Do you still remember the days when we had to build each website independently? When there was no WordPress, Jimdo & Co.? We are currently at this stage when it comes to Augmented Reality: Those who want to offer their products through AR still need a customized approach. But that’s about to change. The Magdeburg start-up company 3DQR has developed a new AR module concept. Their aim: to make AR available anytime and anywhere to any user in a simple and cost-effective way.
3DQR Founder Daniel Anderson in an interview with Innovation Origins
How did you come up with the idea to set up your start-up?
I have been busy with the theme of Augmented Reality (AR) for a long time. For instance, I used to work at the Fraunhofer Institute IFF. Then I moved to an agency specializing in Mixed Reality Marketing. This is where I realized that customers who wanted an AR solution always received a customized solution. This is expensive and time-consuming – just as it used to be, for example, when it came to website design.
It was with this in mind that I first came to the conclusion that it was possible and necessary to standardize the AR range for a wide variety of applications. The idea of developing an AR-CMS system was born, where the user logs on and places their 3D data in pre-existing building blocks in order to make them available via QR.
Where are the specific areas of application that you offer?
In principle, there are of course countless areas of application – ranging from a shopping experience where the products are presented virtually in the shop, through to furniture that can be placed virtually in your own living room.
At present, however, we are concentrated on education and industry, especially training and maintenance. Among other things, we are currently working with the IHK on the integration of Augmented Reality into their textbooks. For example, we incorporated a QR code into the iron casters’ textbook, using AR to depict the separate casting stages, but also the critical aspects that must be taken into account when working with hot metal.
During maintenance work in industry for instance, the AR provides digital instructions on the machine to demonstrate which step is to be taken next, i.e. what is to be dismantled next or where attention should be focused.
What is special about your service?
We all are familiar with the connection between AR and the real world when it comes to furniture stores. But the difference is that these solutions were developed specifically and individually. These are very elaborate and expensive. In addition, they are relatively simple, as they only work for a limited number of furniture items.
Our solution can be used flexibly thanks to CMS, thereby remaining inexpensive and easy to use. The only requirement is that 3D images or videos either already exist or are specifically created.
When you first started, what was the biggest hurdle you had to overcome?
It was precisely the most typical hurdle that you always have to struggle with when setting up a company: When the required turnover does not rise as fast as one might need. In the beginning, I applied the bootstrap principle – i.e. financing with my own funds and reducing costs as much as possible until I started generating large sales.
Was there a moment when you wanted to give up?
No, because I had developed a contingency plan for the initial period when I started as a freelancer in 2014. If I hadn’t generated sales within a few months, I would have stopped. Fortunately, that was not necessary.
What was the best moment for you with respect to founding the start-up, what made you particularly proud?
Actually, every new milestone I reach with my team makes me proud. Like when I look at our team photo – since then we now have around 30 people. All people who work everyday on implementing and improving the idea of 3DQR.
What can we look forward to in the next few years, in other words: What can we expect from you in the coming years?
Well, we are currently in the process of convincing more and more education providers to use our product. We are also already in discussions with large corporations. After all, we want to generate steady growth. In other words, we have doubled the number of employees and sales every year since the company was founded and intend to continue to do so in the future.
What drives you every morning?
My co-workers (laughs) …we are evolving so fast. There’s a new challenge every minute. Accordingly, we are currently in the process of creating new structures, be it in technical development, sales or marketing – we want to make the whole company as effective as possible and are continually develop ourselves further.
What is your vision: Where do you see your company in 5 years time and what is your ultimate goal?
My vision for 3DQR is to become the market leader in the field of AR, that we are, so to speak, the standard for everyone who wants to use AR. In order to do this, we will strive to cooperate with more major brands. We would also like to push AR even further as a self-service platform.
“As to AR, I imagine you will be able to place 3D content anywhere you want in the real world.”