Q&A: Jay Wright, VP of business development, Qualcomm

In early April the Raymond James investment firm upgraded Qualcomm‘s stock rating from “outperform” to “strong buy.” The Motley Fool financial services company declared that Qualcomm was “the only truly vertically integrated mobile device components supplier.” With that in mind, Direct Marketing News met recently with Jay Wright in hopes of learning all that Qualcomm has in store for mobile marketers.

Why should marketers care about cell phones that can see?

By turning the camera in a mobile device into an eye with our Vuforia augmented reality technology, marketers can connect that device to their products, advertising, catalogs, flyers, direct mail, you name it. We made this available free in 2011 and at CES 2012 there were 400 applications. At CES this year there were 2,500. So companies care already.

You mention catalogs. OK, I’m a catalog and e-commerce merchant. How’s this improving my business?

Lego uses it in its new catalog. They show kits and pictures of the things you can build with them. Say a page with a tractor on it has a Lego Connect logo. If a child has the app on his phone and he holds it over that picture, the tractor materializes in 3D and drives off the page. It lets a customer visualize the product as it would appear if [he] purchased it. You could literally turn your paper catalog into an interactive website.

Retailers are increasingly using geo-location techniques to draw customers to stores to purchase specific products. How can augmented reality aid that effort?

Say I’m shopping for a flat screen television. They come in so many sizes and I have no idea what will work for me. But I know what make I want and the retailer or the manufacturer sends me pictures of its inventory. If I’m in my home, I can use my phone or tablet to visualize how each size looks in my living room.

What’s next?

We’re going to make that camera work more…like your eye. The phone will be able to recognize every object, every surface, every person in the environment. That will allow marketers to create more highly interactive experiences. We’re also working on a project called AllJoyn that will allow nearby devices to discover each other and talk to each other. You could have things jump off a TV, onto a tablet, and back on to the TV.

And beyond that?

Give devices the ability to listen, to understand what’s going on in our environment—because, if it knows that, it can remind us or make suggestions to us.

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