Phygital is a new industry aiming to merge digital content with physical objects in the real world, and Anna Belova, the CEO from DEVAR is a leader in this category.
In this week’s UpTech Report, Anna Belova enlightens host Alexander Ferguson about her company’s augmented reality educational tech and AR creation tools. She also discusses the Metaverse, the difference between virtual reality and augmented reality, and her company’s fascinating journey.
With DEVAR’S MyWebAR platform, your creative team can design and build new AR experiences in a fun, no-code environment. You no longer need to have expert knowledge, special AR glasses, or technical development skills in order to go phygital. It turns out, all you need is a little bit of creativity. You can easily create product showcases, augmented reality advertising content, virtual guides, and more.
Anna Belova is the CEO of DEVAR and MyWebAR (Forbes “30 under 30” in 2019). Using our own computer vision technology and accumulated experience in the development of the AR market, last year we launched MyWebAR. MyWebAR.com, a simple augmented reality building platform designed to allow people all over the world to create AR, no matter how experienced they are at coding. It’s a no code solution for everyone that allows start to create your own Metaverse. Creative teams in 150 countries are now using MyWebAR to create augmented reality experiences and phygital products.
DISCLAIMER: Below is an AI generated transcript. There could be a few typos but it should be at least 90% accurate. Watch video or listen to the podcast for the full experience!
Anna Belova 0:00
This industry will nurse real and digital worlds by connecting the economies.
Alexander Ferguson 0:11
Welcome to UpTech Report. This is our applied tech series UpTech Report is sponsored by TeraLeap. Learn how to leverage the power of video at teraleap.io. Today I’m excited to be joined by my guest, Anna Belova, who’s based in New York. She’s the CEO and founder at DEVAR. Welcome, Anna. Good to have you on.
Anna Belova 0:31
Thank you. I’m glad to hear it.
Alexander Ferguson 0:34
Now DEVAR is, you call it a phygital company, combining digital and physical together really focused on AR experiences. Help me understand Anna, What is the I always like to ask, what’s the problem that you solve? I guess that even comes back to okay, what is AR supposed to solve? But why did you start Devar and are focused on this phygital space?
Anna Belova 1:01
Okay, so I think refers to be right, if I give you some description, what what is finished? Because it’s like a new word. But nobody knows. What does it mean correctly? So yeah, and having Oh, which is to grow and trend of interaction between the physical things and digital content in recent years, having asked us to grow of such technologies as AR we are IoT, 5g and very practical application. So it’s all forming a whole new big industry phygital. And this industry will not real and the digital worlds by connecting the way economists. So we simply it means that all physical objects will combine with digital content. And the problem that we solved when we are providing creator additional companies a really simple way to jump in the new economy. Because when you started to create some something, can you you need their practical skills, but
it’s not in use for traditional companies sometimes doesn’t don’t know how we can do it. And there are is no tising way how a traditional company or like everybody can jump in the new industry and create new products. So if shortly it’s what we do and what kind of problem we solve. It’s in your problem, because we come over last month, a lot of people started to discuss about metaphors and mental agility and Sampha. Like that. And it’s also all about phygital. But we just all discuss about the digital world, like Yeah, but who cares about the real economy sector?
Alexander Ferguson 3:06
You make you bring up a point that there’s a lot of conversation right now. Thanks to some large companies making some changes on this, what do you want to call Metaverse, the combining of the two and you’re trying to create a whole new term, which is not an easy feat. Not an easy thing to do of digital, but the root of it is we are moving into more of this combining of the two, your history of the company Divar 2015, it started is that correct?
