Technologies such as Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality (VR and AR) are already being used for training purposes, simulators of extreme environments, advertising, and marketing more generally. This will continue to be the case, with branded lock-in between suppliers and customers: copyrighted content will be the norm, as a standard corporate monetisation approach.
The key value-add of factionAR’s project and proposal is that the technologies, relationships, storytelling techniques and processes should - in the best traditions of open-source behaviours - be acquirable at a theoretically zero financial cost, should an individual or organisation wish to spend the time learning how to deliver predictably, and by themselves, the game-changing, unpredictable thought under discussion. Open-source technology and software must also be open to forks, and other redirections of the main thrust of principle communities, and this creativity should be contemplated, overtly and explicitly, from the start.
In order to deliver on the above, the below milestones have been suggested.
1. Agree upon an appropriate business structure
It has been suggested that one of two models be used for the business structure:
The open-source/branded relationship forged by Sun Microsystems, and latterly Oracle, with a community of developers and end-users called OpenOffice.org, at the beginning of the 2000s. It should be recognised here that the end-user side of the equation was more productive than the developer side, and that there are significant challenges embedded in institutions which use both copyleft and copyright in their business models.
The city of Bristol, UK, has an independent newspaper called the Bristol Cable, which operates a highly successful media cooperative that, simultaneously, employs a number of different income streams to achieve its current levels of financial, intellectual and conceptual viability.
The first milestone will, therefore, be to establish wider interest in the proposal, in order that the business structure finally chosen achieves the best fit and sustainability, medium-term, desired.
2. Achieve financial support for start-up
Demonstrating access by factionAR to the software coding and the digital storytelling skills needed is key to achieving an attractive package for potential investors, whether institutional or cooperatively individual.
The model of transferring technologies to a client as soon as possible, rather than maximising the monetisation by locking - in some way - the user in to the provider, is currently being developed and sold by companies such as Google to its prospective corporate clients. The search giant and cloud-service provider is looking to differentiate itself from other competitors such as Amazon, Oracle, Dell, and Microsoft, by talking about equipping its clients precisely not to need it as a supplier, instead of proposing a very long-term relationship of supplier to customer. In this way, Google looks to sell the idea of creative and intellectual independence, at the most inter-dependence; certainly not the corporate lock-in of bespoke technology built on the back of open-source libraries that companies like Oracle and others deliver frequently.
The second milestone, therefore, in the judgement of this author, should be to achieve from potential investors a defined belief in, as well as a competent financial structure for, the project itself, around a clearly structured set of hows just as much as technological and coding whats.
This is the Google ideology, at least on paper. The technology should be presumed: we must all be competent in the field. The value-add of business liberation, of independence from future lock-in, essentially the how we want to do business with our customers, and how we enable and facilitate our customers to do business by themselves, is what should attract the kind of investors with instincts for business proposals which wish to engineer significant business disruption in their chosen fields.
Sectors which could eventually find themselves disrupted
Examples of sectors which could be disrupted via the development and delivery of such tools include the most expected, such as advertising and marketing agencies, but also the less expected, such as the consulting corporations PwC, Deloitte and others. The aim of factionAR to make an individual or corporation self-sufficient in its capability to think both creatively and in a focussed, business-efficient way, in-house, without requiring external or outsourced services, and at the very least to reduce substantially the need for such services to be contracted, is a potential groundbreaking feature of the project.
Another path could, of course, be to deliver - B2B - the tools and knowhow to the consulting corporations in question, but it seems hard - a priori - to understand how this might not produce a conflict of interests.
Other fields which could benefit from such environments, which obviously put top-class creative workspaces into the hands of those who know most about their day-to-day jobs, are the security industry, policing and education, but also art, culture, and the already highly creative sectors. Here, the agency and unpredictably which the workspaces promise to deliver would be a particular benefit to such thinkers.