Thursday, July 21, 2011


Much like a heads-up display in a fighter jet, a phenomenon called ‘Augmented Reality’ promises to enrich our experience of the world by overlaying additional content on our surroundings. WSJ recently reported on some fascinating Augmented Reality applications, including:

• A trial window display by Tissot that let people try on watches ‘virtually’ (reality here is your wrist, the overlay is the watch – the opportunity to try the product like this led to an 83% increase in sales at the store)

• A mobile phone app by the Museum of London that can show you what the street you’re standing on looked like hundreds of years ago, collapsing past and present

• Another mobile app called Stargazer that adds information about stars, planets and constellations to your view of the night sky

• A real estate app – again mobile phone powered – that shows you what’s for sale or for rent as you pass through a neighborhood

As the last three examples suggest, smart phones are currently the device of choice for delivering Augmented Reality experiences, and as handsets and networks power up there’s no limit to how we might choose to expand our realities.

The implications for richer shopping experiences are exciting – both in and outside the store, as the Tissot trial showed. Already you can scan product codes in store to find out much more about what you see on the shelf. As power continues to shift to the consumer we should expect more of this information, more of the ‘overlays’ to originate from, and be mediated by, other shoppers rather than brand ‘owners’. And to the extent that the information we’re provided with is something shared by another consumer, reflecting their thoughts and feelings, this won’t be an augmentation of reality. It will be its arrival.


Renea Mackie said...

Some of the stuff they do at HITLabNZ is awesome. I think these pop up color in pictures are great!

At present, you have to use the images provided on the site because color maps need to be made for each picture, but I imagine eventually you could create your own. It would be cool to make cards for people like this.

The pop up comic at the HITLab is fantastic too! I love the idea of being able to create a story and being able to add lots of interesting, interactive media to it. I guess the same could be said for advertising. There's no reason why you couldn't receive a shoe catalog in the mail, open it up, and see the shoes pop out and rotate in 3D.

Even if you were looking up restaurants online, you could view a 3D model of the restaurant and choose your preferred seating, and even view the menu, to get a better idea of what to expect.

Imagine having a furniture catalog on your phone and being able to view the 3D pieces (through your phone screen) in your living room. Same technology as the historic/present buildings app.

Fun times!

Remco Vroom said...

I do agree with your conclusion. I had the privilege of spending 6 weeks in an Augmented Media experience and research centre we created right in the middel of a shoppingmall in the Netherlands. One of our key learnings there was that consumers rely on other consumer's judgment when buying products. However that is not so new, we also tested this theory in a retail environment filled with augmente reality cases.

Have a look at this little blogpost I wrote about "From augmented reality to augmented media:

Or this video impression of the Augmented Media Experience centre: [it's an internal video so no fancy editing]

Let me know if you would like to exchange thoughts about mobile marketing and mobile AR in the future.
t: @remcovrOOm

Dan said...

By the by - you can do all the above and more with AR.

The changing clothes idea we have just made compatible on smartphones.

The changing furniture is something we know is happening right now but cannot talk about.

And some amazing new ideas in non marker tracking bringing in social media are just around the corner

goAugmented - is all we can say :) / @goaugmented

We specialise in mobile AR marketing experiences for brands with fans.