Last week I interviewed Wang Bowen, CEO of LEAPSY, a domestic AR headset company. Speaking of LEAPSY, perhaps everyone will be a little unfamiliar. This company was founded in 2015 and has self-developed optical modules and AR headset design and mass production capabilities. The team members have rich practical experience in the fields of product design, production, supply chain, optical research and development, and have applied for a number of invention patents during the product and technology research and development process. Currently, LEAPSY has offices in Shenzhen and Taipei, and has established extensive cooperative relations with well-known enterprises and units in the industries of industry, medical care, education, and cultural tourism. During the communication with Wang Bowen, I learned about some new scenarios of AR in the B-end application, and at the same time I felt that in his eyes, AR has a broader future in the C-end market.
Before the founding of LEAPSY, Wang Bowen was mainly engaged in the development of AR software, and the reason why he started his business in 2015 is mainly because he values the future prospects of the “third screen” very much. The so-called “third screen” refers to the HMD (head mounted display) of the “first screen” of the TV/display and the “second screen” of the smartphone. “I think AR and VR glasses belong to the third screen, and the next generation of technology products will be more widely used on the third screen. They will not be restricted by a fixed location (compared to the first screen), and have more Good user experience (compared to the second screen), and can be applied in many industries such as industry, medical care, education, cultural tourism, and our food, clothing, housing and transportation. The third screen can replace today’s smartphones in the future, and we We hope to create more and wider applications on the third screen. Based on this idea, we founded LEAPSY. The brand name’LEAPSY’ has a meaning of jumping, and we hope that our products represent a larger technology Progress, they should belong to the next generation of products.”
The transition from AR software to AR headsets is a combination of software and hardware, mainly because the team believes that the experience of users watching AR through mobile phones is very different from wearing AR glasses. AR (augmented reality) experience, while on glasses is an MR (mixed reality) experience, relatively speaking, the value and market potential of the latter is undoubtedly greater. “Compared with software, the threshold of hardware is higher. I have also done hardware before, and our co-founder started to develop the optical part in 2012, so our team is basically a seamless integration in optics, hardware, In software, there are corresponding technical teams to perform their duties.”
At present, LEAPSY’s main customers are concentrated in the B-end market. One of the segments that left a deep impression on me is the combination of thermal imaging technology and AR. Wang Bowen told me that LEAPSY’s first-generation AR glasses incorporate infrared camera modules, which can be used in medical thermal detection, security inspection, building maintenance, warehouse fire detection and other fields, and this combination is the first in China. “To give an example of our application in the power industry, in the past, some workers in power plants needed to use handheld thermal imaging cameras for inspection and maintenance when inspecting and repairing, which was very inconvenient. Now we integrate infrared cameras, AR glasses and safety helmets. At the same time, workers only need to wear a set of equipment, and they can inspect and repair on one side, which not only frees hands, improves efficiency, but also improves the safety of operation. Products like this can also be used in many fields. We have a red product specifically for firefighters. You can imagine how to quickly and safely find and rescue people in distress in a fire scene with heavy smoke everywhere and poor visibility? Our product is just right. Come in handy.” Speaking of this, I have to mention one thing. During the interview, I personally experienced AR glasses with an infrared camera module. The feeling is very magical: There are two screens in front of my eyes. The left side shows the thermal image, and the right side shows the normal video image. At this moment, a few fragments of spy war films jumped out of my brain. In the middle of the night when I couldn’t see my fingers, the protagonist quickly discovered and eliminated the hidden enemy with advanced infrared equipment…
In addition to combining thermal imaging technology with AR, LEAPSY has also made achievements in the B-end industry serving consumers such as cultural tourism. In 2018, LEAPSY reached a strategic cooperation with Tongcheng Cultural Tourism, a subsidiary of Tongcheng Travel, and will jointly deploy AR tourism in the next three years. On China Tourism Day on May 19, the first project of the cooperation between the two parties-China’s 5A-level scenic spot Changzhou Yancheng Spring and Autumn Park AR Tour was officially launched. “We have customized and developed an AR one-body machine for tourism in the same city. At the same time, we have also made integrated pictures, videos, interactive games, etc. for 5 scenic spots including the’Spring and Autumn Layout’ and’Long-Long Recharge’ AR interactive experience content. After tourists enter the scenic spot, they can get scenic navigation, content explanation and other services through our AR one-body machine. In the past, tourists could only get audio explanations through the tour guide, but now AR can let tourists get more Good tour experience.”
