The new iPhone with video - coupled with GPS, compass and future iPhone applications - ushers in the Brave New World of augmented reality. And mobile marketing, which until now has been a relative afterthought for brand marketers outside of Japan, is about to go gangbusters.
Tag: augmented reality
There may be more bears in publishing than there are on Wall St. This isn’t new to the current recession; as Ken Auletta recently noted in the New Yorker, “publishing exists in a continual state of forecasting its own demise.” Now add to that traditional gloomy propensity today’s market conditions - a period when most industries are wrestling with digital disintermediation and even wholesale redefinitions of function. You get a complete meltdown.
Last week, Santa Clara hosted the first global augmented reality event - gathering the developers, creative directors and engineers from around the world who are driving nascent “augmentation” technology into our immediate reality. If you said “Say what?” to that sentence, you will appreciate the following. In the first keynote of the conference, WIRED’s contributing editor Bruce Sterling defined a singular challenge for the assembled that had very little to do with technological wizardry and everything to do with communication: create and shape the language of this brave new world.
When I shot the picture of this little guy lounging in his highchair watching cartoons, I thought it was adorable. And admittedly, I still do. But simultaneously it terrifies me, because it foreshadows a new type of digital divide that will be created by mobile devices and the introduction of augmented reality.
Marketers have tried targeting consumers in stores with QR codes and barcode scanners that so far have gotten limited traction. Now IBM is testing a new approach, dubbed augmented reality, which is a bit like applying search or a personalized version of Google Goggles to the world of physical store shelves.
Today at SXSW, Marvel announced a partnership with Autonomy’s Aurasma platform to lets users watch video trailers of books they see in stores, as well as 3D animation, recaps, and other augmented reality extras by holding their phones up to comics.
People who constantly reach into a pocket to check a smartphone for bits of information will soon have another option: a pair of Google-made glasses that will be able to stream information to the wearer’s eyeballs in real time.
Google is working with five brands—Disney, Buick, Diageo, T-Mobile and Delta Airlines—to extend some of their offline marketing to the mobile Web via its image recognition application.
Airports have traditionally been a prime target for advertisers (captive audience: check), but recent marketing efforts are turning airport real estate into a venue for a variety of more interactive customer experiences.
With tough economic times, consumers have become much more frugal with their spending. Because of this, shoppers are becoming much more educated and informed about products, shopping on a need rather than want basis.
We like ideas that tap into the potential of the edible city and anything that makes the experience more user friendly is a welcome bonus. Dutch transdisciplinary lab FoAM have released the Boskoi Android application that lets users map edible urban plants.
Clothes shoppers wanting to experience the 21st-century version of dress-up have until November to try on the new Macy's Magic Fitting Room in the retail chain's New York's Herald Square flagship store. Macy's calls the Magic Fitting Room the future of retail, and this does seem to be the case, as more retailers adopt augmented-reality solutions for clothing and shoes.
Forget about 3-D graphics: With technology like Sony’s PlayStation Move, your whole living room might become a videogame. At first blush, Sony’s new motion controller for PlayStation 3 seems like a straight-up rip-off of Nintendo’s Wii remote. It’s a one-handed controller with an accelerometer and a gyroscope that you can point and click at your TV screen or wave around like a tennis racket.
There's a memorable scene in the movie Minority Report where a man reads a futuristic newspaper with rich embedded multimedia updating live with breaking news. While we are a long way seeing anything like this in the hands of the general public, a German newspaper has taken a small step in that direction with the release of a special augmented reality (AR) edition of its Friday magazine.
“The leak in your home town” is an iPhone app that lets users see the BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill whenever they see a BP logo. A user simply launches the app and aims their iPhone’s camera at the nearest BP logo. What the user sees is one of the broken BP pipes coming out of the BP logo, and out of the pipe comes the oil, pluming upward. “This work mixes computer generated 3D graphics with the iPhone’s video camera to create an augmented reality. The user is able to see the computer generated 3D objects at specific locations in the real world. The 3D graphics create the broken BP pipe which comes out of the BP logo. “An important component of the project is that it uses BP’s corporate logo as a marker, to orient the computer-generated 3D graphics. Basically turning their own logo against them. This repurposing of corporate icons will offer future artists and activists a powerful means of expression which will be easily accessible to the masses and at the same time will be safe and nondestructive.”
