Skidattl’s augmented reality beacons are ‘like a Bat-Signal for fun’ • TechCrunch
Skidatl He wants to use augmented reality to get people to interact with the real world. It’s a story we’ve heard before from augmented reality companies, especially as they position themselves against the potential buffering effects of virtual reality. But instead of chasing Metaverse Pokémon down the street, Skidattl aims to use AR cues to show people what’s going on around them.
They’ll be like a “pat cue for fun” once the app is launched, said Randy Marsden, co-founder of Skidattl.
Anyone can make a beacon and anyone can see it. Companies may set up beacons, which are one-hour long, to advertise two-for-one coffee sales, movie times or open bowling alleys. People might set off a beacon at a music festival to help their friends find it in the crowd. All a user has to do is scan the horizon with their phone, or eventually with augmented reality glasses, Marsden said, to see a group of beacons at a distance of up to 100 yards.
When Skidattl showed up as part of Battlefield 200 at TC Disrupt last week, the company had an AR beacon above its booth to show what it might look like.
“Of course, you can look at the map and say, ‘What’s near me? “But that takes you back to the real world,” Marsden told TechCrunch, noting that he is an Apple alumnus and a two-time TechCrunch Battlefield qualification for previous companies — Swype (TC50 technically) and dry (Disable SF 2013).
Skidattl’s AR signals will be superimposed by real-world GPS coordinates. To locate the user in relation to this guide, Skidattl uses Google’s ARCore Geospatial API, which relies on Street View data.
“When you launch the app, it will tell you to scan buildings across the street, and in a few seconds, it will know where you are,” Marsden said. “And then these beacons are installed; they do not move.”
When people want to set up beacons indoors, Skidattl will also use Wi-Fi signals to help position users against the location of those signals.
Skidattl is still in the angel funding and alpha tech stage, but the startup hopes to go to market with a freemium business model – which means it’ll be free to use but Skidattl can monetize with premium subscriptions, in-app purchases, and affiliate commissions.
Like any new social media app, Skidattl will have to battle the chicken-and-egg problem – no one will want to use it if there aren’t a lot of lit signs already, but there can’t be any lit beacons without people in the app.
“I think we can launch the commercial side quite easily by giving them a free beacon,” Marsden said. “On the customer side, get influencers on YouTube and TikTok to talk about it, put ads with TechCrunch and that kind of thing. Then, once we have someone in the app, we can give them incentives to share with their contacts.” (It goes without saying, but TechCrunch’s ad sales are completely separate from the editorial.)
Marsden said Skidattl is currently trying to raise $500,000 to finish the minimum viable product and get the money it needs to officially launch its app in South by Southwest in March.