Metaio - augmented reality - wireless startups - Fierce 15 2012
Where it's based: Munich, Germany and San Francisco
When it was founded: 2002
Why it's Fierce: Augmented reality--AR for short--has been a topic percolating in the wireless industry for years, but it has not yet hit the mainstream. Metaio aims to change that. Metaio is an augmented reality company that while based in Germany has a strong presence in San Francisco and Silicon Valley. The company started out a decade ago providing solutions for verticals like automotive, using AR to give engineers advanced views of complex engine parts.
Unlike Layar and other AR firms, Metario doesn't do consumer-facing applications on its own. Instead, the company enables developers to add AR to their apps. Metaio released a freemium mobile SDK for Android in December and got over 3,000 developers to sign up. Major brands that want to produce AR apps can pay to get the company's watermark removed from their apps, but for small-time developers the free SDK may be just what they need to kick start an AR app. Metaio has also developed Junaio, which is an AR mobile browser used by the likes of Lego in their stores to help customers visualize in 3D the contents of the Lego boxes they are taking out of the store.
In February Metaio unveiled what it calls the Augmented City platform, which is a part of its SDK. The idea is to give developers the opportunity to create immersive AR experiences, such as an overlay of information on building facades, city streets and almost any real world object or device.
Even more impressive? Metaio has been independently financed since its inception.
What's next: Metaio expects that by 2014 AR will be a standard feature on mobile devices. The company also thinks that major brands will want to tie AR into their products by adding AR to the packaging, for example. To get there, the company is working heavily with ARM Holdings and ARM's chipset architecture licensees, including Nvidia, ST-Ericsson and Texas Instruments, to develop chipsets that are fully enabled for AR, and to turn augmented reality into an actual reality.
- Metaio - augmented reality - wireless startups - Fierce 15 2012