There is an excitement surrounding the applications of ‘Google Glass’ in digital marketing when it becomes fully commercial in the coming years. Google Glass is one of the many facilitating devices to take advantage of augmented reality in the modern day, which only enhances the real world with virtual. So what are the possibilities when it comes to tapping into this futuristic tech variation for digital marketing?
Before we delve further, Augmented Reality (AR) is a technology that allows for virtual objects to be placed in the real world in real-time for information enhancement or education about the world around us. Currently, AR is mostly used on mobile phone apps to enrich the real world by blending digital components into it though still having them easily be told apart. It is one of the hottest and fanciest technology developments in the mobile industry and most people already have it.
The latest smartphones are coming out with more advanced technical abilities to be even more compatible with Augmented Reality applications, and big companies like Facebook, Microsoft, and Apple have already heavily invested in their AR development. Augmented reality is mostly used on mobile devices, using the devices’ camera to see the world in AR. That’s in addition to Google Glass and its competitors. A clear testament to the future which many companies and brands will tap into for marketing and customer experience applications.
Though easily confused for each other, both Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality use some of the same types of technology and exist to present the user with an enhanced or enriched experience. However, it’s notable that they differ very much in purpose and delivery method, and the main difference is really in the immersion spectrum. Augmented reality adds virtual components such as digital images and graphics as a new layer of interaction with the real world while virtual reality creates its own completely computer generated and driven reality. Pretty cool, right?
In a space where people are already using their mobile phones as a handy tool for everything. AR will make it even better, efficient and faster. Possibilities and applications are only limited by the mind, imagine instantly translating unknown language to your native language by just showing the text to your phone. Or when you’re out shopping, getting extra info about products by showing the product tag to your phone. Or being at the cinema and scanning a poster image and getting a bio summary. Maybe trying out clothes and accessories with Augmented Reality in your own home, instead of going to the actual store.
Though there some few technical issues getting in the way of mass market adoption. Such as a requirement for a serious amount of battery power to render digital AR elements in real time and power the camera. Remember, the basic hardware needed for AR are good processors, display, sensors and input devices, which can all be found on modern smartphones and tablets. That’s in addition to a high megapixel camera, an accelerometer, GPS and solid state compass, which make newer mobile computing devices very suitable AR platforms. Thus the problem will be solved quickly as smartphones are advancing way faster than Moore’s law.
So if your company/firm/business is considering tapping into this market for branding, marketing, and customer experience, what are the considerations and motivations we can look at? Nordic dairy company in Finland launched a digital AR campaign in which a kitten jumps out of a milk carton when a picture on the back of the carton is scanned with the Arilyn app. This kitten is like a cute little Augmented Reality pet and can be interacted with through the users’ smartphone, and the kitten will develop into a cat (or a cow) over time. This campaign was aimed at kids and families as a fun little experience, and it also served as an example of how to use new technology to entertain and extend the storytelling. Brilliant stuff!
If you’re a Cinema Brand or movie company, by scanning a picture of a Poster, a trailer of the movie can appear to your clients. AR has also been explored in GPS navigator apps aimed specifically for tourists, which can recommend the user the best touristic route to famous landmarks or restaurants. With AR glasses, bike riders can focus fully on sightseeing instead of glancing at his or her smartphone for directions or other information.
In terms of glasses, in steps Mixed Reality (MR), sometimes called Hybrid Reality (HR), a more advanced feature of AR technology. Here the user wears semi-transparent goggles or glasses to, unlike in VR, still be able to see the real world around them. It combines the best aspects of both Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality. When these two realities are merged together, new visualizations and environments are made where physical and digital objects co-exist and interact in real time.
Mixed reality applications can include 3D modeling, gaming from adventure and platform games to first-person shooters, interactive digital human anatomy curriculum and Skype, where the user of regular PC or mobile device can call the user wearing smart glasses. Aside from Google Glass, the ‘HoloLens’ from Microsoft look like modern sunglasses and are capable of facial-recognition of the people you meet, fitness tracking and mixed reality just to name a few.
A good case study is The Dutch Lady, a dairy beverage brand in Vietnam, who created their own AR app for their young consumers. The app is a game for children, where you interact with the characters from the “Dutch Lady farm”, and by scanning ‘Dutch Lady’ Milk packs, you can unlock new characters in the game. The app was a huge success and achieved over 40,000 downloads and a 19% increase in sales. Another success story is Volvo, who promoted their S60 model by creating an AR experience on YouTube, where the users could drive a virtual car by tilting their smartphone left and right. Volvo said there was an outstanding traffic increase of 293% to volvocars.com!
From AR car manuals to AR Virtual Guides, the possibilities are endless. Easily combined with traditional digital marketing, adding AR elements especially into posters lobbies and bus stops is a brilliant idea, as people tend to already have their smartphones in hand when they’re bored and waiting for something or someone. Whether the fashion industry where people can try make-up virtually, consider tapping into Augmented Reality and we’d be sure glad to guide you.