At the Center for Future Storytelling, researchers envision how technology can give people more control over TV programs they encounter and stories they follow.
In the third millennium it’s getting harder than ever to stay in place. Who hasn’t seen a driver almost crash while talking on a cell phone? Who hasn’t noticed children in a park staring down at a game-boy instead of romping about? Who hasn’t been to a dinner party and caught someone sneaking a glance at his handheld under the table and sending a tweet about the first course before even finishing it? Each week, it seems, industry comes up with new gadgets that help us to jump out of our bodies and flash out there to everything under the sun that can be encoded by electrical signals, pulses of light and binary values. Few of these digital experiences would have registered before the 21st century and some have become widespread only in the past few years. We’re in the first stage of a transformation of our sense of place as momentous as that which occurred a couple of centuries ago, when products from smoke-stacked factories forged modern society.
Ah, digital. By now, we've supposedly all embraced it -- that vast frontier of untapped potential to interact in new, ever-more creative ways with the consumerscape. And yet, as I walked up to the entrance to my first Interactive One Show, I couldn't help viewing my agency-paid ticket as much of an obligation as I viewed the digital medium itself.
One of the projections many folks had for this year was the growth of mobile applications that could use browsers, cameras, GPS and compass built into the current generation of phones to layer data on the view from a phone’s camera. The so-called augmented reality this produces is something that is amazing to witness and will become standard fare soon.
Social shopping is something we've been seeing more and more of lately, including sites like Blippy and Estonian WhosRich.me. The latest spotting? Justbought.it, which adds geolocation and an augmented reality twist. Users of Canadian Justbought.it can take photos of their purchases, share them with their friends through Facebook and Twitter, and comment on the purchases others have made. Google Maps integration allows users to find local friends and deals, while a point system recognizes those who contribute most to the site. A free iPhone app is already available, with versions for Android and Blackberry coming soon. Perhaps most interesting of all, in fact, is that the Android version will include an augmented reality app that lets users walk into a store and see what others on the site have already purchased, the company says. Ultimately, Justbought.it hopes to forge partnerships with online retailers to enable tweets on the site whenever consumers buy something, according to a report on Mashable.
Augmented Reality (AR) is the next keyword wet dream for the online industry buzz word bingo enthusiasts. As social media becomes more ingrained in commercial planning and the excitement fades into practical solutions, it’s inevitable that the new kid on the block will start to make headlines. I think AR is an exciting development. However, behind the pomp that surrounds another buzz word, is there a commercial model that could make AR a practical tool in the e-commerce armoury?
Don't act too surprised if, some time in the next year, you meet someone who explains that their business card isn't just a card; it's an augmented reality business card. You can see a collection and, at visualcard.me, you can even design your own, by adding a special marker to your card, which, once put in front of a webcam linked to the internet, will show not only your contact details but also a video or sound clip. Or pretty much anything you want. It's not just business cards.
Online retail is nothing new, but now brick and mortar stores want to get in on the high-tech action. The New York Times has a disquieting look at new technologies that will make you shop 'til your signal drops. Take, for example, Norma Kamali's boutique in Manhattan, which recently implemented a system called ScanLife that allows shoppers to find more information on products from their smart phones. So far, so good. But ScanLife also lets shoppers buy those products from their phones, even when seen in passing in a display window, even when the store is closed. Impulse buying just got a whole lot more impulsive. Sure, ScanLife will certainly make physical shopping more convenient, but you have to wonder if it's going to make shopping too convenient.
For many marketers, considering mobile marketing year after year is the same story. The year starts off with lots of hype about it finally being the "year of mobile marketing" ... and after a month or two, the excitement dies down and reality hits. Most teams realize that they lack the experience or knowledge on what type of messages people will actually engage with and bow to the fear that only a fraction of the people they care about will respond to advertising or marketing in a mobile environment. Predictably, their attention turns elsewhere and mobile marketing initiatives stall. Is this year really going to be any different?
In a demo that drew gasps at TED2010, Blaise Aguera y Arcas demos new augmented-reality mapping technology from Microsoft.
User interfaces—the way we interact with our technologies—have evolved a lot over the years. From the original punch cards and printouts to monitors, mouses, and keyboards, all the way to the track pad, voice recognition, and interfaces designed to make it easier for the disabled to use computers, interfaces have progressed rapidly within the last few decades. But there’s still a long way to go and there are many possible directions that future interface designs could take. We’re already seeing some start to crop up and its exciting to think about how they’ll change our lives.
