Saturday, January 29, 2011

Augmented reality - blends Internet with Life

I realise I have totally missed a super exciting trend: the augmented reality! I found the term too complicated and technical (ie not for me) so I shut my ears, and since I don´t use iphone (too long nails) the new world has completely passed by unnoticed. What about you? You probably know about this already, but I need to tell you because I´m so thrilled :)  

In short, this GPS based 'thing' helps you blend reality with virtual. It brings the brilliance of Internet to your everyday world and the other way around. Foursquare is augmented reality, as are applications like bar code scanning, product shape scans and audio input recognition.

In November 2010 one of my loved brands H&M (Swedish, stylish, cheap xxx) teamed up with GoldRun  to launch a scavenger hunt promotional campaign. Users who download the application will be able to participate in a scavenger hunt to collect virtual goods. For example, H&M provides a list of items and users are asked take pictures in order to collect virtual items. The user then receives credit for the virtual item. Collected items may also be shared through social media, such as Facebook. Enough collected items may be converted into real-world rewards, such as 10% off the next H&M purchase.

eBay has released a new augmented reality application for location-based shopping. The application utilizes a devices' internal GPS and camera to generate listings based on eBay's classifieds section. When a user walks down a street, the application will continue to update and generate listings based on search filters and the user's physical direction. Users can also tap on item pictures to see a complete item description and contact information.
From Wikipedia:
"Augmented reality (AR) is a term for a live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input, such as sound or graphics. It is related to a more general concept called mediated reality, in which a view of reality is modified (possibly even diminished rather than augmented) by a computer. As a result, the technology functions by enhancing one’s current perception of reality. By contrast, virtual reality replaces the real-world with a simulated one.
Augmentation is conventionally in real-time and in semantic context with environmental elements, such as sports scores on TV during a match. With the help of advanced AR technology (e.g. adding computer vision and object recognition) the information about the surrounding real world of the user becomes interactive and digitally manipulable. Artificial information about the environment and its objects can be overlaid on the real world."

More examples on this site from Simon Mainwaring, an 'idea geek' as he calls himself :)

I can´t wait to use this for one of my clients. As long as we don´t get caught in technology and still focus on emotional connections with consumers based on them rather than iphone apps, we are onto something and can use the new to bring life to products and services, tickle the target´s senses and make brands look cool.

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