Humankind is not new to the transformational impacts of technology. We are well aware of how innovation in the technological space is reshaping the world faster than ever before. And there is enough anecdotal and visual evidence to support the statement. For instance, we can consider the proof in our pockets; we have a small mobile device capable of offering information that’s close to the entire sum of knowledge humanity has gained so far.
Speaking of the technological wonders we are surrounded with, what could be the next big advancement? Well, we have already experienced it through some apps and filters. Yes, we are talking about Augmented Reality. It has the potential of bringing forward the possibilities that are hard to achieve with the existing technologies we have. AR will surely alter the way individuals view the world and begin a new chapter in human behavior.
As we speak of transformational technology, there’s one company that is already on its way to tapping into the enormous potential of AR and democratizing it so that everyone on the planet can become an evangelist of this new behavior. Today we, at The Chief’s Digest, are thrilled to introduce VidIt to our readers.
In an exclusive interview with The Chief’s Digest, CEO Rene Rodriguez shared valuable insights on how the future will be with AR and his visions to support the transformation. Below is an edited excerpt.
Why was the company set up? What inspired you to develop the idea or concept of VidIt?
The answer to that question is simple.
I have been an entrepreneur all my life. However, the idea behind VidIt didn’t conceptualize until 2007, when a friend of mine introduced me to the movie, “Back to the Future”. It was my favorite movie back then. I saw the technology of augmented reality for the first time, and I could instantly find a connection with the movie as well as the technology.
I could literally see a new world full of interactive content. I still remember when Michael J. Fox was standing in the corner of the plaza, and suddenly, a big hologram shark snaps at him. In my head, I thought that was so incredibly cool. I knew the technology was going to get big in the future, and I thought I want to be a part of this. I didn’t know how long it would take, but it inspired me to envision that the whole world will become an interactive world, and that’s when I started working on it.
So, I have been working on VidIt for the past twelve years, and finally, we have a platform that’s ready to go.
When I saw the vision, and we put the concept together, we realized that this will have to be deployed in phases. So, right now, we do have phase number one in which we provide services where we can monetize the platform to websites, videos, NFTS, and other solutions.
And in the second phase, we will be pushing hard on the ability to create adoption for free users and our platform. And once we get there for the users, we will successfully create a full world of augmented reality. So, it’s kind of like the metaverse but in augmented reality.
In this modern business world, what exactly does a “Smart Company” mean to you?
For me, a smart company would be one that is street-savvy, one with common sense. Today, technology is evolving so rapidly that anyone who’s not moving ahead with the new technologies can easily run out of business.
Let’s consider the last fifty years for example. We saw how the internet and social media completely revolutionized the way how people and companies do business. It wasn’t something that people chose to accept or reject. Businesses that didn’t accept it or move towards it literally died. Similarly, augmented reality is going to be the next big thing.
So, you need to head in the direction where new technologies are moving. And in the next five to ten years, we believe there won’t be a company on the planet that will be in a position to reject or not use augmented reality. If they don’t accept augmented reality, they will be at disadvantage and could potentially run out of business. That’s how simple it is. So, a smart company is always willing to adapt to new changes, is open to start testing the waters, and always learning & moving towards the new future.
What challenges did you face in your initial years? What was the number one motivating factor that kept you moving forward?
I would say Timing! Way too early in the vision!!!! So convincing people of the future was tough, especially investors in which I am extremely grateful for them of course, but it’s been some tough early years for sure, of not giving up on something that we knew it was coming! I can recall people telling me that my idea was the stupidest of all they had ever heard. They would tell who will be looking for things through that phone or looking for any of this stuff at all. But all of that was just fascinating to me because to understand the difference between Pioneers and Settlers.
I took every challenge that came our way sportively, be it raising money, keeping things alive, or building the team. I was ready to take a deep dive and go into the trenches with the team. We understood the deep roots of the problem and then the process thoroughly. Eventually, we built a team of warriors, and that’s how we knew we were making progress. Of course, we didn’t let go of outside technologies to get us there.
Every time our vision advanced even a little, our steps got more solid and we got more motivated. Now, we are so close to letting the world experience something so incredible. We are excited to be a part of the future.
How would you describe the work culture within your organization? How do you differentiate between smart work and hard work?
