In order to understand the Trivver offering you must first know something about the world of Extended Reality (XR), which combines Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) and Mixed Reality (MR).
Augmented Reality (AR) is the overlaying of digital objects and information on the real world. For example, pointing your phone at an object in the supermarket and your screen showing that object with extra information on top, like price, or provenance.
Apple CEO Tim Cook said last year that he was “already seeing things that will transform the way you work, play, connect and learn” and that “put simply, we believe AR is going to change the way we use technology forever.”
Virtual Reality (VR) is the creation of a totally artificial environment which users can explore. Widely believed to be the next revolution in computing, major firms like Google and Microsoft have made substantial investments in the space, while headsets like Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive are bringing the technology to consumers at increasingly affordable prices.
Mixed Reality (MR) is a hybrid of AR, VR and 3D environments.
Extended Reality (XR) brings together AR, VR and MR and is expected to become an enormous market over the next few years. Citibank estimates that total XR revenue will be as high as $200 billion in 2021, growing to over $2 trillion by 2035.
Trivver plans to build a platform for XR advertising that will “accelerate the adoption, commercialization and monetization” of XR across industries and devices, for brands, consumers and publishers.
Concept and White Paper
Trivver are aiming to monetize Extended Reality by creating an advertising platform that will bring together all stakeholders, including advertisers, brands, consumers, agencies and content publishers.
The Trivver ICO white-paper takes time to explain the various types of technological realities which are being developed, and the enormous market opportunity they represent. However, they also pose new challenges, particularly around how to monetise content.
XR demands a totally new approach to advertising. Current techniques like banners and videos are too disruptive to the immersive experience of augmented and virtual realities. Without advertising, publishers in the XR space have limited opportunities to earn revenue, holding back content creation, which in turn hinders adoption.
The advertising of products and services will have to be properly integrated into XR, which means creating ads which organically fit the environment. Unfortunately this process is tricky as the ad objects have to be resized for each unique location in the extended reality.
Trivver is claiming to have created a range of patented technologies to help solve these problems. Chief among these is the platform’s Smart Object Technology, which allows for ads which are contextual and adaptable, while also enabling the collection of data on user behaviour.
Branded Smart Objects (BSOs) solve many of the problems of inserting ads into a virtual environment as an advertiser only needs to create one BSO and it will adjust to the size, lighting, and so on of multiple environments.
Advertisers can then use these Smart Objects to create ad campaigns for the XR space, spreading the word on offers and products while collecting data on user engagement. Publishers will be able to monetize their content in the XR space by including advertising more suited to the medium, ads which also provide data on user engagement.
The Trivver Advertising Exchange
Trivver have created an advertising exchange, XRAE, which brings together the buyers of XR ads, brands and advertisers, with the publishers who manage the XR content.
BSOs are created by advertisers, along with criteria on where those BSOs should be placed – for instance, depending on the language or age of the user. Publishers in turn identify the kinds of ads which would fit their content.
The XRAE then matches suitable advertisers with publishers, creating what it calls a “C/S match”. These are then saved to the Trivver blockchain where smart contracts take care of payment, auditing and fulfillment.
Use of Blockchain
Transactions within the Trivver ecosystem are made in the proprietary Trivver token (TRVR). Developers can earn TRVR by building the inventory of available Smart Objects (SOs).
Consumer engagement will be rewarded with TRVR tokens.
It may be that a buyer of advertising has multiple potential sellers to work with, likely using different languages and currencies. The platform will conduct transactions via blockchain to allow for more transparent matching, auditing and payment of those micro-transactions.
User Engagement Score
Users’ interactions with a BSO — the name of the brand, the time, the location etc — will be recorded to a user profile. Such information will improve the targeting of future advertising.
Developers may earn TRVR by contributing to the creation of low volume Generic Smart Objects (GSOs) for use by content creators. If a developer wants to create a high volume GSOs, an object which will be downloaded many times, they will need to pay a fee in TRVR.
TRVR will be paid out to consumers to interact with coupons and advertising.
The International Data Corporation estimates that spending on extended reality will double each year through to 2021, by which point the market will be worth $215 billion. By that point Trivver hope to be long established as a market leader in the space.
The Trivver platform started development in 2014 when it received $1.3 million of angel investor funding. The following three years were constituted as a focus on the underlying technology and a registering of patents.
Following the token sale, a real-time bidding platform is expected by the end of this year or early next. Blockchain functionality should come in the first part of 2019, along with the programmatic advertising platform.
Due to the highly technical nature of the roadmap, it is difficult for the layman to judge these predictions. It is encouraging that the published plans only stretch forward 18 months, suggesting that they are fairly pragmatic. However, no matter how skilful the technical team, building software almost always takes longer than first predicted.
All members of the core Trivver team are provided with LinkedIn profiles and their experience and expertise demonstrate strength in depth.
The success of the platform will largely come down to the strength of the technology and how easy it is to use. With this in mind it is comforting to see technical expertise at the highest levels of the team: CEO Joel LaMontagne is a mathematician and computer scientist with four awarded patents in XR and blockchain with another 19 pending; Chief Data Officer Kevin Conroy was recently President of Digital and New Platforms at MGM and previously COO at AOL Broadband.
Simon Keating, the CTO, comes from a computer gaming background, boding well for the platform’s UX aspects and general usability.
So much of any ICO success is down to marketing that it would perhaps have been reassuring to have had a marketing director among the senior Trivver members.
There is considerable entrepreneurial experience present, particularly from president Alan Haft who has created and sold several companies, as well as acting as an investment, business and technology expert for media outlets like CNBC and CNN.
Token and Token Value
All TRVR will be issued during distribution with no further tokens made available. The total number of tokens will be double whatever is sold to the public during the ICO. Half of that total will go to investors, and the other half will be held in reserve. None of the reserve tokens will go to the Trivver team or its advisors. Instead it will be used to incentivise developers to build Smart Objects, and to promote user engagement with those Smart Objects.
60,000,000 TRVR tokens will be made available in the ICO, and any excess will be burned. Purchases are to be made in ETH, with a 0.3 ETH minimum purchase and a 500 ETH maximum investment.
Trivver’s marketing materials are glossy and well-produced and include a “one-pager” summary of the platform in addition to the white-paper. The introductory video explaining the sector and market opportunity is particularly impressive.
Trivver is represented on all the major social media channels, though in truth its profiles are a little difficult to find as they are only linked from the very bottom of the website. Perhaps because of this, the level of engagement with the project is rather low. With the ICO scheduled to end in September there is still time to build more of a community around the offering.
The white-paper also is light on details about how Trivver aim to get the word out and build a customer base. Judging by the entrepreneurship experience in the team there must be a plan, but they have chosen not to share it. Potential investors may prefer a few more details on quite how Trivver will acquire business.
There is little doubt that Trivver has identified a huge market opportunity: redefining how advertising will work in the XR space. The merging of our lives with virtual and augmented realities feels inevitable, though the problem of monetising that experience through advertising is still outstanding. If Trivver can effectively solve this problem then they will surely have an extremely powerful market position.
The level of expertise and technical know-how within the team is reassuring and suggests that they could build a working solution. However, even if they create a good product, they will still need to reach customers. Some more clarity on how they plan to do this would be welcome.
There is also a question mark over the level of community engagement with the project. Though the ICO’s social media channels are frequently updated, there is not much in the way of back-and-forth with potential investors. It would be good to see more effort put into this space to develop a strong community around the ICO.