One term that is often banded about marketing meeting rooms and developers studios is that of Augmented Reality, or AR.
This new technology has all the facets required to make it big, and to totally revolutionise the way that companies market themselves, how information is portrayed, how we socialise and even the way we learn.
Augmented reality works by using your smartphone to react to a trigger image, which turns your phone into an advertising platform displaying video, pictures, articles and maps.
Just imagine scanning a picture of your local bar from a leaflet, and the AR app guides you to the front door using GPS and mapping systems, describing key points along the way. Or maybe a picture in a magazine of the latest Audi can be scanned with your smartphones camera, and a marketing video showing the car driving along a beach plays on your mobile?
One company who has got it right is IKEA, whose new AR friendly catalogue allows its user to scan the image of a sofa or chair that they are interested in buying, and by using their smartphone can see what that piece of furniture looks like live in their living room.
The advert, which shows what appears to be a family enjoying AR to an extent which the rest of us can only achieve through the copious intake of alcohol, demonstrates just one way in which marketing collateral for major global brands can evolve to link in with their digital strategies.
Instead of a leaflet saying 'please like us on Facebook', it is now possible to link print marketing material, social media, video advertisements and website content in one eclectic and holistic marketing bundle.
Augmented Reality Growth to Save Newspaper Industry
These are just some of the many possibilities when it comes to Augmented Reality. Within the next four years, AR apps are expected to be downloaded a staggering 2.5 billion times, and brands such as The Independent have already installed AR technology into their newspapers.
The revolution for the print media industry is that published articles that have some sort of visual or audible media attached can be accessed by the reader. An article that once had to rely on images to show the royal baby leaving hospital for the first time could now be just one image, which once scanned brings up a video of a podcast of news bulletin.
For the newspaper industry alone, AR technology could be the technology that saves this ailing giant. For the past decade internet news and the ability to gather breaking news via social media outlets has seen the need for newspapers dwindle.
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But as the technology controlling the content that smartphones are linked to being manipulated remotely, programmers can change what the trigger image links to. What once linked to a video saying the Kate and William had arrived at hospital could now show a video of them leaving with baby in arms.
Newspapers with a broadcasting arm (or semi-decent podcast team) can now also combat the 'day old news' stigma by installing a breaking news image to their front pages, where once scanned the latest news appears on the smartphone or tablet.
And lets not forget why AR was probably invented in the first place. Those newspaper adverts for the latest movie with those rave reviews from Hello magazine and some unheard of website can now be scanned, showcasing the films trailer.
So far I haven’t really mentioned the bad or the amazing (although a technology that could save print media cannot be written off as minor news).
There are several issues surrounding AR. Firstly, our society has already become less interactive in terms of socialising, with a big letter of thanks being assigned to the advancements in mobile technology.
Augmented Reality is only set to confound this further, with the ability to get lost in our physical world through a virtual environment that is more exciting, and incredibly even more interactive.
For the white hats in Westminster, graffiti trigger images on the side of bridges and buildings could also become a problem, but if a Banksy is worth millions, imagine how iconic a 20ft high Coca Cola bottle on the side of a sky scraper could become?
The amazing is not in the extra dimension that AR gives advertisers and marketers, but in its ability to teach. Rather unsurprisingly, 71% of our teenagers and young adults own a smartphone, and textbooks with augmented reality could be the way forward. A scientific demonstration could be explained via video, or a language textbook could include trigger images of a French woman talking certain phrases in her native tongue to help pronunciation.
The possibilities are endless. And possibly best of all for any 'youngen' reading this, in a few years you may be told off for not having your iPhone out in class, and not vice versa.
Where we come in...
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If you’re looking for help creating a new Augmented Reality app, or incorporating AR into an existing app, then our mobile app developers can help. From creating the visual concept and interfaces for the design, to coding and testing the development, launching and marketing the finished app. As with all the areas we work in our skill is in bringing together the right combination of expertise to deliver an integrated solution.
Fabric is well and truly at the forefront of AR technology in Manchester, having already rolled out successful applications – from fun consumer-focused apps to those focused on delivering business focused information in an engaging and novel way.
Our developers and creative designers can implemented an AR strategy that can help your business trade at the cutting edge with the latest technologies.