Put down that Nintendo DS and pick up your sneakers. That’s right -- your new Adidas sneakers. Log into adidas.com, hold your sneaker up to your webcam and a code implanted in the tongue of the shoe will enable a virtual 3-D world that can be navigated using the sneaker itself. Three games are being developed for an upcoming line of five men’s sneakers by xForm. One will be a skateboard game (the sneaker is the controller that navigates through virtual city alleys); the others are a Star Wars-like game, and a music-based game. The shoes with augmented reality codes will be priced between $65 and $95 and will be available in February.
As a company, Hallmark may have just celebrated its 100th anniversary, but it's determined not to be accused of living in the past. The Kansas City, Mo. card maker, which was founded on Jan. 10, 1910, has introduced a new line of cards that is designed to work with a computer's Web camera to show off an animated 3-D message via the computer. The cards feature what Hallmark is calling "augmented reality."
"Augmented reality" may sound like indecipherable technobabble, but the concept behind this technology is familiar to anyone who has seen any of the "Terminator" movies. In the sci-fi films, a cyborg is able to scan its surrounding area and superimpose data on what it sees, which allows it to get background information on humans. Now, after years of use in academic and industrial circles -- not to mention science fiction -- augmented reality is coming to consumers, who can expect to see it in their everyday lives in 2010.
Every address, every building, every business has a story to tell. Visualize your world that way: Look at a restaurant and think about all the data that already swirls around it — its menu, its reviews and ratings and tags (descriptive words), its recipes, its ingredients, its suppliers (and how far away they are, if you care about that sort of thing), its reservation openings, who has been there (according to social applications), who do we know who has been there, its health-department reports, its credit-card data (in aggregate, of course), pictures of its interior, pictures of its food, its wine list, the history of the location, its decibel rating, its news… And then think how we can annotate that with our own reviews, ratings, photos, videos, social-app check-ins and relationships, news, discussion, calendar entries, orders…. The same can be said of objects, brands — and people.
Technology is like a dog; each year of it seems like the equivalent of seven human years — at least when you get to the end of it and realize it’s only been 12 months since that now indispensable service first launched. We spent 2009 documenting technology’s disruption of how we live, entertain ourselves and do business. Looking back on the year from the comfortable perch of December, here are the seven most disruptive developments of 2009.
This weekend, I went to the local Lego store here in Silicon Valley (Hillsdale) to see a practical version of Augmented Reality. I was previously briefed by Metaio, the technology vendor that empowers the software for the Augmented Reality kiosks called, Digital Box. This store, outfitted with a kiosk with a screen and webcam gives instructions on how to show the contents of any box assembled in real time. Not all of the boxes were equipped (I tried the Star Wars line with no available) but was able to grab this lego kit of a bus, hold it in front of the kiosk. You can see that the contents ‘assembled’ on the screen, and came to life as a pre-set animation, as I rotated the box, the virtual animation would move with it, giving the illusion that the bus was actually moving over the box.
The action figures for James Cameron’s “Avatar” started appearing in stores last month. The movie won’t be out until December, but the toys have their own multimedia selling point: an “augmented reality” feature. This phrase has become one of the pervasive buzz concepts of 2009, and as is often true in such cases, it seems to describe a variety of manifestations from the practical to the pointless to the pie in the sky. Very broadly, augmented reality can be thought of as an inversion of the venerable “virtual reality” buzz concept. Instead of plunging us into a completely digital environment, augmented reality means placing digital things into the regular old world. Those things might be bits of information or renderings of imaginary objects. And they, of course, aren’t really in the real world at all — they just appear to be there if you filter your gaze through the proper screen.
You wouldn't immediately suspect that Yelp's iPhone app might be a gift bestowed upon us by a benevolent superhero from the future. Load it up and the program's in its Clark Kent garb -- a useful-enough guide to local restaurants, bars, and merchants. Then you notice a button labeled monocle in the right-hand corner. Hit it and the screen displays a live feed from the phone's camera, showing exactly what's in front of you -- with one big difference. Aim the camera at a local storefront and Yelp superimposes a star rating on the image. Use Monocle in a hot neighborhood, for instance, and point it at every restaurant for a quick appraisal of the best food in the area. Yelp's app is one of the first "augmented reality," or AR, programs to debut on the iPhone, and though it can be handy, it's most useful as a sign of what's to come.