Anna Belova 3:39
Yes. Yes. So it’s a little funny story because we started at 2015 and we were crazy about AI. So have a good point. Of course, so and the we believed but with technology to really change the world and it should be in market right now. And fortunately, like a technology company, we started to conversation with different big players in the market, you know, some international market and you know, is as yes, we believe we can know from suggestions from our body doesn’t believe that mented reality with combination with physical things will really work and in 20 ways so first, we don’t think and don’t care about that it’s really photog mented reality had a good opportunity for everybody to learn more about world and visit scooters. And we started to launch our products, it was books and toys, mostly for children. Because we believe to the AR is a good point for them to learn more about modern world and see what kind of opportunities we can use and get through technologies. So and we launched our first product, I guess 2015. And we started to explore China like a market. And we started to work in Europe and our countries. So and of course, we started to develop a market, mostly from population coeducational market, how we can use AR on their products, and how it can be really successful and beautiful for children. But honestly, for me, when I saw how children reacted from where characters comes to life and books, I said, it’s true, no need to do it. We see what children, Erie on the old world was really, really happy about technology. And it’s like you magic, you know, you so how you characters comes to life, you see real dinosaurs, you can go to moon. And now we sold more than 11,500,000 Air Products worldwide. And were translated into 25 languages in 60 countries, I guess, yes, 60 countries right now. And I think it’s success, because a lot of companies tried to copy it and try to make something similar after us. But to be honest, we are one of the global leader in the air product coup right now in the market. So and through another hand, we are technological company. And we have our r&d Center who create a lot of technologies and computer vision. And this is our main core value. So and in parallel, we create the sub technology summary how you can use it. And we last year, we evolved in the phygital. And we launched a no code tool, which allows everybody without special skills to create a feature to products, and all based on our technologies. And you can use just only programmers here, you can create something in augmented reality, and you don’t need to acquire or think about some special skills in programming.
Alexander Ferguson 7:45
But a pause here just for a second, I’m going to pick up in a moment, we’ll edit this part out, I wanted to let you know for a good portion of that I lost you. So I actually I think your internet may not be strong enough. Can you? Are you? Are you on your your your network? Is your network strong? Yes. Okay, I only got the last piece of it. So if anything. I were really picked up and I love the story. It’s like the kids, the kids books. The I think that’s powerful story. Okay, the previous part, so be what, what I’ll do is I’ll pick up here in a second. And we’ll weave some of that same content back in. But if I start to lose you again, I’m going to try to like wait way that you will be able to pick up from there. I can.
Anna Belova 8:34
So I need start again.
Alexander Ferguson 8:36
No, I’ll pick it up. And we’ll weave that part in again. Okay. And one of the things you shared that just really hit strong with me is the experience of kids using AR, I actually have a five year old, and I’ve downloaded a few AR apps, particularly dinosaurs, at any time that I pull that out, he gets so excited to be able to see the real dinosaur running around and he’s like, Dad, let’s do that. Let’s walk out there and record them and he’s like, there’s a dinosaur chasing you. And I truly see the value. It’s like it opens up the imagination. It sounds like you saw that potential with books of that they can it brings the reading experience to to another level. And if I understand correctly, where you guys started in the space was working with publishers to bring an AR experience to their books that I get that correct.
Anna Belova 9:30
And yes and no. Okay. Yeah. So we started to work with publishers. But we first we launched our books ourself. Okay. Yeah. Yeah, because a lot of publishers didn’t believe from this technology, and very didn’t believe for it to work for children. It was me. Yeah, it was surprised for me and surprise for me right now. But we think that it’s really expand. See? It’s tough. It’s
Alexander Ferguson 10:12
just to clarify this experience. Is it is a tableau based or an iPad app or a phone app where the kids would just look through their phone at the book. Yeah. Although no works.
Anna Belova 10:22
Yes. And it works for both platform, iOS and Android. You just need to download the app and see how your characters comes to life and enjoy.
Alexander Ferguson 10:33
You marketed this to Europe and China primarily, correct?
Anna Belova 10:38
No, we work in an afro America as well. So we have good partners in the US and of course in Europe, and not only China, all Asian countries.
Alexander Ferguson 10:48
And then you’ve launched your self service model, is that the my web AR? Is that right? So that people could create their own experiences. So previously, what you’ve been doing is just developing yourself and selling the finished product. Here have a book with an AR experience. And now you’re saying other people can develop their own AR experience with your technology?
Anna Belova 11:14
Alexander Ferguson 11:16
This future of of creating your own AR experiences, you don’t do you need coding, like does someone need to say, Okay, I have to figure out how to code and have my developers create this are you trying to create so that anyone can create an AR experience.
