Martech Interview with Faisal Galaria, Chief Executive Officer at Blippar

The AR industry is developing and evolving day by day, with constant innovations across the space. What are the best use cases of Augmented Reality in Marketing?

The core to creating engaging experiences in AR is not only the process of building something memorable but creating something meaningful.

1. Being the Chief Executive Officer at Blippar, what is it like to lead an AR company?
Being the CEO of Blippar is a continuously exciting prospect. The industry is developing and evolving day by day, with constant innovations across the space. From the likelihood of AR glasses becoming mainstream within the very near future to companies and brands engaging and building for the Metaverse, we stay ahead of the curve by innovating our products.

At Blippar, we’re in the perfect position to cement these developments, and cater to the rapidly growing market. Although I am in the official leadership position, I’m inspired daily by my team. Their determination and passion to ensure we succeed as a company in such a fast-paced industry is what makes this job so fulfilling.

Additionally, our tech stack of SaaS tools and an AR Studio mean that we’re an open source for content creation. It’s exciting to have firsthand knowledge and to see the complex and detailed AR experiences that our customers are regularly developing.

2. What are the best use cases of Augmented Reality in Marketing?
Some of the most effective marketing use cases of AR can be seen across the CPG industry. AR turns physical objects – be this a tube of Pringles, a bottle of wine, or a packet of M&Ms – into each item’s own media channel. This is made possible with Marker Tracking technology, which enables users to activate an AR experience simply by scanning an object or surface with their phone.

In the case of Pringles, Kellogg’s recently launched an interactive Web AR experience using Blippar technology, which brings a soccer stadium into consumers’ homes.

And there’s so much scope for innovation and reinvention. We’ve supported Netflix to create an immersive experience in the Upside Down in celebration of Stranger Things Season 4. Triggered from inside Walmart stores, the campaign turned shopping aisles into hidden caves and vine-filled forests and even brought users face-to-face with a Demogorgon. Drink brands such as 14 Hands and Dr. Pepper have created augmented realities where the user can participate in pool games and college football Halftime Challenges without leaving their homes.

Outside of marketing, we’re also seeing really interesting movement in the healthcare and educational industries, which are turning towards AR as an environmentally friendly training tool. It’s an exciting space to be in and a great opportunity to observe so much talent and creativity.

3. Could you tell us how Blippbuilder works?
Blippbuilder is our free, no-code, web-based creation tool – it enables anyone with the curiosity to create AR content, without them having to think about or consider the fundamentals. This is the way we use the internet now, seamlessly and without a second thought. Blippbuilder shares this level of intuition with the added bonus of interactivity, which enables users to populate the beginnings of the 3D internet.

With drag-and-drop technology, Blippbuilder users can create many different types of AR, whether it’s around the audience so that they’re in the center of the experience, anchored to an image, to activate a poster or logo, or dropping content onto any flat surface using SLAM tracking. SLAM is how most people expect to interact with AR, so it’s a real achievement that we’ve been able to bring it to the web and combine it with Blippbuilder so that anyone can augment their reality with a few clicks.

4. How can brands use AR to build customer journeys?
User engagement driven by augmented reality campaigns is off the charts and continues to majorly impact brands and advertisers. The benefits of AR adoption in marketing can’t be understated, but they can be quantified. Brands using AR across their marketing campaigns are seeing significantly heightened engagement rates and dwell times, with more than 40% increases in conversion rates in comparison to standard, non-AR-based marketing.

Thus far, we’ve seen AR have massive success in areas like education, gaming and marketing. But the space for opportunity is constantly growing and changing. This Spring, we announced an integration with Microsoft Teams, and we can see it play part in more jobs across different parts of an organization. Sales teams are now able to run immersive demos with clients, using AR for employee training and onboarding and AR product visualization to help with decision-making. With our tools being industry and vertical-agnostic, we’re really excited to see what other use cases businesses find for this technology.

The core to creating engaging experiences in AR is not only the process of building something memorable but creating something meaningful.

5. How does computer vision work?
Without getting too technical, our computer vision libraries interpret the images they receive via live camera feeds and do some complex computations to determine the position of the device and how the AR content should be displayed so that it appears naturally. We highlight several hundred data points and track how they move in relation to how the device is moving and can very quickly determine an accurate representation of what the camera is seeing. Of course, the more data points you can compute, the more reliable this tracking is, which is why our recent GPU integration has supercharged our AR tracking to take all our users’ experiences to the next level.

6. Do you believe AI is the future of customer engagement?
To understand why AI is so important for customer engagement, you need to consider two key trends. Firstly, there is so much competition now that the best way to attract and retain customers is through hyper personalization which can only be enabled through AI. Customers expect something different and personal to them, which is where AR fits in perfectly, but moreover, Blippbuilder’s ability to enable quick and easy AR creation with complete personalization enables brands to create experiences and easily change names, text and even languages right within the platform. Secondly, consumers are investing in increasingly powerful mobile devices which are largely underutilized. AR can exploit these continuous improvements in camera quality and processing power to deliver much more engaging and exciting experiences that make a difference for customers.

