By Michelle Hua @MadeWithGlove
Stella Setyiadi is the Chief Marketing Officer of Octagon Studio. In 2008 she moved to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to pursue her higher studies in Interior Design at The One Academy of Communication Design. She left to Shanghai, China in 2012 for her internship program before finally returning home and assumed the position of Octagon Studio’s Chief Marketing Officer (CMO).
What are you responsibilities at Octagon Studio?
My current responsibilities include increasing company brand's awareness to a global network, developing growth global marketing strategies, expanding business opportunities and managing sales across the international market.
At present, Octagon Studio has distributed its products to 26 different countries such as Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, Philippines, South Korea, Turkey, Egypt, Middle Eastern Countries, China, Australia, South Africa, USA, Canada, Trinidad & Tobago, Mexico, UK, Ireland, and Denmark.
How did you get into AR/VR?
Our company was initially focused in producing 3D animations which were closely related to engineering feasibility studies. Our business model was primarily comprised of B2B activities with partners from the fields of real estate, engineering, banking and other types of corporation. These interactions led us to an understanding that there were still so much untapped market potential regarding the application of augmented reality technology.
As a consequence, in early 2013 we conducted a great deal of research pertaining to how the vast potential of Augmented Reality technology could be applied into various industries and fields. We eventually launched our Animal 4D AR Flashcard series with the intentions of delivering quality AR products into the market as well as educating the general public as to what AR actually was.
As with AR, the research process sparked our initial interest in virtual reality technology and its real world application. We found VR technology - with its potential to raise entertainment and education to the next level - highly appealing.
There are quite a few women working at Octagon Studio. Do you feel this helps in job satisfaction?
It is surprisingly funny that there were only 3 women including myself when we started this back then, we never knew that the amount of women employed could constantly grow. It is just more fun now with more women at the office so we could share more ‘girls-talk’.
What have been your biggest career achievements?
Three things; first is that I used to only be able to dream on having our products being displayed and sold by top retail chains as I simply was inexperienced and unfamiliar with the process. Only driven by willingness to learn and seizing the initiative, our products were eventually distributed by various retail chains local and internationally. Seeing people buying, using and enjoying our products gives me a sense of achievement unlike any other.
Secondly, through developing and marketing these products, I have been blessed with the opportunity of meeting great people from extraordinary companies around the world. This has inspired me to work even harder as great things don’t come easy.
Thirdly, my job has enabled me to travel, meet great people and visit of many parts the world.
What challenges have you faced as a woman in this industry?
I think that not too many people subscribe to the idea that women are perfectly capable of assuming the role of techpreneurs; which did lead to me being slightly underestimated in exhibitions and events due to my gender. But I never let that type of behaviour bother me; always maintain a positive attitude, show proper respect to everyone and keep going forward.
How do you overcome these challenges?
I’ve always had this mindset of being positive, confident and keep moving forward in whatever it is that I do. No need to focus on the negative things, you can’t control what other people think of you so why dwell on it? I believe Octagon Studio can get to where it is today due to the support from every team constantly striving for the very best.
In terms of mentor, Mike our CEO always says to never underestimate ourselves. If we constantly work to learn and improve ourselves as well as keeping an eye out for new developments, nothing is truly impossible.
What is the AR/VR scene like in Indonesia?
I understand that there are several AR and VR startups based in Indonesia. There are also a number of Indonesian gamers and youtubers who are familiar with the twin technologies of AR and VR. Conversely however, I do think that the majority of people here are still oblivious to these new and exciting technologies.
The underlying perception seems to be that both AR and VR technologies are reserved for the wealthy as high end VR headsets do indeed cost a lot of money to acquire. Furthermore, most people still think that contents for the affordable mobile based VR headsets are of sub-standard quality.
What projects are you currently working on?
We are currently working on the Humanoid 4D, another AR educational product designed to provide children and adults alike with a fun and interactive learning experience on how our body works. The product is currently under development and is scheduled for launch at the end of this year. We are also currently working on several projects for global retail companies to do an augmentation of their clothing products and distribute them globally.
Beside that, we are looking into possible partnerships in augmenting contents within the film industry.
What do you see are the key trends in the AR/VR industry?
As it stands, much of the hype and attention surrounding VR have been focused on tethered systems like Oculus Rift, HTC’s Vive and the PlayStation VR. While it’s understandable that early adopters will be more than willing to spend hundreds or thousands of dollars to get the most advanced tech, we believe the broader consumer population will likely opt for lower-cost mobile VR options.
As for AR, we think it’s not going to be all about image recognition; meaning that there are still lots of technological aspect to be explored. The rapid ascent of Pokémon Go in July 2016 did indeed bring a lot of media attention to AR infused games. But other uses of AR, like Snapchat Lenses and “try-before- you-buy” functions in beauty brand mobile apps better underscore how the technology can be applied in smart, seamless ways.
We believe that mobile phones will be the dominant path in regards to VR device ownership in at least the next 1 to 2 years.
What advice can you give to women in AR/VR?
Always be on the lookout for new and exciting possibilities and don’t be afraid to explore new ideas. In all your endeavours, always strive be creative, positive, driven and tenacious.