Anna Belova 11:33
So not in the future today, using our platform, you don’t need to have some programs or programming skills, you can do it like write text in a word, like the ages or something like that. And using our service, you don’t need to know code or something like that. You just need a simple editor, I mean, what our main goal is to make AR available and simple for everyone. And we understand that a lot of people who how we can go to Sanford read, it’s really tough for them. So and we create our editor, like a service, which can provide some simple and fast way to make AR experience. Very, really difference for consumers don’t see very old world around you. And it’s like a new world. You know, it’s you can jump in like New York, or new works place, and you can move from a different location, and but you don’t have connection in the real world. And from one hand, it’s fine. And it will work from different industries, like gaming, or maybe education as well. But from another hand, I’m strongly belief that features though, and augmented reality, more practical, and more good, good. And it has good marks, like, sorry, it has good value for people. Because first, it’s connection in the real world. And it’s easy for everybody who can’t be a lot of time and glasses. So and it’s much safer, because you don’t need to lost connection and video worlds. And that’s an image Yes, in VR, it’s a huge problem. So from an African I see with AR It’s like technology, when we change how we can interact with the real world. If you change our habits, our consumption process and it’s we change the economy as a whole. Because from one from another side, it brings to digital enterprises to jump in offline economy from an hour can’t where real economy sector can connect with digital economy. So and it’s really different. It’s visual, it’s about mostly forgiving from my side. AR It’s mostly about everything because doesn’t matter what kind of industry you can use free AR It may be market marketing advertisement, it may be educational. So for example, now 200 universities worldwide by using our platform for where educational experience and it’s really good point when you can see in anatomy or space right when you can not just only imagine you can jump to the real world, and you don’t connection in real so my opinion, er more stronger when we are because we have a real good practical application from every industry. We are it’s maybe I’m not like good specialists in VR, you know, because we, when we had the choice what we will work AR or VR, which was AR Because we see more future program? And yes, I think it’s a good point for everybody who would like to see what kind of industries we can change, which technologies and I think doesn’t matter. Because every every physical object will connect with digital world in the future, maybe five years, maybe two years since depends from the countries and economy as a whole. But everybody of you a world
Alexander Ferguson 15:46
200 universities or colleges are using AR experiences you’ve created? Is it something that diverse created, or they created through your my web AR platform?
Anna Belova 15:59
recreated using my web AR platform?
Alexander Ferguson 16:01
Okay, so this is something that they develop, can you? Can you, any of them come to mind? Can you just like walk me through what what one of them looks like?
Anna Belova 16:10
Oh, it’s really different. So sometimes, it’s a kind of work on physics or chemistry, because you can see how different elements can actually each hour. And of course, AR is a space when you can create a really safe, right, like in real classroom chemistry. I think everybody parent understands that sometimes children would like to create something not really safe.
Alexander Ferguson 16:45
Safe way to to experience something.
Anna Belova 16:48
Yeah. Yes. Yes. So from another hand, I know with if you in New York City is using in a medicine like anatomy, the human body, and same for liquid because when you learn how people what people have inside, er, it’s also really safe space for it. So and also we know what if you University’s using in mathematics, unfortunately, I didn’t have a chance to see how it works in Rio. But they had a lot of feedback from students with it’s really helpful for explanation, some different figures, or low some mathematics, how it works in the real world.
Alexander Ferguson 17:39
Kind of fear. I love technology. So I’m always ready to test something I remember seeing a got a bottle of wine, specifically, I’m trying to read the name of it, because it had an AR experience that you could download and check in and it would tell a story. I really wish I could remember the name of that. wine wine bottle AR experience. I know it Yes, yes. Yes. Yes. So it’s yes, I know. But in many cases, it can seem what’s the word? gimmicky? And I feel like a lot of people feel like, Oh, it’s just, it’s a novelty. It’s not something that really will transform the world. What do you think is the the barrier or what’s holding us back for it to be more than just a gimmick?
Anna Belova 18:30
AR is technology when can provide some user experience. And this is experience not about fun. It’s experience about how we can learn more about the world. Because, again, it’s a strongly on education site. And you just need to see once how children explain and explore a space or anatomy or dinosaurs or something else, it doesn’t matter. And we you will understand how it works in the real world. Yeah. So from now I can’t I think we did step by step because we first we first AR was a military after America team was often empathizing after education today is a physical object. But I can show you and I give you a lot of examples how it can work imagine with you, for example, you go to a pharmacy and you see some new and you just need to go through your browser for camera and see how it works, how it will be helpful, which will be how it will work for you and Sam Phillips read and you don’t need to try. You just need to learn more just for camera. It’s amazing. So it’s really faster. So from another hand, it’s a lot of opportunity from advertisement because imagine what you can see what is really helpful for you And you can see from on our hands, it’s my favorite because it’s about the culture and it’s about the human experience. Imagine that you can see a lot of lost feelings and a lot of seekers, we never can see real world. And we are really crazy. Because it’s it’s a huge opportunity to see not like a listen to see world, but we can never see real.