In general, when LEAPSY serves B-side customers, it basically reverses product design based on customer needs. For example, products in some industrial scenarios will consider safety more, while products in the cultural and tourism field Considering more comfort, this customized and flexible service model is undoubtedly scientific and effective at this stage. Through this way of custom-developing hardware and content based on customer needs, LEAPSY has obtained more and more customers and orders, and has also continuously expanded the application scenarios of AR in various industries.
In addition to providing customized services for B-side customers, LEAPSY is also actively deploying the C-side market. Wang Bowen told me that this year the company is negotiating cooperation with some content vendors to jointly promote the construction of consumer-oriented AR content, including some first-tier manufacturers. “We have seen a clear trend since last year. Both Apple and Google have launched mobile phone-based AR development kits. Large domestic manufacturers such as NetEase and Lenovo have also launched their own mobile AR platforms. Mobile AR is becoming more and more mature, and many AR content can be distributed through mobile phones, which is very close to the C-end market. Now there are many companies that are negotiating with us. Their strengths lie in software and content, such as games or videos. The AR headset is what we are good at, and everyone can complement each other.”
In terms of the specific cooperation model, Wang Bowen believes that different manufacturers will have different strategies, and LEAPSY can accept different methods that are also very flexible. They can cooperate with their respective brands or provide OEMs for major manufacturers. “We are more optimistic about AR in the C-end market. We think it will be an explosive period from the end of this year to next year. At this stage, alliances and cooperation with third parties are the best strategy. In this regard, we I am willing to establish cooperation with various content vendors.”
Speaking of the popularity of AR in the C-end market, I think it is necessary to introduce LEAPSY’s progress in optics. At present, LEAPSY’s products include prism and free-form surfaces in optics. The FOV of the prism product reaches 45 degrees, and the FOV of the free-form surface product reaches 60 degrees. In addition, LEAPSY also has a patent that can be called a black technology: through the combination of software and hardware, the FOV can be increased by 30%, that is to say, the original 60-degree FOV free-form glasses can be achieved through software optimization The effect of FOV around 80 degrees. During the interview, I also experienced the effect of watching movies through LEAPSY AR glasses. I felt that the picture was very clear and the visual range was excellent. Such hardware products have been able to provide consumers with a good carrier, and with the emergence of more C-side AR content, we are likely to usher in the spring of AR in the C-side market in the near future.
At the company level, Wang Bowen said that LEAPSY’s next round of Pre-A financing has just started, with a target amount of 30 million yuan, while the previous angel round came from a friend’s private investment. “This is our first contact with an investment institution, and we will spend some time in this area next. This round of financing will be mainly used for core technology research and development, cooperation project promotion and business development, because our main focus is on customers Customization, and some projects require early investment, so financing can help us follow up a few more projects. We can accept financial investment and strategic investment in this round. Of course, we think that the ideal investor can best come from a cooperative relationship with us Industry partners.”
For the company’s vision, Wang Bowen hopes that LEAPSY can become the next unicorn in the future, and together with many partners, the AR industry market and consumer market will be enlarged. “Going back to the present, we see that ordinary consumers still rarely have the opportunity to access AR glasses, so we hope to work with more partners to promote AR products in the mass consumer market and jointly promote the market. Bigger. In this regard, we have always upheld the principle of win-win cooperation.”
I have to say that among the AR products I have experienced, LEAPSY’s products give me a feeling of coexistence of coolness and comfort, and this feeling is rare. I think this may be due to the team’s design And technical strength. At the same time, through the combination with thermal imaging technology, LEAPSY has allowed me to see more possibilities of AR in industry applications, and these possibilities are very valuable for an emerging industry. Finally, I wish LEAPSY a smooth round of financing. I also look forward to LEAPSY’s ability to help more industry customers solve their business pain points and work with more partners to accelerate the popularization of AR in the C-end market.
News source: http://www.913vr.com/news/ggzf/20180620/17282.html