Just as some people start seeing the true benefit of native apps, another technology comes along to muddy the waters.
So what is Augmented Reality? And more importantly, can it really be used as an effective b2b or b2c marketing communications tool? Oakley Mobile’s chief geek (or Technical Director as he’s officially titled) brings us up to speed.
What is Augmented Reality?
Augmented Reality (AR) is a broad term used to describe a solution that combines the real world with additional information. This additional information could be audio, video, 3d models or textual information that is generally related to the real world object that you're looking at (through your app’s viewfinder). AR solutions can take many different forms, and can be used for various purposes. Now that mobile technology has advanced so far, AR apps for your phone are now possible, which opens up a wealth of opportunities and scope for new innovations.
How does it work?
In a nut shell, it’s image recognition. A trigger image (your business card for example) is saved into the app. Then a multimedia file (a video of your product) is then linked to the trigger. When the business card is seen through the app’s viewfinder, the video appears.
At Oakley Mobile, we use a number of technologies to deliver AR solutions. At the foundation lies a 3D engine which provides various key elements that a mobile AR solution needs. Such as access to the devices camera, it's accelerometer and its gyroscope. It also allows 3D objects to be displayed when required, and executes the code that ties everything together for the final solution.
To create a seemingly simple AR solution actually requires a very complex interaction between lots of technologies, which is why it's only recently become viable on mobile devices. A few years ago, mobiles simply weren't powerful enough to accomplish this task.
Who offers Augmented Reality?
There are a few AR solutions available, all of which have their merits. Mainstream solutions like Blippar and Aurasma are what we would call ‘universal’ AR solutions. Both use a common viewfinder which recognizes the triggers and streams the AR content from servers to the user’s device – all of which happens over the device’s network connection. We use a different approach. By integrating the multimedia content directly into a bespoke-branded app allows the content to be viewed instantly. Thus guaranteeing a seamless user experience regardless of network connection or location.
How can it help me and my business?
AR is useful for anyone wishing to deliver a new and innovative experience on mobile, as well as those who are looking for something with a 'wow' factor. AR can impress people simply through the incredible user experiences it offers, but it actually goes a lot deeper than this. By delivering your content efficiently through an AR solution, you can offer users something which simply can't be delivered in any other way. Whether its a sales brochure that comes to life, or an interactive tool to streamline your business processes, AR solutions can help.
To date, we’ve utilized augmented reality across of variety of sectors including:
• Cisco’s global roadshows
• Data Center education and marketing tools
• BBC Keynote Speaker previews for Internet World
• and sales enablement tools for the Olympic velodrome constructors
Some people see augmented reality as a fad, but planned and used correctly, it is a powerful tool which engages audiences with companies services and products.
To find out more, download our AR possibilities app ‘EUREKAr’ (and our other client apps) to discover the potential for yourself.