What Is Augmented Reality and How Will it Affect Your Business?

“Time stops for no man” and neither does technology. For those “old” enough, remember the pre-Apple era of black and white TV giving way to color TV! What a revelation. Then we had analog to digital and pixels entered into our vocabulary. Next on the march of technology was cordless phones to smart phones to iPads – Oh My! Now we are entering the Twilight Zone of imagination morphing from virtual reality (replacing the real world with a simulated one) to Augmented Reality.

What Is Augmented Reality and How Will it Affect Your Business? image AR

The Mother of Invention

Augmented Reality is in real-time and interacts with elements of your environment, such as sports scores on a TV during a match. With AR technology (adding computer vision and object recognition), information about your surrounding real world becomes interactive and digitally manipulable. In context, artificial information about the environment and its objects can be overlaid on the real world. With the advent of Google Glass showing computational information on the lens in front of your eye, this technology will enter into our visual and sensory lives shortly. Brace yourself for the Terminator’s red eyeball.

Apps are being developed to enhance the viewer’s experience. One Augmented Reality app available for the iPhone makes 3-D images and videos appear through the phone’s camera like they are on top of physical objects. Three different free available apps to check out are Blippar, Snaps and Zappar. Remember all the fuss about QR codes that allow the user to scan and go to a website? That’s old news.

Blip… Blip… Blip…

With Blippar, you can scan a Pepsi bottle (it has a Blippar “B” icon on the bottle). Viewed through the lens of an iPhone, a video of a magic trick appears on the bottle. Engaging and very cool. Makes a marketing impact to share and tell your network. Another brand Maybelline lets the user try on digital fingernail polish by holding one’s hand over and see how different colors look on your fingers.

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What does this mean for your business? The advertising opportunities are endless. They take consumer engagement to a whole new dimension. Augmented Reality will play even in Hoboken. We are visual and sensory creatures and AR will woo you while brands pick your pockets! About 25% of Blippar ads lead to an e-commerce opportunity to purchase. That will only grow as new and creative techniques come online.

An AR App with Teeth!

Snaps is a little different. It doesn’t scan images for interactivity; rather it provides overlays on your photos for fun. The Discovery Channel’s Shark Week lets you overlay an angry shark emerging from the pavement on your city street. Ouch! There are also couponing opportunities if you share your photo with an AR version of a brand’s product to get $2 off your next purchase.

In the Final Analysis:

Advertising and Internet Marketing won’t be about Google Adsense clicks in the future; it will be about creating these kinds of interactive experiences.

Can’t wait? Download an AR app and find your own reality!

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