Will Augmented Reality Be the Next Big Thing?
Remember that scene in The Empire Strikes Back when Darth Vader cuts off Luke's hand? That was awesome. But there was another scene in Star Wars where Princess Leia sends Obi Wan Kenobi a holographic distress call. The first time I saw that scene I thought how cool it would be if someday we really had technology like that. Well, we do now'?¦sort of. Meet 'augmented reality'?.
Augmented reality is a technology that merges the real world with computer-generated data. The augmented reality is displayed on a computer screen that shows the real world captured by camera then overlaid with computer graphics. From there, the user can interact with and manipulate the virtual content that is being displayed on-screen.
Will augmented reality be next big thing? Well, that all depends on how well advertisers can identify meaningful ways to use the technology.
Here are a handful of brands that have developed clever ways to implement augmented reality:
USPS - Virtual Box Simulator
Unsure what size box you need when shipping a package? Fire up the handy Virtual Box Simulator to correctly size the box needed to ship your junk. This is a great application that fits well with the brand and provides a real benefit to customers.
Topps ' 3D LIVE
Topps- 3D Live
Baseball cards have always sought to appeal to fans beyond the traditional card-collecting experience. In the past we've seen jigsaw puzzles, stickers, even brittle pieces of tasteless bubblegum. 3D LIVE brings a mini-game experience to fans that lets them control avatars of their favorite players.
This takes tourism to another level by allowing users to overlay a map and use their mobile device (presently Android mobile platform only) to display points of interest 'seen'? by the device's camera.
PS3 - EyePet
Aside from being able to shower your pet in virtual cookies or dress it up to look like Erik Estrada, users have the ability to create objects with which their pet can play. At this point users are limited to a few basic things that they can create, but it opens the possibility for even more customizable interactivity with the medium for future applications and games.
Similar to the viral video phenomenon a while back, this is another innovative messaging vehicle for brands but it must be compelling and provide a real benefit/value to maximize impact. Imagine an application from IKEA that could help you virtually layout new furniture in your living room. What if Target could help students virtually decorate their dorm rooms when they move to college? What about a new sneaker from Nike that you could virtually try on and walk around in? Imagine SONY providing 3D step-by-step instructions to help you setup your new home theater system.
The possibilities are endless; we just need to think outside the virtual box. How can your brand help augment reality?