I believe you need to do a bit of both hard work and smart work combined. However, there’s one element that should be added to the mix which is the attitude – a relentless attitude towards finding a solution, learning, and thinking out of the box. And once you have people with the right attitude, it’s not hard to find people who work hard. When you have combined all the three, you can feed them with the right vision, and then it’s like a rocket.
As a question on adaptability, how do you stay relevant to the consumer interests and needs in this highly volatile market?
When you introduce a new technology, people usually don’t entirely understand the capacity of the technology. Right now, augmented reality technology is being introduced to the world as just simple tools and filters, and people are yet to fully comprehend how powerful augmented reality could be.
Today, people are somewhat aware of augmented reality through their Snapchat & Instagram filters, and some tools that you can see here and there from apps like Nike. But in reality, this is new behavior and everybody’s participation will contribute to evolving this behavior. Over the next ten years, this is going to be massive and will change the way technology is used forever. The contribution from multiple companies and users will be crucial because it’s impossible for one entity to change everything.
What are the factors that make your brand one of the SMARTEST and why?
Experience, expertise, and know-how are definitely key elements that have allowed us to understand the industry very deeply, in addition to our model and market approach. We think of VidIt as YouTube, Tik Tok, or even Facebook – we have created a platform in which people have the freedom to create augmented reality experiences and share them across any social platform in the world, be it Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat. We want to be the platform that enables people to bring forward their own content.
VidIt is like an ecosystem, where individuals and organizations can bring content, share content, or create content for different purposes, say for education or marketing. We want to allow people to populate the world with AR experiences across geographical or product locations, websites, videos, etc.
As I had mentioned before, phase one offers a solution for businesses that want to have an interactive website with augmented reality technology. And with VidIt’s augmented reality solution, I think we have a smart play with this.
How does your company contribute to the competitive global platform at large?
We are driving a free model right now. We want to offer this tool to every school, university, country, and every kid on the planet. We want everyone to have access to the tools to help them create experiences in augmented reality and then promote it through their talent. We are sure that eventually, companies will be seeing that and the need for that will emerge.
It’s going to be as big as the internet. If we look at the early days of the internet, everybody wanted a website, and there was a need for people who can create one. Similarly, when YouTube started, the initial idea was to allow common people to enjoy sharing their home videos, but later it grew into a huge video platform where both individuals and organizations wanted to post and manage their videos.
Going forward, there will be a demand for the services for augmented reality in the same way how the creation of websites, videos, or designs has grown in demand today. And we on the platform will allow the whole world to interact in a free model with all the tools and services.
What’s your take on the involvement of companies in social welfare/ CSR activities? Does it make a positive contribution to the business?
Absolutely. We have developed our platform to give the power and ability to people to use it in a way that benefits them. For example, our platform can be used to take education to a whole different level. We can make high-quality education accessible to people from different countries, places, or organizations so that they can learn in ways they have never done before.
With VidIt, you wouldn’t need any special software, elements, or equipment. You can start with just your phone and eventually, a wearable device. And it would change the way how people look at the information. For instance, we can grab pieces of art from the most famous artists and we can bring them to any country or location on earth, and people can have a virtual tour. It could be like a virtual museum where people can learn about art from their own location, and that won’t cost anything.
What have you enjoyed the most while sailing through the ups and downs of your business?
The journey has been the enjoyment the whole time – the journey of building one more company, the lessons I have learned, the people I had the opportunity to associate with, and enjoying every bit of it thoroughly. The process of building VidIt hasn’t been easy at all, but it’s been very fulfilling because I can help so many people which I already do actually. Just the fact of being an asset to others and not asking anything in return is phenomenal.
Where do you see your company a few years from now?
If all this starts lining up with what we are doing, we will be a worldwide brand that would entirely change the way people obtain information. If you think of it, imagine being in a park full of dinosaurs sponsored by Nike for example. Then there’s another park on the other side of the city that has all the characters from Disney and Marvel. You can interact with them, take pictures, record videos, or do whatever you want.
Meet The Man Behind VidIt
Rene Rodriguez, Founder & CEO
“People would like to have the ability to see their favorite museums, places, parks, or let’s say, the Eiffel Tower. With VidIt’s augmented reality technology, we want to bring all that to them.”