Michael Guerin is the founder of Imvizar, an augmented reality (AR) startup that aims to make accessing AR content as easy as Spotify makes accessing music.
“Right now, it’s hard to find good quality AR content because so much of it gets lost in the depths of the App Store,” says Guerin. “Our global platform will bring AR experiences together and allow anyone, anywhere to download, share and enjoy experiences using a single mobile app. Because we are specifically focused on augmented reality, no headset or other equipment is needed. All content is displayed on the user’s phone screen.”
The second part of Imvizar’s arc is the creation of immersive content and potential applications for its technology line, from recreation of historical events to education and entertainment. “To date, immersive technologies have largely focused on industrial and workplace applications. We saw the opportunity to use technology to enhance a physical space or recreate events from the past,” says Guerin.
“With augmented reality, we can rebuild a castle from ruins, bring historical figures to life, or ‘walk’ someone through the Dublin docks so they can see what life was like back then. famine as millions of Irish poured into the famine ships. Seeing historical figures appear before you and tell you their own story evokes a truly different and deeper emotional connection than is possible to experience with narrator and soundtrack.
Guerin created Imvizar in 2021 and there are now five people in the core team. The company is initially focused on tourism and tourist attractions and will work with local authorities and directly with attractions to help them tell their stories in an interactive way.
This type of immersive technology can be extremely expensive to deploy. Guerin, who first studied business and briefly considered becoming an accountant, developed a business model that reduced initial costs. “Basically, we went with shared risk, which means we build the experience and then take a share of the revenue. It keeps the entry point low for an attraction,” he says.
Imvizar is already generating revenue with operational attractions in Sligo, Cork, Portugal and Long Beach California. When a visitor arrives, they download the Imvizar app which leads them into the fully personalized AR experience of the individual attraction. “It’s an opportunity for anyone running an attraction to revitalize it for the post-Covid world,” Guerin says. “It provides brand new exposure that can help increase revenue while simultaneously increasing engagement with under 35s.”
Guerin is no stranger to emerging and immersive technologies, having been closely involved in the formation of the award-winning Smart Docklands initiative. He acted as a strategic advisor to the Harvard Technology and Entrepreneurship Center and previously worked as Director of National Operations for Startup Ireland. He also led the connectivity program at Smart Docklands, which included the deployment of Ireland’s first urban small cell 5G testbed.
“I could see the potential of 5G and future connectivity to unlock the possibilities of AR and set up Imvizar to explore this and allow anyone to easily share and access AR content. “, he says. “In my role at Smart Docklands, I have been exposed to a wide range of new and emerging technologies, from AR/VR to IoT to 5G. Having first encountered engaging AR in 2017 , I had a keen interest in what technology could mean in a smart city context, however I later realized that its potential had a profound impact on storytelling.
Guerin has kept Imvizar’s start-up costs to a minimum with approximately €40,000 invested to date between the founder’s own funds and backing from Dún Laoghaire Rathdown LEO and Enterprise Ireland. The company is currently in the process of launching a pre-seed round to raise €600,000.