The proliferation of mobile technology and the rapid integration of both access to the web and access to our social graph via our mobile device demands that we begin to design experiences that were previously thought of as "off line" to spread online. Digital technology, and the role that it plays in our lives, has evolved dramatically over the past 10 years. Think about how constantly we now rely on digital technology to communicate with each other, to get information, to entertain ourselves, to organize collective action, and to document our lives. Now think about how many of those experiences now take place within the context of your social graph, within the context of the aggregate of all of your digital relationships. Every digital experience we have now is connected to our digital relationships.
My colleague Anand and I think that augmented reality is going to be a big deal for businesses. What is it? It is the idea that locations, devices, even the human body will be "augmented" by linking and overlaying additional information on top of "regular" reality. Anand and I think augmented reality will change at least the following five things:
If you can't have a magazine e-reader that mimics print, you might as well have a print edition that mimics digital. Or tries to, anyhow. This seems to be the driving notion behind the December issue of Esquire, in which about half a dozen pages are enhanced with augmented reality features; hold them up to a Webcam, and the images on the screen come to life. Hold the cover up to a Webcam, and cover subject Robert Downey Jr. steps off the page in 3-D, offering a primer on Esquire's augmented reality issue while the cover copy flies off the cover behind him. Tilt the magazine and the on-screen animation moves in sync. The effect is triggered by a box, displayed prominently (and a bit jarringly) between Downey's legs on the cover that allows the computer to interact and communicate with the printed page. The effect, needless to say, is pretty cool if not a bit over-the-top.
Augmented Reality, or "AR," is one of the ideas buzzing around the advertising world these days. The premise is that consumers don't want to look at static ads any longer, so there are various ways to augment them with technology that makes them move, speak, or appear in 3-D. Unlike passive advertising, AR embeds interactivity that lets people engage with marketing content. Cool. Only that's not AR. It's just a fancy name for creating ads for the sake of creating ads. The industry would do well to avoid pursuing the sham.
It is hard to imagine that five years ago, neither YouTube, Facebook nor Twitter existed. But even then, as sites like Google, Amazon, Wikipedia and craigslist flourished, the characteristics common to successful second-generation Web businesses were becoming apparent: Their value was facilitated by software and created collectively by and for a community of connected users. These sites leveraged the Web not simply as a means to publish static documents but for the first time as a platform--which was significant in its generative properties as the personal computer was for desktop applications. The new sites also sparked a revolution in business, culture, society and, most recently, government.
Augmented Reality is certainly in it’s infancy, and we know that at best, is experimental. I’m new to this space but am watching, and learning from Robert Rice and Dave Elchoness to see how it develops. While a few years out, see the proposed Hype Cycle, let’s spend time thinking about what the future could hold. I’m in intake mode. Over the last few weeks, I’ve watched as many augmented reality youtube clips as possible, reading blog posts (as there are no real articles yet from mainstream) and talking to smart folks. What I’ve noticed? Many videos are folks excited about the toys –yet with little reference to how it impacts business. I’ve also been experimenting with Yelp’s monocle, which is sub-par at best, it’s really early days. My biggest challenge? I’m in the wrong country. The innovation and adoption with these tools will come in Europe and Asia –not the tethered American market.
Yesterday, Nokia released a well-produced video demonstrating what they apparently believe to be the future of augmented reality apps. If you haven't been keeping up with AR, it's just used to denote an information layer placed over what you see. And while AR will certainly be a part of all our realities in the next few years, Nokia has it all wrong.
What's still one of the most important consumer trends out there? Transparency. Of prices, of opinions, of standards. So let’s look at what’s new, happening, upcoming and important, including the inevitable countertrend. There’s no hiding ;-)
In 2008, the only advertisement any marketer could talk about was Cadbury's drumming gorilla. The advert was made for television but was also viewed millions of times on YouTube. Agencies were delirious at the crossover success to the video sharing site. Here, finally, was proof that traditional agencies could conquer the web with old-school marketing skills. Gorilla scooped the grand prix in film at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival. By June this year, Cannes was a very different festival. For a start, the Croisette - normally packed with partying ad men - was deserted as agencies stayed away to nurse their shrinking budgets. But in any event, rather than television adverts winning awards for online work as Gorilla had, it was the online campaigns that impressed the judges across every category.
