GoPro Inc., Lily: Is Trace Live Networks ‘Follower’ Better? Ask CFO Paul Sun
Trace Live Networks is one of the most exciting remote video photography platforms to come along yet, and company CFO Paul Sun joins us for an explanation of what differentiates Trace Live Networks from other drone-mounted camera systems like GoPro Inc. (NASDAQ:GPRO) and Lily.
James West: Paul, thanks for joining us today.
Paul Sun: Thanks for having me.
James West: Paul, Trace Live Networks: tell me what it does, and what’s the value proposition for investors.
Paul Sun: Sure. So Trace Live Networks aspires to be a company that can enable our customers, our users, to consume, create, and share content, all in one out-of-the box experience. And the technology is hinged on our visually intelligent camera, which allows a user to be filmed and followed, and then that data is then sent to our Trace app, and that data can be auto-edited and then shared live to a person’s social network, as an example, on the consumer-facing side, or that data can be sent to a secure network on our commercial side of the business.
So the value proposition is that it gives investors exposure to a lot of large, growing markets. So as an example, on the consumer side, the consumer drone market is growing; it’s a billion-dollar market. The action sports market is a multi-billion-dollar market. The GoPro camera, those type of things.
On the commercial side, commercial drones is also a multi-billion-dollar market. Social media and live streaming is a burgeoning market as well.
So Trace is at the hub of all those things, and as an investor, you get exposure to all those markets.
James West: Sure. So how does Trace compare, for example, with, say, Lily, the product that’s already out there commercially that I’ve seen lots of advertising for?
Paul Sun: Sure. So Lily is actually not commercially available yet. They are taking pre-orders for about $500 [actually, pre-order cost is US$719 including shipping – ed] cost of a unit, and now going to retail for what I’ve seen for, call it $1,000. That technology, as with a lot of auto-follow drone technology, is based on GPS, and specifically Lily, it’s a beacon. So the user wears a beacon and the camera senses that beacon and follows them around from that perspective.
Trace is different and unique, and the only thing, from what I understand, in the market where it follows someone autonomously using visual intelligence or computer vision. So what that means is, the camera can scan you, James, as a person and differentiate between you and someone standing beside you or an object, and it will follow you based on attributes on how you look, what you’re wearing, and the camera effectively learns who you are and follows you based on that.
James West: Follows me to the exclusion of whoever else might be around me?
Paul Sun: Correct.
James West: Well, that’s great for the egomaniac, isn’t it?
Paul Sun: And that’s really where Trace was founded, where in today’s selfie generation, people ultimately are more interested in seeing what they look like doing an activity as opposed to recording what they already see when doing an activity. So that’s really the value proposition that no one is really doing at this point. And GPS and those other things have limitations in terms of the technology on how close you can film, where this, the idea is the angle and the distance is quite a bit closer.
James West: It is? Okay. So then, on a price level, is the Trace product going to be comparable, more expensive?
Paul Sun: Sure. So we’re targeting the camera. Everything works, the camera drives all other devices. So our first product is called the Follower. So the Trace camera will snap into the Follower, which is a gimbal or a tripod which will remain stationary, and that camera can follow people around so that the coupled price of that product is about, we’re targeting $675 to $700. So if you compare that to a GoPro, the most recent GoPro is about $650. So it’s at a little bit of a premium right now, but arguably you’re getting that value because it has the ability to follow you around, where a GoPro needs to be attached to your helmet or your surfboard or whatnot.
James West: Sure. Okay. So then, that’s the Lilly versus the Trace product. Now, the GoPro can also be mounted on a drone, or a drone can carry another type of camera. And how is this superior to that kind of set up, where you can actually launch a DSLR camera on a drone, or even a GoPro?
Paul Sun: Sure. Well, there’s, everybody’s doing that right now, whether it’s a third party camera, GoPro, whatever it is. GoPro has done a great job in terms of their resolution and all that sort of good stuff, but at the end of the day, all that filming needs to be controlled by the user via remote control or some kind of RSC control, where really, our offering is, it’s autonomous. So the camera drives the gimbal or the quadcopter or whatever device based on your movement, and that’s the whole – that’s where the real magic happens.
James West: Wow. So when is the Trace product available publicly?
Paul Sun: Sure. So we’re looking to have our first units out fall of this year, and that’s for the gimbal or the Follower product that I mentioned, and then spring of next year, we’re looking to have the Trace camera coupled with the flyer, which is the quadcopter. So that’s kind of the rollout, as we see it, to retail.
James West: Oh, okay. Great. And so the company will be public when?
Paul Sun: Yeah, so we’re shooting for a fall time frame; October, November time frame is what we’re looking for to go public.
James West: Great. Okay. Well, that’s a great first interview, Paul. Thanks for joining us today.
Paul Sun: Sure. Pleasure. Thank you.
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