My Native Admission Statement: We live in a world where billions of hours of video and data are at our fingertips, and I thought -- and still do believe -- that we should always maximize what we have. I don’t like to waste any good idea/opportunity, and the thought of “what could be” inspired me. Luckily, my experience founding several successful startups primed me well for starting a company that tests the limits of what’s possible.
Drone filming is my hobby, and one day after filming my daughter surfing, I thought to myself: What else can be done with drones and the cache of video data being recorded? That’s how Edgybees found its footing as a gaming company. I guess one could say I jumped on the AR-gaming bandwagon -- but I knew the story wasn’t supposed to end there. The potential for AR-equipped drones is powerful, so we took a chance and created an AR software platform that the public safety, military, and broadcasting sectors can use in accordance with their unique needs. And that’s where we are today.
Bio: I am Co-Founder and CEO of Edgybees, the world leader in visual intelligence technology. Our software platform enhances drone video footage to provide customers across various industries the ability to understand any complex scene instantly. Prior to Edgybees, I co-founded and served as an executive at multiple technology companies, including Xennex Inc. (acquired by Biotime Inc.), Athoc (acquired by Blackberry), Digital Guardian and Tonian (acquired by Primary Data).
How did you get into the Industry?
Honestly? I turned a recreational hobby into a business. I used to race drones with my now Edgybees co-founder and CTO Menashe Haskin, just for fun. We started considering how we could make the experience more immersive, and quickly realized that by implementing AR technology, we could add challenges and courses. Eventually this sparked the founding of Edgybees as an AR gaming enhancement software, but we soon saw its greater potential in the industrial space. It was an easy decision to expand our focus to the commercial level -- it’s currently deployed in the public safety, industrial, military, and broadcast sectors – and we haven’t looked back since.
Any emerging industry trends?
Overall, AR is making its way more and more into the limelight. Just in February, Apple opened a new executive position dedicated strictly to AR development, confirming its commitment to AR as a core part of its business. And with Apple and Google’s AR development apps, it seems inevitable that more tech giants will follow suit in prioritizing AR sooner than later.
This injection of money and manpower into the industry has fed into another industry trend: the consolidation of the AR market. In 2018, 34 AR-focused startups were acquired. It seems for AR companies, it’s either consolidate or expect insolvency or acquisition. More significant than this trend itself, however, is what it indicates about the future of the industry. AR companies are getting serious and looking beyond the one-off gaming gimmick. What society needs is AR’s development as a real-use case technology— something that can assist in productivity or safety, for example – to ensure its longevity.
Within the industrial sectors, we’re seeing more and more the application of AR in critical search and rescue missions. Further, with the international search and rescue equipment market projected to grow from $113.62 in 2017 to $125.66 billion by 2022, implementation of technology is an inevitability. It has never before been so vital that we use every resource at our disposal to counter growing threats, and we are glad to do our part in providing life-saving technology when it’s most needed.
We’ve also seen a rise in AR’s use in sports — most recently the development of the NBA AR app, in addition to the AR broadcast of the Super Bowl LIII, and the 2018 PGA Championship.
5G connectivity will pick up speed (pun intended) in the US and worldwide, which will be a boon to augmented reality, connected wearables, and more. 5G will take AR to the next level, as it offers a 10x decrease in latency, and AR/VR requires a cheaper and stronger network with lower latency and increased consistency. Additionally, 5G will provide more connections, up to a million per square kilometer, which is amazing news for AR/VR as both require optimal network performance.
Any industry opportunities or challenges?
For all its benefits, AR can oftentimes be inaccessible and difficult to integrate into existing offerings -- a major pain point for industry professionals looking to implement the technology. To counter this challenge, we recently developed an API offering on our Argus platform to allow developers to create AR software that can be specifically tailored to their industry’s needs.
With the Argus Platform API, developers are able to create applications for any operating system or hard/software platform of their choice, customizing their experience to fulfill their company’s specific needs. The main goal here is to meet growing demand from developers across various industries looking to incorporate Edgybees’ augmented reality intelligence into their video analysis capabilities.
Inspiration for the business idea, and your vision for the Business?
The initial idea for Edgybees came from mine and Menashe’s old hobby of drone racing. Once we got started with Edgybees as a gaming company, we soon saw a significant real-use case for our technology-- the potential to do good for society-- and made the strategic shift from gaming to commercial. My vision for Edgybees is to keep growing in the sectors we’ve already permeated, and to continue developing different kinds of software that will meet the growing demands of the markets we are currently in.
What's next for the Business in the near future?
Edgybees will continue to enter new sectors, especially with the recent release of the Argus platform API that brings the benefits of AR to industries like agriculture and the military, and sparking potential new partnerships with police and fire departments. Other sectors, such as urban development, will be able to use the API for infrastructure planning, mapping, constructing, and inspecting.
Ideal experience for a customer/client?
The ideal experience for a customer would be someone looking to solve an inefficiency in their operations, whether it be maximizing manpower, cutting time investment, or facilitating safer on-site conditions – quickly, and in a cost efficient way. Our newly released Argus platform with API enables any developer to seamlessly integrate our AR technology into their offering, providing that crucial enhancement to boost clarity and collaboration in all situations.
How do you motivate others?
Employees should be encouraged to speak up, stand their ground, and not be afraid to bring their views forward in the meeting room, regardless of seniority or consensus. The last thing you want as a startup is to fall into a pit of yea-saying. Once a decision is made, regardless of who suggested it, everybody should align and operate according to it.
Career advice to those in your industry?
It’s imperative that employees be active, take risks and accept that mistakes will happen. Startups should embrace, not stifle, out-of-the box ideas, and accept that failure is part of the journey. If you have an employee in the field demoing your product for a potential customer and said customer requests a feature not currently available, you’d be foolish not to encourage quick action, even at the risk of failure.
In the AR industry, this is especially true when determining how to harness the vast potential of the technology and finding new and exciting ways to implement it. Had it not been for mine and Menashe’s willingness to think beyond the world of gaming, we never would have been able to take our product to the next level – adapting it to make a real difference on a commercial level and helping industry professionals act more consciously and efficiently.