Monday, 25 January 2010

Augmented Reality - Do you believe the hype?

I just thought I'd share an article I wrote at the end of last year for my agency's The Insight E-newsletter about Augmented Reality and whether brands should be buying into the hype in 2010. As usual feel free to share your thoughts, I'm always happy to hear and chat through any opinions out there similar or dissimilar to my own.

Augmented Reality - Do you believe the hype?

Augmented Reality (AR) is the term used to describe a live view of a physical real-world environment whose elements are merged with virtual computer-generated imagery, and was certainly a big talking point of 2009, especially in a media sense, where it seemed AR kicked things up a notch and stepped into the media limelight. In 2009 we saw Blink 182 playing inside crisp packets, Transformers fighting on DVD cases, and BMW's racing around our desks leaving a trail of paint behind them in their wake. What's more we finished the year by inviting AR into our homes for children to play with on the living room floor due to the release of the Playstation 3 EyePet, a Tamagotchi style computer game tipped as a Christmas 2009 smash.

Pic 1 - Playstation 3 EyePet

It certainly does appear like augmented reality is here to stay, and will become even more mass market as consumers get used to the idea of seeing and hearing about the technology, as well as more importantly being given a reason to interact with it (and come back for more). Giving the user a reason to interact is perhaps the most crucial piece of feedback most AR campaigns would have received last year, and although it is all well and good pushing AR campaigns upon consumers, to warrant the £25,000 to £60,000 production cost of most campaigns will on average occur, brands are going to need to work harder to achieve the PR and success that was perhaps easier to achieve in the first half of 2009.

2010 will be the year, I think, where AR will really find its place in mobile, and as we have seen in 2009 with the multitude for apps which are already using AR (such as Yelp, and Wikitude), it seems that AR has found an environment where a wider collective of users can experiment with the technology as well as spread the word easily among the smart phone community. We have already seen existing apps adding augment reality updates to their existing services, such as Urbanspoon, and TFL’s London Bus and Tube apps, and there are apps in development giving advertisers the opportunity to showcase events and offers within applications, allowing users to not only see and view reviews of venues, but purchase tickets or save coupons.

Pic 2 – Bionic Eye Application

Agencies specialised in the development of augmented reality also foresee POS as also being big in 2010, with consumers being able to view products before purchasing, and bringing something new to the shopping experience. We have already seen some impressive examples of this in the US with Lego offering children the chance to see their much anticipated toys come to life before purchasing.

So should you be using augmented reality this year? The truth is that even though the sceptics are saying it’s just a fad, and the bloggers are pleading for long term usability, there are still advertisers bucking all trends. What may seem like silly AR competitions are still grabbing attention, simple test budgets are still catching the early adopters eye, it seems that there are still a multitude of barriers to be broken with no right or wrong rules outside of the normal guidelines to early web fashions, and so if the idea fits, and well communicates the campaign objectives in a way which will offer something to the user, I’d say give it a go.

Related Posts:
Top 10 Augmented Reality Advertising Campaigns… so far
Top 10 Augmented Reality Advertising Campaigns… so far - PART 2


Bradley A Giddens said...

Great article. The gimmicky AR stuff out there is all hype - it's a new and exciting tech for sure, but when you consider the longevity and value proposition for the user, that hype starts to fade. But if you include a utility factor that the user can take and apply time and time again, then AR has the opportunity to change experiences in a similar manner the internet has and continues to do. Having said that, look at acrossair and the Augmented Reality apps they have and you tell me, is this hype or is it not.

Alex Smith said...

Thanks for the comment Bradley, I think you're right especially with use in apps or utility.

The acrossair is a really interest concept and hope that it is successful (especially if it comes to a stage when they are selling it to agencies for brand use). I think that these cannot help but initially suffer from the hype label, and feel that only time will tell if it is something more.

online pharmacy said...

I don't think that augmented reality it is at the level that people would wish to reach.