2013 has been a year filled with Augmented Reality—from Google Glass to smartphone applications. We are using this developing technology to truly enhance our experience in all aspects of our everyday lives. Augmented Reality allows you the individual, the retailer, or the marketing professional, to bring in additional dollars to your business…. But only if we do it right.
Augmented Reality (AR) was introduced in 2009 as the ability to go beyond showing an animation! AR is a live view of the real world augmented by computer-generated sensory information. With this technology, we are enhancing mobile phone apps, email marketing, and even video. We are able to see more easily, access supporting information, post things to social media sites, make a phone call, launch a video and buy a product from within an application using your mobile phone. Earlier this year, Google announced Project Glass, where you can wear “glasses” and have your world augmented with all kinds of additional fun and interactive elements come to life. In the AR space.
In my world, where creativity meets technology, AR has opened the door with so many possibilities for marketing professionals. We can make the experience unique and meaningful, and much more than a gimmick. We already see smartphone applications that will overlay Yelp reviews onto real-time images of a street view of a street corner. We can see stats projected over player images at a live sporting event. We see healthcare applications that can show where to access emergency medical services to city subways riders and show real-time promotions and discount information on retail store fronts. We are able to make a real difference that will be beneficial to the end user.
Let’s use the retail space as an example. I use my mobile device to locate my favorite store. Once I get to the store, I can use my AR application (if the store supports the technology) on my smartphone to make my shopping experience even more meaningful. I may be looking at a running shoe—using the Layar app, I may be able to see a video of the technology used in the running shoe and view a demonstration of the product in use. And if the store is out of my size, I may be able to buy right from the Layar app. Pretty cool stuff, right!
The technology is now developing quickly. Mobile apps such as Layar, String, blippar and Junaio will accelerate the development process and reduce the application costs. However, the applications must provide meaningful value to the viewer. AR applications that are more gimmicks, games and technical showmanship than marketing are a bad investment. Like most new technologies, the challenge is to keep exploring ways to use AR to create a better user experience and provide meaningful ROI.
We have seen that in 2013, AR is making a difference. Combined with Strategy, Creative and Technology, we can develop:
- Solid creative strategy that supports the brand promise
- Effective consumer marketing fundamentals and user experience design
- Practical application of proven technology with appropriate testing
- Measurement of the right metrics
When done this way, we believe that Augmented Reality can create meaningful new opportunities for marketing professionals that deliver greater value and enhance their brand experience.
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