Wouldn’t it be cool if you could bring Marvel characters to life in your own living room? One Meridian, Idaho company is making this possible with their series of augmented reality (AR) wall decals. I recently had the chance to catch up with the organization to learn more about what they do and how they got their start.
Decalcomania, which technically means “the art or process of transferring pictures and designs from specially prepared paper” started in the decal business ten years ago by creating family decal stickers (often spotted on the back window of vehicles). They were the first company to create these decals and are still the largest decal maker in the market. In peak weeks they ship out over 10,000 stickers! Walmart has been carrying a variety of their stickers for years and they do private label decals for retailer as well.
The move from regular decals into ones featuring AR was inspired by their experience at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in 2016. They saw multiple applications of AR at the show and this got them thinking that it could be cool to apply the technology to some of their licensed decals. Fast forward two years and they now have a series of licensed Marvel decals in 25% of the Walmart’s across the country.
Moving from regular decals to AR decals was not a simple process. They have learned quite a bit over the last couple of years, but had to face quite a few challenges. One of the most interesting we discussed was working with Marvel for approval on the licensed product. They were used to getting approval on decal designs from the marketing department, but once they added in character animation suddenly there were multiple departments that needed to be pulled in from Marvel to get the product approved. In adding the AR component, they also had to build an app for customers to use the AR functionality with the product. That was an entirely new ballgame for them, and they leaned heavily on an outside resource to help them with that. The Decalcomania app (available on iOS App store and Google Play) initially only had animation of the character off of the wall, but they recently added an interactive element allowing users to actually place characters in the users environment.
When I asked Brett McKenna, VP of Operations where he sees the company going in 2019, he said that they feel that their future continues to look bright in this space. They are launching a product with Bed Bath and Beyond this month and have additional licenses in the pipeline for the year with other major brands (think Disney, Hasbro and the likes). Other game elements are likely to be added to the decals such as more ability for the user to control and manipulate the characters.
We can’t wait to see the cool things they are going to be doing with technology in 2019!