If you haven’t yet heard about Augmented Reality or Web Squared, allow me to make a quick introduction. This is the next iteration of the Web and also desktop and mobile applications and is indicative of the future hybrid Web and device experience. And no, it’s not called Web 3.0.
Augmented Reality is a hot, hot topic at the moment (which is we we've written about it twice today), and promises to revolutionize how you seek local information from your smartphone. But in the years ahead, once it's gone mainstream, you'll begin to hear about the dangers of this augmented version of reality. Here are three obvious problems that we see on the horizon:
We recently described a lot of ways augmented reality (AR) is going to appear on a mobile device near you soon. But now it's here: The first "real" iPhone AR app has gone live in the iTunes App Store. It's specifically for Parisians. But it's arrived earlier than expected--weeks before Apple said it would be allowed. And by early, we mean it's arrived in the App Store by stealth, snuck in as an added-feature in an update to an existing app--Metro Paris Subway. It's unofficial because technically Apple's is not opening the doors to full AR until it releases the new 3.1 code for the iPhone, which is widely expected in September. This code will add in a few more hooks to make AR apps work in a fully-integrated way with the iPhone's video functions...but it seems that Metro Paris's developers PresseLite have found a way to get it all working pretty well with the existing iPhone 3.0 code.
You've heard a lot about Augmented Reality recently, but what is it--and why exactly should you care about the technology? We spoke with Maarten Lens-FitzGerald, one of the founders of Layar, an Amsterdam company that is leading the charge with their smartphone app, to gain insight.
We’re really just at the beginning of the era of “mobile search.” Even what we think of as “search” will be dramatically altered by innovations in mobile. In this first phase the transfer of what might be called the “query box” (and related links) into mobile is complete. In time, however, we many even come to see that image — the white box with the search button to the right — as a kind of metaphor for something more intangible (i.e., directed intent) that can be fulfilled in a variety of ways.
Best Buy got props on Sunday when its weekly supplement came equipped with a 3-D notebook computer -- that is, if you had a webcam and held the circular up to it, you'd see a 3-D image of a Toshiba laptop, thanks to the technology known as augmented reality.
Procter & Gamble is testing the waters for “augmented reality,” a form of digital technology that's driving a new campaign for Always Infinity. The packaged goods giant hopes to give consumers ways to interact with its ads like never before.
Until recently, augmented reality existed mainly in movies like The Minority Report and computer science labs at universities, where technologists grappled with comically clunky headgear. Now, however, several new Web and mobile applications are changing minds and helping to bring AR into the mainstream.
How advances in mobile and gaming signal what's next for this virtual meets real world technology.
What if you combined existing face recognition software with access to Facebook and other social network sites on a mobile device?
With the rollout of an "augmented-reality" app for Android phones, IBM is bringing state-of-the-art technology to the U.K.'s most traditional sporting event, the Wimbledon Tennis Championships. As the tournament kicks off on June 22, the crowds at the All England Lawn Tennis Club will be able to use an Android smartphone application specially developed to enhance the event.
One of the more important features of the new iPhone may be the least-widely heralded by the tech punditry: it has a compass. This matters not because now you'll always know which way is North with the iPhone, or even because you can make a quick-and-dirty metal detector with it. It matters because it finally opens up the iPhone to real augmented reality.
Augmented reality is the latest tech trick brands are deploying on their sites. Until now, however, it has been employed mostly in the service of creating cool 3-D brand experiences. Enter the U.S. Postal Service. The USPS is using the technology not to immerse consumers in a brand experience, but for a more prosaic purpose: to help them determine if objects will fit in shipping boxes.
In 2019, when you look back at the social media landscape ten years earlier, you might laugh at how hard you had to work. You had to type things into forms (ha! remember those?), type URLs in the address bar (how archaic!), and put up with irritating communications about irrelevant products. Social media in the future will be effortless and everywhere. Here’s a look at some of the new technologies in store for us over the next 10 years that will make our social (media) lives easier.
Remember Princess Leia's holographic message to Obi-Wan Kenobi? Madison Avenue does, and it's starting to make 3-D digital images part of its marketing arsenal.
If your information is being broadcast to everyone, you should at least control the content to the best of your ability. And with Squidder’s new Twitter Feed augmented reality T-Shirt, you can become a walking beacon for whatever you twit about. No longer just for your internet buddies, the shirt lets your thoughts pop out into the real world.