Welsh start-up vying to take on Google with its AR retail solution

A Welsh tech start-up has launched an augmented reality app to help revitalise the ailing high street.

Based in Caerphilly, NearMeNow has created software that lets shoppers interact with adverts by using their smartphone camera lens.

The firm is looking to take on Google, which recently showed off an AR street view mode. However, it claims to have brought the technology to market first.

Developed alongside the University of South Wales, the app also helps brick and mortar stores put their products and services in front of consumers.

Victoria Mann, founder and CEO of NearMeNow, said the software will help small and medium-sized traders compete with retail giants.

“We’re thrilled to be releasing augmented reality on the high street ahead of Google. By putting emerging tech, such as AR, into the hands of independent shop owners, we’re helping put them ahead of the game and ahead of bigger brands and larger organisations,” she said.

“The NearMeNow app is designed to provide the complete digital toolkit that high street businesses need to compete on a level playing field with bigger chains and online shopping.”

Last week, NearMeNow exhibited its AR solution at the Digital Festival, which took place in the Wales Millennium Centre. It also recently secured £200,000 of investment.

Clayton Jones, from the University of South Wales, added: “We’re delighted to have been able to assist Victoria and her colleagues in bringing the benefits of Augmented Reality to the NearMeNow app, which I’m sure will breathe new life into the high street shopping experience.

“CEMET is part funded by the European Regional Development Fund, which was designed to help businesses with proven growth potential and NearMeNow definitely falls into this category.

 “It’s an added bonus that the impact of our collaboration will be far-reaching since the NearMeNow app places emerging technology in the hands of all small independent businesses giving them a head start on some of the larger organisations.”