Entrepreneurship in emerging technologies with Vaibhav Namburi – Episode 14 – Cut the Cliches

Straight off the back of last week's bonus episode, we're turning now to emerging technologies. Think artificial intelligence, mixed reality, augmented workforces and other new shiny buzzwords in marketing and business. We get the insights directly from the source this week as I sit down with one of Australia's brightest entrepreneurs, Vaibhav Namburi, or V as he's more commonly known.

Disclaimer at this point is that V and I have worked together for a couple of years as we mention in the show.

I genuinely believe that he's one of the country's best and he's active on social channels. So after you've heard the show, check out some of his videos on LinkedIn. He's an engineer by trade who's now solving business problems using technology for some of the world's biggest companies.

He's already built a blockchain solution for the United Nations, mobile apps for the likes of William Hill and News Corp along with PwC.

Not only that but he's built his own product in the form of automated recruitment platform Laddr, a company built by devs for the hiring of devs. An automated and anonymised recruitment tool which allows engineers to portfolio their work and save time without the need to do multiple tech tests. Disrupting recruitment by reducing the shortlisting process for candidates down to a few clicks.

Vaibhav Namburi - Five2One founder - Emerging tech - Commswork best B2B tech PR agency Sydney Melbourne Brisbane

We delve into some of his insights as a founder and marketer of his own brand:

- We discuss how he got into the industry
- How to differentiate yourself in business
- Marketing methods he’s used in his business
- How to harness social media
- What’s next in emerging technology in the 12 months
- Ethics in AI
- Challenges he faced with building his businesses
- Branding
- Problem solving in growth marketing
- The biggest lessons he’s learned
- Why he focuses on marketing
- The importance of simplicity, messaging and trust in business
- Cliches

If you like what we’re up to at Cut the Cliches, please give us some online love in the form of reviews on your podcasting platform of choice. We welcome all thoughts and keen to hear more about what you’d like to see on the show next.

Client: Beam interviewed by CNBC

This week Shezan Amiji from mobile tech startup Beam was quizzed by CNBC on the company’s recent acquisition in the UAE by Majid Al Futtaim.

To read about Shezan’s thoughts on the future of mobile payments, head over to CNBC’s site. There’s a short extract below:

“Mobile payments solutions are trying to solve a problem that doesn’t exist today. You need to offer the consumer and the merchant something that they can’t get,” Amiji said.

“The value proposition of convenience is too narrow to shift consumer behaviour at scale, so you need to have value in the system in order to incentivise change and drive adoption at scale,” he added.

Mobile World Copycat – Android competitors mirroring the good and bad from Apple

Barcelona was the destination for most in the world of tech this week, as Mobile World Congress was in session.

But most of the media was underwhelmed by the hardwares on offer.

Indeed Fast Company reports that phone makers are embarrassing themselves by coping Apple’s ideas, as we move towards a future with features ubiquitous across devices.

Following on, The Verge gives the best and worst from the event and explains why the future of mobile is more notches than headphone jacks.

5G was on the lips of most speakers though, as Chinese manufacturer Huawei announced a partnership with BT to bring the technology to customers in the UK, as ZDNet reports.

In a look to what comes after mobile, The Register weighs up options from this year’s event, mainly looking at the impact of AI.

The best of CES – ‘ingredient technologies’ and 5G to expand most industries say CTA tech analysts

The annual tech and gadget pilgrimage to the desert took place last week.

Drones, unnecessary connected devices among some pretty cool and innovative tech.

To discover the real insights behind the event, head over to Juniper Research where there’s a 30 page report on the impact of ‘ingredient technologies’ from CES, ‘those that glue the industry together’ (5G, AI, IoT, mixed realities, AR, VR, etc). It can be read in full here

It’s the first year Google has set up shop at the event – billed as a VAS (voice activated services) battle of epic proportions as the Californian behemoth went up against Amazon which has been at the festival for many years through its cloud offerings. Sahil Patel explains more on Digiday.

Despite a biblical downpour on the first day, Google’s pop-up demo tent received a visit from TechCrunch’s Tito Hamze and you can see what he experienced here.

To read more on the Consumer Technology Association’s 2018 predictions, head to VentureBeat as Dean Takahashi reports from Las Vegas.

