The Only Limit to Augmented Reality is our Imagination: An Interview with Calum McHardy of Unicom

This week we talked with Calum McHardy– director of Unicom. Unicom offers a wide range of digital services relating to 3D animation and digital presentation. However, our talk concerned Company Connecting’s continuing theme of Augmented reality.

Hi Calum, could you tell us what Unicom is all about and how your business is structured?

We’ve grown from a Graphic design studio to embrace new technology. We now do a wide variety of things including 3D Animation, simulation, APP Development and Corporate films. Our first office was set up in 1993. My personal background is in advertising agency work and graphic design. The majority of our customers are oil and gas based but we also have quite a number of other types of customer like medical companies and construction confirms.

 

What kind of Augmented Reality tools have you developed for the oil and gas industry?

We’ve done work on tool processes in which the trigger is the image of the tool. Our oil and gas work takes us to places like Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Texas.

Your home office is in Dundee correct? Is that location a hub of UK tech firms?

It certainly is expanding in a number of ways. We have the right infrastructure with Abertay University and Duncan of Jordanstone. So the pool of talent is being expanded and nurtured. Plus with the commercial expansion of the waterfront we’re in good shape for the near future.

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What has been an interesting use of Augmented Reality that you have been involved with?

One thing that I will never forget is seeing people’s reaction when we used Augmented Reality as part of a Scottish government campaign to stop smoking. Our tool showed the lungs of a child turning black from second hand smoke. I think the visual aid really got the message across is a very strong way.

Why do you think Augmented Reality is taking off?

I believe that people still haven’t quite grasped the potential of Augmented Reality or understand what it truly is. Pokemon Go has given people a reference point but we need to think bigger. AR has the potential to turn the world into an interactive service through our devices. It can break down language barriers and attract customers through different formats. It also alters how space is managed in publications. It used to be for example that in magazines you would pay by the inch for space. With AR one inch of space is all you could need to trigger an entire suite of advertisement and purchasing tools. Advertising space can therefore translate into infinite space. It’s true that AR is becoming more of a reality since we can now trigger it by way of GPS. Yet I still feel that the only limit to AR is our own imaginations. I imagine things like an AR system guiding you to the nearest safe exist in the event of a fire – but a system that can sense which parts of the building are affected.

Callum’s LinkedIn: https://uk.linkedin.com/in/calum-mchardy-5aaabb10

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​"The Only Limit to Augmented Reality is our Imagination: An Interview with Calum McHardy of Unicom" First published on Company Connecting  September 2016"

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