By Adam Gerhart, Mindshare
Blippar is a British company which is quickly revolutionizing Image recognition. For those who don’t know what image recognition is, it’s a technology which makes it possible to detect patterns on an image (also called visual search or image recognition) by using a device’s camera (phone, tablet) – turning push communications into pull communications. Image recognition is far from new (in fact, even Blippar isn’t new). But, they are taking the world by storm.Details
They launched their APP a year ago, in summer 2011, and since then they’ve:
- Achieved nearly 900K downloads (expected to hit 4Million by year end);
- They’ve expanded to USA and are working on other markets;
- Have attracted major blue chip brands ranging from Nestle and Unilever to Nike and LG.
Blippar is an app which brings images and other visual ques (packaging) to life. They would describe themselves as an ‘image recognition browser’, but they could also be described as Image Recognition married to Augmented Reality, with QR looking longingly from afar.
The differences from other AR/image recognition offerings like Aurasma, Google Goggles, and the plethora of others are many:
- First, they don’t want to be a technology company – they want to launch a behaviour through what they refer to as ‘an image recognition browser’ (they want to be ubiquitous – what Google is to search – a VERB);
- To that end, they aren’t pushing a technology (QR or AR), they are pushing a consumer facing app which is easy to use and intuitive;
- Unlike QR codes, Blipps (as they’re called) are based on marker-less technology (QR codes have those clunky barcodes, whereas Blippar relies solely on the image);
- The app can run on everything from iOS to Android (with RIM and Windows coming soon);
- They provide rich experiences, everything from coupons to content (video friendly, link to your social pages so easy to share).
As for the downsides, we can recognize 3 main ones:
- Like QR readers, you still need to download an app to view the Blip (this means they still need to build awareness of the App, but that is quickly changing with the brands they’re working with);
- They are only available for media owners and brands currently, unlike apps like Aurasma which are open source. This can be a good thing as it controls content and experience but limits scale;
- Need a 3G connection…still a big barrier in many markets.
With triple digital growth in downloads this app brings static content to life in a scalable way for consumers (engaging with packaging, downloading coupons, entering competitions, ). We need to think about making everything a Blip (ATL, BTL, Packaging, Product, etc).
Mindshare has already used Blippar with a number of clients already and are seeing 5-6 blips per campaign – think of how it can complement TV and other communications as a means for driving frequency and engagement. Also, the company has seen a dwell time of, on average, 3 minutes per Blip – ongoing engagement (great for delivering long-form messages/content)
They’re young, they’re hungry and have a great model with strong VC backing. We’ve seen huge success with audio recognition like Shazaam and you can only imagine a future where you blip a product like a car and it delivers the specs to your phone.