Sunday, October 3, 2010

Web 2.0 Expo: Augmented Reality

Augmented Reality for Marketers: Mapping the Future of Consumer Interactions by Lynne D. Johnson and John Havens woke me (and probably others) up to the recognition of how much augmented reality already exists in our lives and to how it will increase in the future.

The speakers acknowledged that GPS (global positioning systems) was the biggest recent technological innovation because it is predictive technology. This is the basis of Augmented Reality (hereafter AR).

"If it's useful, it will be adopted by the masses."

Current new possibilities: An ad for Chase shows you can "Point. Shoot. Deposit." i.e., deposit a check by taking a picture of it. This is augmented reality. It makes people's lives simpler.

Take QR Codes. They extend the capability of barcodes, can be scanned faster, and can be made to initiate commands, such as download an app, etc. An extension is Zoo Records. Recording artists were concerned they weren't getting playtime. They refashioned the QR Codes to appear as animals, so that when takes a pic of it with one's phone, the phone plays the encoded collection of songs. Barcodes and SMS messaging are beginning to use images as shortcuts to access company information. An example is Joss Stone whose graphic logo is in fact made from code.

AR at Boeing: they developed a technology where air pilots could see added flight information (i.e. altitude, air pressure, distances, etc.) in their visors instead of having to check the dashboard.

The lesson learned so far:

Utility + Ease of use = Rapid adoption

Already there are numerous businesses that allow you to use your phone to identify their locations relative to where you are standing: Quiznos, Subway, etc.. Lynne noted how in Japan, with a cellphone the subway directions appear in English. Similarly with Yelp - it can make recommendations as you watch your phone.

More: A case study was done at IBM with Seer [?], where holding up your phone will identify locations of bathrooms, food courts, etc. As you wait for a game at Wimbledon, hold up your phone to see historical information. If you temporarily wander away from your seat, you can still see what's happening through live video feeds. Think of all the new possibilities with training: they mentioned an example of a BMW car mechanic who is shown the part to be replaced, the location of where it should go, what tools to use, etc. A boon for training situations of all kinds.

Numerous examples: Tissot - issued an ad in magazines: cut out the (paper) watch and wear it to see what it would look like. Acer 3D campaign, For, their virtual vacation led to a 36% increase in bookings.

For IBM, this can lead to increased ROI and brand awareness.

The key to all of these examples is that it's fun and engaging for the consumer - even if it is a little gimmicky. It gives people a new experience that is fun.

AR already exists as a social network: "Tagwhat is a free network where you can create-and-share location based messages and content on-line or in mobile augmented reality."

User-created tags are building up the Outernet - the word for people are tagging nearly everything in the world around them. Examples: Locamoda brings FourSquare to Las Vegas. Miso puts people's video viewing habits into social media context. Also Thrilllist - which rolls in FourSquare. Similarly with HBO and GetGlue (social networking for entertainment).

Now, with many stores, you can check into a product, take a pic of the barcode and you gain points - just like a game - in real life. MyTown - people can check into a store, "own" it, and then have others "pay rent." Placecast: "location-based digital advertising company that provides ShopAlerts" via cellphones. The virtual dressing room is part of and J.C. Penny ( See how you look in the clothes before purchasing them.

The latest is that you can now check into people, thanks to facial recognition technology. With AR glasses you can see all sorts of information. Someday you might be able to see who's home and who's not - a danger. Clearly the AR industry has lots of privacy issues to deal with.

This humorous iScreener cartoon shows the dangers: iScreener

What about virtual advertising rights? Advertisers will post virtual ads when you view a scene through various phone apps. Already Bings' AR maps charges advertises to pay for virtual advertising rights.

Think of the advantages: a AR windshield will be able to tell you the location of parking spots, or where there is congestion. Already with RFID tags, there "smart parking." The future holds an Internet of things: Machines talking to machines, such as EZ Pass. [This is a prediction for what Web 3.0 is to be.]

Thus the lesson becomes:

Utility + Ease of use + Privacy/Marketing awareness = Transformation

This talk provided a very good introduction to the world of augmented reality. It was well-delivered, and I'm not the only one who thought it was one of the better presentations of the Web 2.0 Expo.


Lynne d Johnson said...

Thanks for this post.

Robin Mendelson said...

John - Thanks for providing the highlights! What's most interesting is that - like you said - much of this technology already exists, it just needs to be put into play. Some of it is, some of it isn't...what's impeding the process? Well, we all could speak volumes about that; but I think that says something about the state of our economy now. How we're perched on brink of a technological revolution, or at least on the verge of adapting these new technologies. The immediate future then, belongs to the innovators who can usher this forward. Look at the last century, pioneers like Edison, Tesla, Ford, Disney, they showed us how to adapt and use technology. The leaders of the business world, those with capital, need to embrace this new future, support it, fund it! That will kick start the economy, that...will keep America strong!