On April 4, Xperiel won the Silver Edison Award in the IoT category for their “Real World Web” IoT AR Operating System. The company was founded in 2014 by Alex and Phillip Hertel, who sold their previous company, Walleto, to Google. The company is best known for its massive location based AR-powered brand experiences in major league sports venues. The Sacramento Kings and LA Dodgers are among its seed investors. Lyle Einstein, Xperiel’s Director of Business Development, accepted the award on behalf of the company.
The Edison Awards, now in its 32nd year, are prestigious and competitive. They are focused on recognizing innovation and i nvention that captures the spirit of the pioneering inventor and his diverse portfolio of 1,300 patents. The ballot of nominees for the Edison Awards was judged by a panel of more than 3,000 leading business executives including past award winners, academics and leaders in the fields of product development, design, engineering, science and medicine. The Edison Achievement Award was given to Ginni Rometty, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of IBM.
Xperiel’s submission suggests its ambitions go far beyond advertising. Xperiel’s goal is the development of their real-world, AR-enabled operating system and programming tools that will allow anyone to publish content to the Real World Web, which can be accessed by any device without an app based on a combination of geolocation, computer vision, and IoT sensors.
Xperiel’s application for the award describes a full-stack, end-to-end, device-independent system called ROX that consists of three major parts: (1) Pebbles, an entirely graphical codeless programming language designers can use, (2) a WYSIWYG screen editor to create your UI, and (3) the ability to rig up the physical world with triggers, which are sensor interactions and anchors which turn users’ mobile devices into mouse cursors for the physical world. Xperiel’s platform surfaces a full arsenal of sensor inputs, making it easy to set up vision or audio recognition, GPS, NFC, or Beacon interactions.
Alex Hertel, the CEO of Xperiel, told me “the major innovation here is that this is an entirely graphical programming language with no grammar or syntax. It allows creative people to become programmers, giving them the power to build. Xperiel’s goal is to democratize programming so that everyone can build software — not just yesterday’s software, but rather tomorrow’s AR-enabled, IoT-based applications. We also make it easy to create and deploy 3D content to tomorrow’s apps that can interact with the physical world, kind of like Pokemon Go.”
While the sports activations are what the public sees of Xperiel’s technology, under the hood, explained Hertel, is a scalable AR Cloud platform capable of turning every smartphone into a Universal Visual Browser (UVB) capable of clicking on the real world, and always aware of its location and context, Whether you are in a stadium or a store, driving or walking, the UVB is running invisibly in the background, ready when you need it. The pain points are numerous, but the ambition of this excites the imagination.
No one knows who will own the operating system for the visual web, or if there will be just one, but Hertel is convinced it will be Xperiel’s. “We’ve been working on the system for five years now,” Hertel said. “We’ve built an operating layer for the visual web, enabling the publishing of location-based AR content, and the mobile browser technology for consumers to use it. We’re proud and honored to accept the Edison award as recognition of our larger vision.”.