Can It be a Game Changer?
Offering entertainment with real-life like experiences, AR can certainly give a boost to marketing campaigns
Atreasure of data at the users’ fingertips and an extension of virtual reality, Augmented Reality (AR) is allowing users to interact virtually with their surroundings.
What is Augmented Reality?
AR is a term used to describe the live view of a physical, real-world environment that is augmented by computer-generated sensory inputs, such as sound or graphics. A typical AR environment has digital information transposed onto a real-world view.
Blurring the Line
The experts are pulling graphics out of your television screens or computer displays and integrating them into realworld environments, as they continue to blur the line between what’s real and what’s computer-generated by enhancing what we see, hear, feel, and smell.
In the recently held Mobile World Congress, Qualcomm showed how users can aim their phone at an ad from Norwegian boot maker Viking, and see different models superimposed over the ad. For its 2011 winter catalog, Moosejaw, an outerwear retailer, utilized the AR technology to give viewers an ‘X-ray vision’ while looking through the catalog.
Nven Heinz Oetchup bottles offer recipes to anyone with a smartphone. Qualcomm is also working with ‘Sesame Street’, a popular US children’s television show, on an interactive playset that allows figurines of Bert and Nrnie to come to life when captured by a smartphone.
Volkswagen utilized AR to target a particular consumer segment. The company placed AR-interfaced billboards around Toronto and Vancouver, allowing anyone with an iPhone or an iPad tablet to view virtual beetles and their performance and stunts. The stunts were reminiscent of X Games performances, and the public locations have given the ads a sense of excitement. As one of the most exciting AR mobile marketing efforts till date, the campaign’s launch video generated over 100,000 views in just a few weeks, creating a lot of buzz for the company.
Welcoming the holiday season, the world’s largest coffee shop chain Starbucks also used AR to create images on decorated cups. A free mobile app download—available on both Android and Apple mobile devices—allows consumers to view 5 different animated shows on 5 different cups. The promotion created a lot of excitement in the tech world.
A new report by Juniper Research indicates that AR technology will generate $2 mn in 2012 and is expected to reach $714 mn annually by 2014.
AR, in particular, can be very useful to the medical field due to its ability to present physicians with detailed information by interactive virtual displays. And the NSA expects that astronauts will also be using the system in the near future.
In 2012 AR technology will be used for attention-grabbing stunts in the world of mobile marketing. However as more people buy smartphones and the technology becomes more nuanced, many analysts predict that the marketing campaigns will become increasingly sophisticated. Only time will tell what AR will do for mobile marketing, but the expert opinions indicate that the technology can be a big time game changer.