones become more prevalent and brands and publishers adopt the technology, the experience will naturally weave itself into our everyday lives.

Aurasma’s deal with Telefónica Digital will allow your augmented reality platform to possibly reach 25 markets and 300m customers. Will you continue to grow the business by partnering with other telecommunication companies?

We are always interested in partnering with people who will grow our business. This week we announced a similar partnership with another telco which will see our platform distributed to some 100m subscribers across the Middle East.

We first met with Aurasma regarding the creation of an augmented reality experience for a major label recording artist. Lately you have announced partnerships with The Rolling Stones, Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood. Are the major labels embracing your platform?

Yes, we have a very strong relationship with many of the major recording labels. For them it is a great way to add digital content to existing materials which can increase their value, be a forum to share exclusive content to their loyal fans, and generate buzz through social channels when launching a new album. We are starting to see some labels build teams around Aurasma production as more and more of their artists have a desire to use AR for these goals.

What sector do you think would most benefit from integrating augmented reality into their existing businesses?

I have been running around with a wireless router in my bag for over a year now and nobody has yet embraced at scale the idea that you can point a device at a physical object and see instructions on how to install it.

Ironically, the direct answer here might be the technology industry, but there are many instances across all sectors in which this use case can benefit an organization or industry especially with training programs.

As 2013 steadily approaches, do you feel that Apple, Google and Samsung will follow in the steps of Nokia and integrate augmented reality into their phones and tablets? If so, how will this affect your business?

Well – I certainly hope so! Aurasma has always been about building a platform and in order for AR to be successful there has to be content for people to view. As a result, we hope that over the next 12 months we see more people building their own AR viewers that draw on the wealth of augmented reality content we’ve been building up for education, advertising, editorial content, and even user-generated content over the last 18 months.