Aug 05, 2013

    Cross-media works here crossing seas

    IN CHINA, several companies are using a Singapore-developed application where using a webcam to view a page or card with an animal on it causes a digitally-animated version of the creature to appear on a computer screen.

    The digital creature can interact with other creations on-screen or even in the real-world environment it is superimposed on, for educational, video-gaming, shopping and even tourism purposes.

    This augmented-reality application, called wIzCards, by Singapore digital-media company MXR Corporation, has been making its way to Hong Kong, Beiijng, Suzhou and Changzhou.

    Many home-grown companies like MXR are developing cross-media products and services in the light of increasingly-converging media platforms, said Professor Wong Poh Kam, director of National University of Singapore (NUS) Entrepreneurship Centre. These innovations are being exported too.

    Many of the start-ups supported or managed through an NUS Enterprise initiative are developing products or applications that straddle media, said Prof Wong.

    More than 90 start-ups are supported at the NUS Enterprise incubator, while another 40 are maintained at Plug-in@Blk71, an initiative managed by NUS Enterprise.

    Prof Wong explained that "with today's tech-savvy, on-the-go population, it makes sense for technology start-ups to build products and services that straddle multiple media", including the Web, mobile devices and computers.

    "These are media that end-users are comfortable with, and where the products and services are likely to gain the most traction," he said.

    Another home-grown firm, Aleph, made a mobile application in 2011 called BeyondTV, in which a TV viewer could use the app on a smartphone or tablet to interact with a show. It was rolled out here and in Australia.

    In Singapore, a version of the app is used by SingTel for its Barclays Premier League broadcasts. Football fans could get game statistics and live feeds with the app when watching a match.

    Viewers could also order a pizza or chat with friends watching the match.

    Veev Interactive, a Singapore new-media content-and-platform developer, has created Veev International Preschool, a service that delivers lessons for pre-school pupils through a computer, tablet, smartphone or television set hooked up to the Internet.

    The service has been made available to companies here and in China.

    Said Veev's chief operating officer, Ms Lara Lai, on the future of cross-media development: "Now, people are more familiar with gadgets. Even children learn how to use tablets from a young age. So, cross-media development will definitely continue to move forward."