Si Brown is an entrepreneur who’s been involved with more than 15 startups in different sectors and with varying success. Si gained a master’s degree in Virtual Reality nearly 20 years ago, and his background is in brand, digital marketing and design.
He is the co-founder and CMO of skignz, a geolocation-based augmented reality (AR) platform — the other side of the coin to image-based AR platforms. It uses AR as a new way of presenting information in a more visual and relevant way to any audience and can be used by both individuals and brands to place their own interactive digital content anywhere.
Si will be speaking on the Main Stage at WIRED Retail together with Valtech, our second annual one-day summit focusing on the future of retail, being held in London on November 23.
He will take part in the session, “Retailers won’t be the only ones retailing,” alongside Steve Callanan of WIREWAX, Stefan Siegel of NOT JUST A LABEL and Jean-Christophe Hermann from Valtech.
What are you planning to speak about at WIRED Retail?
I will be exploring how the next generation of AR can have an impact on retail and beyond, looking at products prior to purchase and being more focussed on driving sales and increasing opportunities for people to buy.
Is there anything you’d like to achieve by speaking at WIRED Retail?
The key thing for me is that the audience are exposed to not only what is possible in the future, but also what is available now, that they are necessarily not aware of. Then, how the process of change will take place in relation to retail and the wider use of mobile technologies as we move from mobile to wearables.
By speaking at an event such as WIRED Retail, I increase the exposure of my own brand to a new audience of decision-makers and people who are specifically interested in technology and retail. A core part of the skignz strategy is making online mobile payments less cumbersome and more focussed on “emotive purchase”.
Who are you looking forward to hearing and/or meeting at WIRED Retail?
The speaker I’m really keen to hear and hopefully get the chance to talk with, is Jo Bertram from Uber, we see some really exciting opportunities to work with them. From the delegates, I’m also really keen to talk with the guys from Ladbrokes, Pro-Direct Sports & Ubudu.
However, in the past some of the most interesting conversations have come from people who have heard me speak, who “get” our technology and immediately start to think how it can help their brand.
Those conversations have resulted in some very interesting and unique projects that not only expand the horizons of their brands into areas they did not know were possible, but it stretches our technology and applications in ways we had previously not considered. True innovation encapsulates these discussions.
What do you think could be the most significant challenges and developments for the field of AR in brand content placing over the next few years?
Currently it’s the brands’ own inertia. Many say they are embracing new technology and being innovative, but they are in the minority. Many skirt around the edges of innovation and tech and are scared to embrace it. This is not their fault; as the people who are doing the buying are not entrepreneurs, they work for global brands in a very exposed marketplace, so like the old saying goes, many will rely on a “nobody got sacked from buying IBM” approach.
Whether brands use skignz for increasing experience, or driving emotive purchases, it engages the audience in such a way that they can’t fail to be impressed
The technology has already been developed by skignz, but the brands need to use it and execute their brand activations properly. Where the challenges lie, are around further changing consumer behaviour. Some consumers have just got used to buying online, whilst others don’t know any different.
What are the next big movements?
We at skignz feel that it’s around encouraging users to stop looking at their phone and start to look through it. This change will move to the introduction and widespread roll out of wearables, mostly eye-based (glasses). Consumers can access the skignz content through voice-activated search, with the results being displayed in the real world around them. Relevant content, when and where they require it, presented in a more visual, interesting and relevant way than has ever been seen before, apart from in the movies.
What’s next for skignz?
skignz is currently evolving at significant pace with a very well thought out strategy and growth plan being executed that will establish skignz as the “default browser” for geolocation-based AR.
We are already increasing our team with key positions, increasing the opportunities for global brands to partner with us, not just to use skignz as a brand experience within their marketing activity but with some of these brands, skignz could significantly enhance their overall product/service offering in a very simple yet effective way.
There are no limits to the potential or ambition of skignz and in 2016 you will see the first parts of the strategy being delivered and see skignz moves towards becoming one of the next “unicorns” in global technology.
WIRED Retail Together with Valtech returns to London on November 23 at St Pancras Renaissance Hotel. Last year’s event sold out, so secure your place now: WIRED subscribers save 10 per cent. We also have a limited number of half-price tickets available for retail sector startups. For more information visit: wiredevent.co.uk/wired-retail-2015.