SharpEnd is a rather unique London-based firm that calls itself The Agency of Things. Focusing on connecting brands and consumers via the Internet of Things, SharpEnd implements a variety of technologies – like NFC tagging, QR codes, camera vision systems, SaaS CRM database, etc. – to create consumer experiences that are augmented with rich digital interaction.
Check out this fantastic podcast interview with the founder of SharpEnd, Cameron Worth: https://share.transistor.fm/e/81542bb4
There is lot to unpack here, but after personally watching interactive retail concepts flounder for two decades, it is interesting to see that maybe the key to finally realizing these dynamic experiential concepts is attack it from the perspective of a marketing agency serving FMCG companies, especially one acutely focused on building brand relationships. It sure seems that retailers themselves are often the last people willing to adopt new technologies — so these real-world interactive experiences are simply going to have to be developed and rolled-out by the product manufacturers instead.
Likewise in other construction fields, real estate developers, contractors, etc. are the last people to want to invest in any novel technologies, because they have direct incentives to save short term cost. There are many other applications of SharpEnd’s core approach. It makes me think that architects, interior designers, lighting designers, etc. need to look at the long term optimization of the utilization of the spaces they design as a core area of service growth, because the construction process has proven incapable of rolling out technologies at any sort of progressive pace. This is where the lighting industry has gone so wrong in trying to launch IoT solutions – they’re still selling to the wrong people who might realize the actual benefits.
Interesting that they’ve invested so heavily in creating their own SaaS “Experience Platform” as a core part of their business. Could be an amazing data asset in the long term.