This article was originally posted on the Tech North website.
When Draw & Code was founded six years ago, the now-Facebook-owned Oculus Rift was a rough prototype, and Microsoft’s Hololens was a twinkle in Kinect’s eye.
With the launch of Apple’s ARKit as part of iOS 11 and new iPhone launch, the world is set to be brought to life in a way that it never has before.
And that means the growing number of augmented and virtual reality companies in the M62 corridor, like Liverpool’s Draw & Code, can feel rather pleased that their passion projects are about to hit the big time.
“In the last six months, there’s been a heavy focus both on getting our our first AR-infused kids’ gaming product Swapbots ready to ship, along with looking after the parent company Draw & Code,” explains head of operations and Northern Voices participants Annie O’Toole.
“For Draw & Code, that’s seen us working with loads of big names in the AR and VR space, including becoming an enterprise partner for the world’s largest platform Vuforia, and other well-known brands, some of which we’re just about to announce.”
ARKit brings the future to the masses
Having founded her own ecommerce startup, Juxdit, which specialised in selling tech like that now being built at Draw & Code, O’Toole is excited about the prospects that an ‘Apple stamp’ provides.
“Accessibility is key for all these technologies, for their success, and so that they’re adopted by consumers. It means that now now they’re in the pockets, handbags and hands of consumers across the world, without a huge amount of expense or day-to-day adjustment.
“ARKit backs that idea and what Draw & Code has been trying to do for six years – long before Apple and Google saw things happening in AR and VR.”
Day-to-day, that means things are changing rapidly at Northern Stars winner, now Northern scaleup, Draw & Code.
“We’ve had to make a massive expansion in our team to meet the demand we now have – a 50 percent increase – so a huge part of my day-to-day is process and project management driven. And with every new thing that comes out, we’re working on things that no one’s ever done before, so we need to continue to have that vision and focus to keep driving forwards.
“I also have to ensure that the directors are supported so they can go out and be the faces of the company, knowing that things at home in the studio are ticking over.”
Draw & Code was listed as a top AR studio in a 2017 AR landscape map, covered by Venturebeat, which O’Toole says was “surreal” for her team, being named next to billion-dollar brands like Disney.
“It’s great to see more of this kind of work happening in Liverpool and the North West – previously you’d have to be in the Bay Area, now it’s here and it’s great you can meet people who care about the same thing. We’re very excited to support others who are working in AR and VR as we see our company grow.”
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