DEVAR believes AR's time for publishers has come

DEVAR believes AR's time for publishers has come

The pitch

DEVAR is a global augmented reality platform that allows publishers to enhance tradtional books with interactive AR content and integrated audio. Its new app can be found in the App Store and Google Play Store.

"AR is not new," admits Anna Belova, DEVAR c.e.o. "Our goal is to reduce the cost and the barriers to entry by offering packaged scalable solutions. AR awareness will reach new heights this year. Support and spend by Apple, Google and Samsung will deliver much greater consumer awareness. We and our partners are in a prime position, at the beginning of this growth curve, to deliver AR to the consumer."

The team

With branches in the United States, Europe, and Asia, the DEVAR team includes over 200 people, with expertise across digital technology, development, design, sales, marketing and business development.

C.e.o. Anna Belova has a background in entrepreneurship, social and educational projects.  Duncan Hamilton - the company's director of sales, business development and licensing - previously worked at Parragon Books UK and Viacom International Media Networks.

"Our team have a deep understanding of what is suitable and appropriate for readers of books with AR," Belova says. "Our R&D centre utilises the information we receive from our analytics and consumer feedback. We use this data to update existing titles and create new ones in line with new trends and needs; the reader is our number one focus. Specialists in psychology and child development give effective educational and immersive experiences across our titles, and the DEVAR app."

What's the gap in the market?

With smartphone use ever on the rise, the DEVAR team is well aware that the number one threat to a publishers isn't other publishers, but competing digital distrations.

"The increased use of mobile devices as a source of content and entertainment was the key reason for the creation of a new mobile-responsive physical product," Belova says. "The connector between a great book and the devices that challenge it today is the technology of AR – together we are stronger!"

Success so far?

DEVAR entered the publishing market in 2015 with an augmented reality colouring book aimed at children 3+. The range of titles has grown to include encyclopedias, numeracy and literacy formats and storybooks, and the team now has more than 100 titles published. In addition to its own range, DEVAR is also a partner with leading global brand owners including Hasbro, Mattel and Nickelodeon. Now operating in 40 countries, Belova reports that DEVAR has sold more than 4 million copies of its AR books to date.

Biggest challenges?

Belova explains that their biggest stumbling block is a 'traditional publishing mindset'. 

"AR does not take away from publishing, it adds," she insists. "It adds a new level of engagement, it adds educational elements and offers a higher degree of entertainment.  The narrative of the book remains critical – AR is not a digital add-on or solely a marketing element; it is integral and supports the book in its own right across every page."

Cost perception is also a challenge. In the past, Belova says, AR was indeed extremely expensive, but she claims that the tide is turning for more accessible enhancement. "Scaled content, a customised modular app and dedicated back-end services means that publishers publish as normal, and we do the rest.  Scaled AR assets reduce cost and increase speed to market. Pre-approved licensed content also adds value at speed."

Ultimate ambition?

The DEVAR team believes that the development of digital technologies and their integration into the world around us will make our lives better, easier and more productive. "That is why we create our products with the ‘helpful reality’ concept in mind," Belova says. "It means that any object and space enhanced with augmented reality acquires a new functional use - improving and enhancing our life."

Advice to other publishing entrepreneurs?

"Make something that people truly need and see value in today (understand who your potential users and customers are, what they like, how they spend their spare time). Embrace emerging trends and be a dreamer with a strong will to work."