Kumar Ahir and Atish Patel were in the same class of Interaction Design at IDC, IIT Bombay. They continually used to share their thoughts on design, its implications on technology and human life, and, at times criticized each other’s works. Both were research associates for the same professor and worked on a project of setting up a prototyping lab for design students. “Fully-Filmi was one of the projects, this was a fun and part time project we did specifically to showcase our indigenously designed and built multi-touch hardware in Techfest 2010, IIT Bombay. There was a question of what suits Indian users specifically young crowd (who are the major visitors in techfest event). And bang came the idea. What can be better than Bollywood!! So we took that theme and came up with the concept of an application where visitors are able to search/discover a Bollywood movie by matching actor and actress. We maintained element of surprise in what movie details to show when match is made. The design was done to suit the touch interactions and make the usage engaging throughout,” says Atish throwing light upon the way in which the flow of ideas for Oobi developed. An interesting point is that both, Kumar and Atish, were in different cities- Pune and Hyderabad when they did this project.
At Oobi, they design and develop products that employ NUI (Natural User Interaction/Interface) to access digital content. With specialization in Interaction Design for NUI and GUI (Gestural based User Interfaces) they aim to make digital information tangible, fun and natural to use. They are targeting the market where businesses have to display their products efficiently and create memorable experiences. The final product can be used at places like malls, designer showrooms, expos, reception of corporate offices, public spaces, entertainment areas like multiplex, restaurants, etc.
At present they are focusing on a very important domain: Real Estate. This is a sharp insight as it’s one segment that still follows conventional methods for showcasing the projects and maintaining customer relations. Their latest product RealiT allows developers/builders to showcase their projects in an immersive way at a finger tip. By employing natural interaction through multi-touch in hardware, and Business intelligence and analytics in software, the product serves a far better experience for customers and improved sales decisions for builders. While customers get maximum information about project in a simple and fun way, the sales team can keep track of customer engagements and information requirements. RealiT also reduces the time to explain property details to customers to half, as compared to paper brochures. The user experience of the product is designed keeping the largeness of realty sector in mind where everything is larger than life.
A lot of hard work and sacrifices have gone behind creating such a ‘beautiful’ product. On the personal side they had to convince their parents to allow them to leave high paying jobs and start-up. On the sales front, explaining the value of WoW experience to end customers was a bit difficult and it seemed like sci-fi to most of them. Sharing a critical challenge, Kumar says, “Both of us are married and balancing time between work and family is always the greatest challenges of all. But our spouses are supportive enough to let us work from home.”
If you are working with a creative product, interesting situations are bound to crop up. At the MSME Expo the Oobi team saw army firing simulators showcased by the Army. They showed the videos of their prototype to the Major of that group, who immediately shared his contact with them and asked them to present their work to the Army.
At present, they are figuring out certain partners who can help them reach across Indian Metros. They are also planning to expand and look for fresh and dynamic people to join their team and actively contribute innovative work that will change How Indian Consumers interact with Digital Content.
Within just 6 months of their full-time launch, they have deployed solutions to some of the top real estate developers in Bangalore and are slowly expanding their reach to Hyderabad and Ahmedabad. They have deployed a total of 10 hardware solutions and another 30 are in process.
Go the Natural User Interface way for displaying your products. Check out Oobi!