Autonomy's new visual browser app #Aurasma (Photo credit: geofones)

Yesterday after speaking to a group of marketers and others at The Standard Group’s “Do More With Less” Workshop series, I had the chance to witness something pretty cool. I had the pleasure of meeting Jeffrey Down, a Business Development Manager with HP, who showed me a relatively new technology that really ups the game for mobile marketing and interactivity.

Last year Hewlett Packard purchased a software company called Autonomy for more than $10-billion. Nestled away in that purchase is an augmented reality division called Aurasma.

This is where it gets fun.

Right now people are using their smart phones to scan QR Codes which allows them to either download information, or be taken to a web page of some sort. I happen to love QR codes, when they are used strategically. But this new technology adds several new dimensions.

A lot.

Rather than scanning a code, Aurasma’s software, which is a free downloadable app for smart phones, recognizes images. The company actually describes it as a “virtual browser”, but I’m not sure that terminology does it justice.

When you see an image that is accompanied by the company’s “A” logo, you know that you can scan it. Once the image is recognized, it takes you to an augmented reality experience that brings that image to life, and allows you to interact with it.

This video gives you and idea of how it works.

After seeing the video, I began to come up with all sorts of applications for this, both in terms of marketing, and every day life. And my thinking is still very much in the box. I can’t even begin to fathom where this could go.

  • Scan an image in a kids’ book and part of the story comes to life on your tablet or smartphone
  • Scan a text book image to get a video tutorial of the circulatory system or any other lesson
  • Scan an image in an instruction manual for a how-to video for a product
  • Scan a baseball card and see video of that baseball player in action
  • Scan an image on a promo piece from a musician and get a sample of their live performance
  • Scan an image on DVD packaging, or in an ad, to see a movie trailer
  • Scan an image on packaging for an action figure and see a “scenario” unfold
  • Scan an image in a museum exhibit to see a video about the artist

Yes, you could theoretically do some of these things with QR Codes now, but with this new product, the possibilities are literally endless. And these augmented reality elements are customizable and can be interactive with clickable links.

The scannable, recognizable images could be placed on products, packaging, point of purchase displays, signs, ads, clothing, or just about anything you can imagine. You can even create your own “auras” to send as greetings to friends.

And that’s just with the technology that is available at the moment. I imagine the folks at Aurasma are working on things that would blow our minds.

Maybe some day those augmented reality experiences won’t be confined to the screen but will rise up above it, like a hologram. Can you say,

“Help me, Ob-Wan Kenobi”?


What applications can you envision for something like this? How can you imagine using something like this for your business?