In 2005 I tried on a pair of Sony augmented reality (AR) glasses. AR (augmented reality) technology was basic at that stage nonetheless I was mesmorized by the idea of activating 3-dimensional space with digital layer of information.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t look past the technological limitations of the day to imagine how this could transform our daily lives in the future.
Five years down the line and the state of affairs looks very different. AR technology has continued to accelerate and become more ubiquitous. The result, AR is now more accessible and useful especially when combined with mobile technologies.
The recipe is simple: combine a phone with a camera, GPS, digital compass, broadband connectivity and accelerometer and you have access to another dimension of information. We have seen this blend used successfully especially with location based services like Layar.
As AR become more mainstream the question we need to ask is, ’so what?’. Isn’t this just another hyped-up technology? Besides being amazingly cool how does it save me time and money, and help build my brand. Using AR technology as a business tool should always be led by the concept. After all it’s about creating and sustaining profitable relationships with your customer.
One company making use of augmented reality successfully is ZipRealty in the USA. ZipRealty combine the augmented reality capabilities of devices like iPhone with the physical experience of searching for houses. What makes this AR experience good is that mobile phones are well suited for searching houses when people are out and about. ZipRealty created an app that add value to potential buyers’ home finding experience. The app delivers live information to you by pointing your camera phone at the property. This includes relevant information like interior and exterior photos, value and size projections; and neighboring properties.
AR can be combined with your brand message to create powerful real world interaction. There is no doubt that Augmented Reality can be seen as ‘the new view’ similar to Google maps in 2005. There is still much hype around it but the technology is getting better and better. It might take a while before we see the best of it but I believe that AR will significantly impact our lives particularly when combined with mobile technologies.