News invests in augmented reality start-up

News invests in augmented reality start-up

News Corp Australia has led investment in augmented reality company Plattar, which just closed an oversubscribed seed investment round for $1.1 million.

Plattar is a cloud-based platform that offers brands, publishers and agencies a simple way to create, manage and distribute AR content.

Founded by Rupert Deans in 2015, the platform operates on a subscription model, with additional options for larger projects.

It is currently in private beta mode and is expected to open to the public before the end of the year.

News Corp Australia’s chief technology officer, Alisa Bowen, said AR was a major component of the next wave of consumer engagement.

“This investment is also News Corp Australia’s first seed investment, which shows our belief in both the technology and in Plattar,” she said.

AR technology overlays a digital dimension on the real world that can interact with stimuli in real time. This digital overlay is revealed through a viewing device such as a mobile phone and can consist of videos, 3D models, images and audio.

Augmented reality in action. The PropertyAR app overlays a digital dimension to a printed newspaper.

Augmented reality in action. The PropertyAR app overlays a digital dimension to a printed newspaper.

REA Group, majority-owned by News, worked with Plattar to produce the PropertyAR app, released earlier year.

The app, when used in conjunction with a printed property catalogue, reveals additional information about property listing including photos, maps and agent information.

“Working with Rupert, (general manager) Steve and the Plattar team on a partnership with REA Group and Ray White in February confirmed the huge potential in the platform, and we will be looking to integrate AR and Plattar across many more of our publications,” Ms Bowen said.

The Plattar platform consists of a template driven app builder and content management system for managing AR experiences, and can deploy content to any device.

Mr Deans said the aim of the platform was to simplify and demystify the whole AR process, which currently was labour and skill-set intensive.

“It’s going to be as simple as building any sort of presentation. If you can use PowerPoint, you can use Plattar,” Mr Deans said in an interview with The Newspaper Works several weeks ago.

Speaking about the investment round, Mr Deans said the company was pleased to welcome News as a strategic partner and investor.

“This round of investment will allow us to accelerate growth through additional investment in product development and marketing activity as part of an ambitious plan to cement Plattar as the world’s leading AR creator,” he said.

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