Cela fait maintenant quelques années que Kudan se développe du coté de Bristol (UK) et présente régulièrement des réalisation sur les salons importants. Pour en savoir un peu plus, nous sommes allés rencontrer Tomo OHNO son fondateur.
Hello Tomo, could you present yourself and the history of Kudan ?
Kudan was established in 2011, initially as an AR apps developer. I was running a console games publisher back then and came across AR as one of our own marketing tools. I found AR to be very interesting but at the same time found it unexplored and misused. I decided to exit the game publisher and started Kudan.
We started using third party AR engines but were frustrated with the quality, so the decision was taken to develop our own.
What are your products and services today ?
We have three lines of business: 1. Sales of KudanAR engine, 2. Development of App with AR, 3. Licensing our technology to other technology companies. Licensees include HMD manufacturers and mobile manufacturers, as well as some consulting.
Are you focusing on special fields (industry, marketing, etc.) ?
AR is a core technology, not a solution nor a product. This means there is no particular field to focus on. That is something our customers do.
Kudan has developed its own engine because we see the value in the technology, and also we were frustrated with available engines. Our engine is developed from scratch.
I guess you use to be compared with others AR provider like Wikitude, Vuforia and so on. What are your specificities ?
The biggest difference comes from our experiences of using other engines. Others are only focusing on developing their engine and don’t have clear view of their users. For example, we too use the cloud, but computing (recognition matching) is done locally. Cloud is only used to store content.
This means that when the contents are downloaded the user can then use an app without having a network connection and the app can avoid the ‘per scan’ cost (computing on the cloud is expensive, while data storage is very cheap). In most, if not all, marketing campaigns there is a limit on the budget and a ‘per scan’ cost simply won’t sit well with those projects.
Other strength is robustness. As you can see in the videos, Kudan engine works with blurred a image, from a deep angle, or even in a dark place. Those are the real life scenarios when an app is used in real life. Other engines tend to work well inside on a desk, but not outside the office.
Compatibility with standard 3D models is another advantage. Kudan engine is fully compatible with Maya and 3D max, can handle normal map and animation. Others tend to use their own format, requiring users to convert each models and that breaks models very often.
Past months, we have seen many “movement” in the AR world (Metaio, Vuforia, etc.) How do you imagine next 2 years for AR actors ? Are we going to a period of massive concentration ?
While AR and VR market is expanding, the majority are providing solutions and products. There are not many ‘commercially usable’ engines in the market now and as such the solutions and products providers become our customers. I believe many of those solutions or product providers will disappear. It should not be an AR app, but should be an App with AR.
Our focus is on Computer Vision and sensing technology, which lead us to IoT. We are already working with an IoT company and embedding our engine into chips as well.
Now, imagine we are in 2030. What AR could do in everyday life ?
I do not think AR is used as a word anymore, way earlier than 2030. As we don’t worry about communication protocol any more, AR will be a small part of large technology.
Currently VR is talked about as a separate technology from AR, IoT as another separate technology. VR is one of display methods, AR is one way of using computer vision technology, IoT includes all sensing technology as part of it.
Many thanks Tomo ! If you, readers, want to known more about Kudan, go to the website www.kudan.eu