7. Which steps must marketers take for AR content creation?
Ultimately the most important step that any marketer can take right now is just to start creating content and becoming literate in how AR works and what resonates with users. At Blippar, we have a comprehensive stack of solutions that help anyone build compelling and engaging content, whatever their requirements are. Our no-code platform truly lets anyone jump straight in and start creating without a ton of background knowledge or training. While we also have an SDK tool and Studio team to support more complex builds. Our solutions aren’t tied to specific smartphones, devices, or publishers; instead, we are on the creators’ side. The technology makes it easier to build compelling AR experiences that “just work,” so creators can publish to any social media platform, app, or website, across all smartphone and HMD devices.

8.User experience offers a massive competitive advantage. Where does WebAR SDK come into the picture?
Our WebAR SDK is for more experienced developers and is a powerful tool that enables the building of much more complex and engaging experiences. We give developers full control over the user experience while we handle all the key AR behaviors so that they can focus on building and telling the stories that they want to tell. We’re constantly looking for ways to improve our offering and, most recently, announced an integration with Unity. By integrating Blippar’s WebAR SDK, Unity developers are able to create lightweight AR experiences that can easily be published directly to any web browser.

9. What are the three best traits all good leaders possess?
Communication: as a CEO, my job is to enable my team to succeed and to do that, I need to be able to ask the right questions to provoke strategic thinking and a solution-orientated mindset, which deliver the best possible results.
Decision making: While I look to my team for answers and solutions, ultimately, when a crucial decision needs to be made, the CEO is the one to choose the final path, whilst ensuring everyone, be that an executive, manager or stakeholder is onboard.
Caring for the team & authenticity: Throughout my career, I have continuously learned the importance of authenticity and self-awarness; every good leader should maintain this crucial quality if they wish to grow a business. This goes hand-in-hand with taking care of the team. This was a quality that was emphasised to me by Paul English – one of the founders of He explained that when your team felt valued, supported and importantly empowered that they would be more likely to delight the end users. So the best way to delight end users is to have an empowered and motivated team.

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Faisal Galaria , Chief Executive Officer at Blippar
Faisal Galaria is the CEO of Blippar, a leading technology content platform specializing in augmented reality. Blippar’s vision is to enable anyone to create their own original immersive, 3D experiences. These experiences can be shared across the internet, apps and social media, and can be accessed from any smartphone or head-mounted device.
Faisal has over 25 years of experience leading and growing teams in some of the world's most disruptive consumer technology companies including: Spotify, Kayak, Skype, and now Blippar.
As CEO of Blippar, Faisal has led the company's turnaround; he has overseen the development of a new SaaS technology platform, increased studio revenue by more than 100% QoQ, hired a new executive team and completed two rounds of venture capital funding.
Before joining Blippar, Faisal was the Chief Strategy and Investments Officer at Gocompare, which he helped digitally transform and IPO on the London Stock Exchange in 2016. Previously, Faisal was one of the youngest ever Senior Partners of Alvarez & Marsal, the world’s largest turnaround and restructuring company where he founded and led the European Digital Media practice.
Previously Faisal was Senior Vice President at Spotify, where he successfully launched the streaming platform in seven countries, including the USA, which became the company's biggest market. He was also an early member of the Skype team, initially as Head of Global Business Development, and then became the European Director after Skype’s acquisition by eBay in 2005.
Faisal is a Non-Executive Director for Superdry and sits on the Advisory Board of the Imperial College Business School. He is a graduate of UMIST (University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology) and holds an MBA from IESE Business School. He also studied international economics at ETEA in Spain.

Blippar is a leading technology company specialising in Augmented Reality and Computer Vision (AI). Blippar’s vision is to enhance everyday life with Augmented Reality and give you more from the world you see – more entertainment, more information, more value.

Since 2011, Blippar has been pushing the boundaries of what is possible in AR and has helped thousands of brands, retailers and agencies use AR /AI across the consumer journey to deepen customer engagement, drive footfall and increase sales. Blippar gives access to an AR ecosystem with products and professional services to meet specific business needs – from consultancy to AR creation tools that publish AR content within a client's own app or rich media banners (no app required).

Blippar's technology has been used by world-leading brands such as PepsiCo, Porsche, Nestlé, L’Oréal, GSK, General Mills and Procter & Gamble to create exciting and award-winning experiences.

Blippar has been recognized as one of the fastest growing companies by CNN, Forbes, etc. and listed 3 years in a row on CNBC's list of most disruptive companies as well as named top Business Innovator by Bloomberg and most innovative AR/VR company by Fast Company.

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