Janosch is an award-winning entrepreneur & university guest lecturer on the topic of using digital humans for communication and eCommerce. He was named one of London’s most influential people in 2019 for his role in groundbreaking innovation in his startup, Beem - a software platform that enables communication with real people in Augmented Reality
The company's mission is to create greater intimacy in digital communication and revolutionise communications through the use of Augmented Reality humans in both pre-recorded and live form. It offers exciting new ways for brands to sell and communicate to their customers and for individuals to communicate with each other.
I was born to counter-culture parents and grew up on a hippy commune in the subtropical rainforests of eastern Australia. The house that my parents built was powered by solar power, rain water and surrounded by a micro-farm with fruit orchards and chickens. Sounds idyllic – but I was an environmental hero before it was cool. While growing up in this setting sounds exciting, up until the age of 7, we only had a tiny black and white TV – it took going to a friend’s house to find out that the Simpsons were actually yellow.
During my upbringing, technology was extremely limited, so we put a greater emphasis on face to face interaction. Communication was more intimate and personal.
Growing up in this extreme alternative environment instilled a notion in me that made me believe I could do anything and the thought of a traditional career always seemed uninteresting to me. Becoming an entrepreneur and tackling a challenge as fundamental as the evolution of the way we communicate digitally seemed like a good use of my time.
Over millions of years, we have become very good at face to face communication. Through physical presence we build trust – it’s just easier to understand each other when we are in the same space. We remember better what we hear and sense and feel. And we as humans have come to expect physical presence as the benchmark for effective communication.
So it’s not just about the transfer of information from me to you – it’s how well you as the listener receive that information. Your subconscious is trying to decide if it is comfortable with the information transfer and with who is transferring that information. This is our defence mechanism – our primal subconscious activating our ‘fight’ or ‘flight’ response.
We actually experience this whenever we walk down the street; when another person comes within close range of our comfort zone – our subconscious forces our eyes to scan the other human in order to decide if we are comfortable with them in our space or not. For much of our history – another human was the most dangerous thing in our space. Most of the time we don’t even realise psychological validation is happening, until you both simultaneously lock eyes with each other, and it becomes awkward.
This same mechanism is at play while we are communicating to each other on a daily basis. For communication to be effective, our subconscious needs to feel comfortable.
Humans began communicating in order to form community. As communities grew larger, the mediums we use to communicate have become more important. Humans developed technology to bridge distance: writing was the first breakthrough. Then the telephone gave us voice. Today, video calls give us bits of body language.
However, recent global events have shown us that the current gold-standards in digital communication fall far short of providing us with the ability to build meaningful trust-based and intimate connections across distance. This is the intimacy gap in digital communication.
We founded Beem as the inevitable next evolution of digital communication which provides a more credible and immersive experience than any other technologies to date – we’re building the next medium for communication.
Beem is a software platform that enables live and on-demand communication streaming humans in Augmented Reality – think Starwars Jedi Council using smartphones and headsets – AR holograms of real people into your space to interact, collaborate and communicate with.
The technology sector as a whole is now moving towards mimicking our primal behaviours – like voice activation (Siri) and gesture recognition in virtual reality. When mimicking primal human behaviour becomes a technology challenge, we call this Human-centred design – the notion that technology will inevitably evolve to replicate the format in which we have interacted as a species for millennia. When we approach this trajectory from a psychological view point, what we are talking about doing is bridging the intimacy gap in digital communication.
In order to understand the future of communication we need to understand the concept of the Metaverse. The metaverse is the notion that the internet as we currently know it will evolve, breaking free from its 2 Dimensional container that it has been confined to for the past 20 plus years, and becoming 3 dimensional – where experiences and data will be available to us in our real world spaces where it is most relevant to us.
Big tech is currently pouring Billions into this new computing paradigm – a sector expected to be worth $13 Trillion by 2030.
In 5 years we expect Beem’s technology (spatial telepresence) to be as ubiquitous as a FaceTime or Zoom call.
Looking at a vacant space in your room and issuing the voice command; ‘Beem Grandma’, and a life-sized real-time stream of Grandma will appear in your space – she would be digitally present – for a long overdue catch up. More than that; you can Beem your fitness instructor onto your terrace for a workout, your banker into your study to discuss your mortgage, or even your favourite musician into your living room for an intimate live concert. Following the human-centred design principles, a technology like Beem makes much more sense than a square video.
Being the founder & CEO of a frontier tech company has been a rollercoaster and provided major lessons in tenacity and resilience. Having a mentality of hyper-commitment and clear focus has definitely helped to maintain momentum on our trajectory. Looking at the journey as a long-term challenge rather than a series of small hurdles has allowed us to keep building through multiple external global factors which could easily derail other companies.
The most important factor for Beem’s success so far is the clear vision and commitment of the team to change the way the World communicates – the driver for our motivation is more than a salary or payday. If the business is creating something you can be passionate about, a motivated team can do incredible things.
Building a company around a frontier technology in a nascent sector has taught myself and the team to be extremely fluid in our approach to building and positioning our technology. With 2022 being the year the Metaverse explodes into the mainstream, we’ve had to be somewhat patient for the market to catch up with the capabilities of our technology.
Myself and the team respect entrepreneurs who are fully invested in making the World a better place. Elon Musk recently said “If you want the future to be good, you must make it so. Take action to make it good, and it will be.” That resonates with me.