Singapore metaverse start-up creating buzz with AR solutions

BuzzAR, a Singapore-based metaverse start-up that offers a suite of augmented reality (AR) and artificial intelligence (AI) solutions, is changing the way tourism and hospitality companies interact with their customers.

The company addresses issues associated with the transition from Web 2.0 to Web 3.0, utilising three core solutions, namely, gamified wayfinding; its flagship WebAR solution which transforms any 2D image into a 3D AI-empowered animated video; and a proprietary Face to Cartoon solution for both B2B companies and the mass public that was released early this year.

Future-ready companies must embrace new technologies in line with market demands, says Beh

“For hospitality companies, by standing in front of a screen, their face turns into cartoon in real-time. We further introduced it to the mass public using an app called HappyToon, where users can play with the app by themselves and at event venues, experiencing how AI computer vision is delighting them during difficult times like (amid this pandemic),” said Bell Beh, co-founder & CEO, BuzzAR.

She cited the example of how the Face to Cartoon technology was showcased at the launch of Singapore Tourism Board (STB)’s Tcube hybrid innovation platform.

“At the entrance of the event venue, people were invited to stand in front of ‘BuzzCam’, and this transformed and gamified the customer experience. It inspires curiosity, fun, and drives the target audience to certain locations,” explained Beh.

“For businesses, you can consider it a soft touchpoint to gamify the existing 2D user experience and replace it with a 3D AI-empowered experience with avatars.”

Beh shared that a hospitality company accumulated an estimated S$500,000 (US$365,604) value in bookings after running a WebAR campaign with BuzzAR, with an ROI that was 100 times.

BuzzAR was a member of the cohort 3 of the Singapore Tourism Accelerator (STA), a start-up accelerator launched by the STB.

The programme allowed the start-up to network with industry partners to understand and solve the pain points and challenges faced by tourism companies, Beh said, adding that the revenue generated was funnelled into growing the business.

Through the programme, BuzzAR gained significant business traction that allowed it to expand its offering into the B2C market, with HappyToon gaining users from 120 countries.

“This means that besides providing an AR solution to hospitality companies, we can now collaborate further to drive global traffic to these companies,” said Beh. “Through this, they can get access to our global audience, which are predominantly female and Generation Z, that allows for more informed targeting.”

During their participation in the STA programme, BuzzAR supported two tourism and hospitality companies, and developed another two leads after the programme. The start-up is currently in talks with more companies to onboard them for different solutions ranging from Face to Cartoon, WebAR, and gamified wayfinding.

“Apart from tourism and hospitality companies, we anticipate that many other venues, such as shopping malls and F&B outlets, will seek to gamify the user experience for their customers,” said Beh.

While the business has gained the most traction in South-east Asia, China, and North America, the team remains focused in bringing borderless solutions from Asia-Pacific to the world.

In the near future, the company plans to launch its very own non-fungible tokens, called CryptoToon, that they co-create in the metaverse, allowing businesses, users and creators to create, own and trade in the creator economy.

Beh said that the company is looking for collaboration partners, such as hospitality companies, to bring the digital goods market to the global audience.

With AR, VR and AI revolutionising the travel and tourism landscape, Beh said that such innovative and immersive tech solutions will drive the future of the industry.

“Web 3.0 has arrived. Therefore, a company’s future depends on how fast and how willing they are to adopting new technologies, while continuing to do what they are best at and observing what the market needs. The market demands AR, immersive tech now,” said Beh.

“AR solutions are one of the best ways to stay in touch with every user, even when they are isolated. Together, we can connect, delight, and entertain users from anywhere.”

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