I understand that not a lot of companies today had a good experience with AI. And because different reasons. So first, it was expensive for second, it’s really, it’s it’s not easy, it was not easy. And you need to, you need to have a strong team with imagination and technology experience. But today, year by year, two, fastest. And today you can create something, just just browser. And it’s not like a stop factor for growing it right. So of course, when we saw the history of about augmented reality, we saw it five years ago. Not a lot of fun, funniest ever. I think it’s really brave five periods. But today, it’s a good point for everybody, for startups to create something new with real to change the world. And I think that it’s a big mistake. Don’t believe that AI or we are not changing? It changed right now. You just need to have an opportunity to join it. Or you lost it. You know, I think we could say question was where we first steps has internet, right? A lot of companies. Rory really concerned about this, if the digital doesn’t work, people would like to go to the shopping can we like to? And people really want to be part of the real world. Tell me about it last year, right?
Alexander Ferguson 22:25
I appreciate your your connection to the Internet, for sure. And for some people, whether it’s the metaverse, it’s the physical space is the digital space. It’s the it’s the next level or web 3.0, whatever you want to call it. I think a lot of conversation is happening now because people realize it’s this next phase. And I get your point and that the the gimmicky. Fun marketing ploys of AR is limited, but it’s the educational piece. That is really maybe the power that can unlock. Unlock, yeah, how people understand where the real value is, in these, in more involved experiences an interactive experience in their in their space, and kids immediately, immediately get it. And through the browser, it’s like, that’s the next thing is as technology advances, as it’s easier to experience them, you don’t have to have a separate app, you just open the camera, and it’s a web browser, then that reduces the the barriers for for experience. I’m curious for you and your technology, how it compares to some other things I’ve been paying attention to, if you’re familiar with its eighth wall, it’s like them they’re trying to develop through that experience. Are I think there’s tool is more for developers, where you’re not necessarily targeted towards developers, is that correct?
Anna Belova 23:51
And yet, so it all works for developers. And if you would like to use them, you need to have some experience in the code. Or you need to be a programmer. Yeah. Or you need to have a programmer in your team. So we have our main goal, again, to make AR simple and available for everyone. And of course, we have an opportunity now as to when you can create something could be programs or developers as well, but it’s the next level. So we first we see our audience who would like to create savvy but don’t have opportunity to have a team. But from another hand. If you’re a developer, you also can use our platform, because you can see a lot of things and a lot of opportunities for where and the main point that you don’t need to have any special skills. Because of the eight Fall Of course, developer Need some special skills for Web CT? There is no.
Alexander Ferguson 25:06
Yeah, that makes that makes sense. Do you have plans on the roadmap for your no code solution, your platform that it will be browser based? Because if I understand is it’s still it’s still app based? Is that correct?
Anna Belova 25:22
No, no, I was no code to solution based on the web. You don’t need to download app. So at basis also, yeah, evolution stem because we understand that sometimes download app, it’s a it’s like, stop factor for everybody right into the marketing, education or communication or something like that. And of course, you just need on the browser, and it works just only for web.
Alexander Ferguson 25:49
And is so the support is there now, both for Apple and Android for browser based AR experiences across both devices.
Anna Belova 25:59
It’s across devices. Yeah. And the main point, but it also works not only from a stronger or expensive devices, it’s also worked from like a low devices, you know, because, yeah, because they handle it. Yeah. Yeah. Cheap and low. Because, you know, we had a lot of experience with children and audience in different countries. And of course, you understand it’s, for example, in the US, or some rich countries in the Euro, it’s not a problem to have a strong devices, but a lot of people worldwide can have an opportunity to make to have a latest Samsung or iPhone, right?
