The face of marketing and communications are constantly changing. Developing technology is a driving force behind how we interact with customers. Think about it, in just the past year alone, we’ve seen an explosion of QR codes being used on everything from ads to business cards to signs. NOW, HOLD ONTO YOUR HAT… there is something new and bigger on the technological horizon… Augmented Reality (AR).
If you’ve never heard of augmented reality, you’re in for a real treat. I learned about AR from a former employee a while back and was intrigued by how it worked and the possible applications it could offer.
So what is Augmented Reality… simply put, it’s a live view of a physical, real world environment whose elements are augmented by computer and generated through a sensory input such as a camera on a smartphone. As a result, the image being viewed enhances and alters one’s current perception of reality. And this is all done in real time. A prime example of AR in use is that yellow line put on football fields by broadcasting companies to mark first downs or to add other informational graphics to the playing field.
To see an example of how this technology works, visit http://www.poweredbystring.com/ and download the app to your smartphone. Then print out the showcase examples on your desktop printer, launch the app and point the camera at the image. You’ll be blown away.
AR enhances the way we view and interact with 2-dimensional and even 3-dimensional images. With the rise in use of mobile devices, AR technology is on the brink of an “explosion of its own”. Handheld devices offer portability and convenience to view AR markers providing all types of uses. Just consider some of the application possibilities…
- A realtor might incorporate augmented reality into their business card to give a 3-dimensional view of a property for sale.
- A 2-dimensional ad printed in traditional media like magazines or newspaper, come alive with AR. Your product will bounce off the page…. change the color… rotate it to look at from different angles.
- Signs can take on new functions offering all types of new and useful information. However, the one draw back is I would not recommend trying this while driving a vehicle.
- Product catalogs now take on interactive quality with AR demonstrations and 3D views. Just touch the screen to place your order.
- An industrial designer may utilize augmented reality’s features in a presentation to prospects and investors to illustrate their ideas.
- A tourism brochure takes you on a virtual trip with the help of AR.
- And on and on… just stop and think about it.
I believe the marketing possibilities for using this technology in advertising and promotions are only limited by our own imagination. It truly is a virtual world we are creating… physical laws and material properties may no longer be thought of as true, at least in stark contrast to the real world environment. More information can be communicated with AR applications than can be perceived with our common 5 senses.
How does it work? I don’t know… and frankly, I don’t care. What I do see working is a bold, new medium that allows for marketers and others to communicate in creative and unusual ways, intriguing their perspective customers and providing another layer of information to a new reality.
I predict in the years to come, AR, or some version of it, will become the new medium of choice for marketers as the technology becomes more affordable and mainstream. Augmented Reality will change the way we look at the world, or at least the way we see the world. It will change the way we learn, the way we interact with one another and the way we assimilate information.
I encourage you to learn more about this exciting new technology. There is a multitude of websites that can provide more information, I have included but a handful below. The future is here… is it for real? You decide.