Oh and the lights went out. At an electronics festival. The irony was not lost on social media. Engadget with the update and the best Twitter could capture.

Will Apple’s ARKit help augmented reality reach mainstream audiences?

AR. A technology that’s been around for decades.

But last summer’s Pokemon Go craze provided a new stage.

It placed AR in the hands of people who had never heard the term. Overnight fame. However I can’t help feeling the limelight hasn’t quite been capitalised on.

This could change in the coming weeks.

I’m not a developer. Which is why I sought advice from three minds much more expert than myself to ask what impact they thought, ARKit could have on the adoption of the technology.

What is ARKit?

Well back in June, at Apple’s annual week long geekout, also known as WWDC (worldwide developers’ conference), it confirmed a new “fast and stable motion tracking” SDK for iOS11. Essentially the building blocks for apps that allow objects to look real when using the technology on your phone or tablet.

Since then developers have had a chance to play with this toolkit and the results seem stunning.

Are you not entertained?

Apple already enlisted A-list creative talent to illustrate its potential. Cue Sir Peter Jackson…

So from an entertainment point of view you can see the benefit.

Previously AR has needed triggers to launch the experience. For example Fox Sports Bathurst 1000 race last year allowed viewers to beam the race direct to their coffee table thanks to studio Mod, a Sydney based agency headed by Michela Ledwidge.

However both ARKit, and Google’s recently announced competitor ARCore, strip out that need. Just point and go. No longer do you need a QR code-like mapping point to get the technology started.

Co-founder of Sydney’s women in AR/VR group, Ledwidge believes “AR is a great opportunity, if you have the assets”.

Both Apple and Google now think the time is right for pooling resources into the tech. Google has come out with its jumpstart for developers, ahead of its second handset launch Pixel 2 on October 6.

Style over function

However one of the accusations has been that AR, looks impressive, but lacks real world use. A gimmick.

Speaking with Chris Panzetta, head of creative tech agency S1T2, he’s measured in his excitement about the upcoming updates as he believes we have a way to go before it’s taken beyond just a novelty.

“What ARKit and ARCore are going to do is democratise the technology”. He says that we’ll need to forget about the technology first, to then realise its full potential and what it could be used for. He hopes the way we reference it will change, much in the same way the term digital is now slowly becoming obsolete (you no longer need a digital strategy, but a strategy for a digital world – as argued by Tom Goodwin years ago).

Looking to take the tech beyond ‘fad’ status, the new Neon AR app, made with ARKit, has put together possibly my favourite problem-solving use case. It overlays a neon sign above your friends in a crowd.

Imagine the benefit at festivals. Hopefully coming to Australia in time for Falls fest.

There’s a lot still holding back the tech. Battery life, processing power, not to mention the social issues around mixed reality and someone wearing a headset that could potentially be filming you (not something that has held Air New Zealand back mind you).

The backlash against ‘Glassholes’ still lingers in the memory. Although it’s interesting to see that technology get a recent rebirth in the business enterprise sector.

AR at work

And perhaps that’s where the potential for AR exists too. Construction and floor plans brought to life for architects. Agricultural planning with real-time data on a headset. This mixed reality future already exists and is helping the thriving agritech scene.

A showroom with no cars? Well GM is already taking the showroom to you.

Rob Lang, CEO of AR outfit Auggd has seen these differing sectors reflected in his clientbase. Just last week the company released this fantastic experience for Hyundai, giving car buyers extra info, like difficult to explain animated safety features, customisable colours and versions of its vehicles.

This is just the beginning

All of the people I spoke to were quick to say that it’s great to have their technology potentially in the hands of more consumers. And more importantly developers.

But you still need a good idea at the centre. S1T2’s Panzetta claims “if it doesn’t require a super mega brand for it” to work, then it might be worth pursuing.

“We’re only at the start of a technology here, that’s been around for 20 to 30 years” according to Rob Lang from Auggd. It’s going to be up to the developers and those in the industry to prove its value.

So while AR may not be catapulted to top of our tech habits with this update, analyst firm Telyste thinks it will be enough for Apple to regain its crown as number one phone maker in Australia for the first time since 2014.