Alexander Ferguson 26:43
Yep. So we need to
Anna Belova 26:45
provide opportunity to join. Yeah, yes. Yes. Wonderful, main, our goal. Yeah.
Alexander Ferguson 26:53
making it accessible. Creating AR experiences, making that accessible to more people is great. The next level, though, is actually creating good AR experiences, meaning an inner, something people would want to go through and learn and teach. Is there any advice you would give to someone who’s trying to create an experience, based off of what you’ve seen of what is really interactive? What What does really work when it comes to creating an augmented reality experience?
Anna Belova 27:27
So the first step, you just need to start.
Alexander Ferguson 27:37
Don’t be overwhelmed. Just just get in there, get your hands wet. But
Anna Belova 27:39
yeah, just right. Because, you know, a lot of people have a concern in their mind that it’s difficult. And it’s not for me, and I can’t do it, because I’m not the creator essential grid, just right, because it’s really easy. And don’t think and don’t keep in your mind that it’s tough or just on the strong professionals. So it is the first. So seriously, I think that we’ve second point and to have idea and what how it, it will be helpful for your audience. Because you can use AR just for fun, it’s also value, it’s a good value, and it works in some industries. But genuinely, what is a good value for your products to using AR, it’s a new experience, it’s a new loyalty level, it’s in, you know, power or something like that. And afterward, you just need to find what kind of content you would like to provide your customers. What kind of quality should have your content, and afterwards, you just need to try something simple substance from something simple because you know, we serve with a lot of people think that where audience would like to have some strong experience some gaming mechanics or something like that. Believe me now, a lot of people worldwide would like to see something, can you and sometimes it doesn’t require a strong gaming mechanics. So interaction. For example, last week, oh no, sorry. This week, one of our partner in China launched a new experience in various Tron. And it’s about air menu, you can see your food. In er, it’s simple, but it’s really it’s really amazing, because in China, but not only China, a lot of restaurant has this problem. You go to a new restaurant and you can’t imagine how your food will look like right? Imagine that you can see we’re first in AR and it’s simple. It doesn’t need some special skills or like spatial mechanics, you just need to show your food in air, and it will be really good experience for your customers. It’s simple. It’s, it has a good value, and it has really a good loyalty level for your customers. So and again, I think the main advice, just try it.
Alexander Ferguson 30:29
Just try it. Don’t Don’t wait. If anything because of technology and platforms like yours, the barrier to jumping and try and definitely has decreased. For those that want to learn more, they can go over to devore.org. Is that right? D var.org? Is that a good place for them to go?
Anna Belova 30:49
Yeah, it’s it’s a main site. So if you would like to jump into the platform, you need to use go that my web er that calm visitors service site, and it’s easy. So and also, I’m highly recommend to read to first industry Fiji report. Explain what features the means and what kind of industries will grow first and cyclic read, why we were featured the market is projected $200 trillion in 2014. I think this is a good point to join it right.
Alexander Ferguson 31:34
And I thank you so much for being on the series, being able to share a little bit what’s going on in your company and where this whole technology space is headed. It’s been great to have you on.
Anna Belova 31:44
Okay, so we’re first. Honestly, we strongly believe that phygital will dramatically and completely change the everyday lives of people around the world. And this is the main area when we will work. So from our plans, we plan to be the number one company and features to industry and becoming the breach between the world of physical things and digital content. So from a technological side, we have a long roadmap, what kind of technology and what kind of opportunity we will add in our no code to because for us, our main goal to make it simple and fast and easy for everyone. So I’m not sure within give you some technologies which will be launched in the future because it’s a little secret. But in this month, for example, we will have opportunity to body create some plugins or create something yourself and shade from our community, for example. So and we will have some good collaborations with different companies. It’s also just a little secret, but stay tuned provided us but we will collect around us some community from companies who would like to who want to share where experience and where opportunities for creators good in design or 3d or something like that.
Alexander Ferguson 33:37
Thank you so much, Anna for being on our our podcast. It was great to have you.
Anna Belova 33:45
Thank you for your addition, I hope it will it was helpful. And I really love to see people who care about technology and passionate about it like us.
Alexander Ferguson 33:58
Thank you again for those who listen and we’ll see you all on the next episode of UpTech Report. Have you seen a company using AI machine learning or other technology to transform the way we live work and do business? Go to UpTech report.com and let us know