7 Insights Regarding Augmented Reality
When talking about AR (Augmented Reality) it is inevitable that the question of ROI will arise. ROI stands for return on investment. This is the relatively simple equation (ROI=Gain from investment minus Cost of investment divided by Cost of investment.) Now I am sure that there are many business investments that fit comfortably in the world of ROI calculations; augmented reality is probably not going to be one of them anytime soon. The primary reason for this is the infancy of mass AR. So what does a business need to know about Augmented Reality? The following is a list of insightful points to consider when contemplating an AR campaign.
1. Augmented reality is the disruptive child of the Internet. As an AR developer there is much discussion about disruptive innovation. This is an innovation that creates a new market that disrupts an existing market. Businesses in the 90s had no interest or understanding of webpages. They already had an established print and commercial advertising campaign but had no grasp of the speed at which the internet was emerging so they couldn't see the market. It would take many years before Internet advertising became a necessity. When I would discuss web technologies with my peers in college, the typical response would be, “Cool... I don't get it.” Now we have over 2 billion Internet users worldwide.
2. Augmented reality is versatile to a fault. I have been in technology for over 20 years; from programming to network design and administration. I decided in 2003 to expand my business into home controls. I went to training in Tampa and Miami and was excited about, not only, the technology but the convenience that the technology would bring. I soon realized that explaining the application of the technology was more difficult than I anticipated. Because of the versatility of a great product I would watch clients slowly price themselves out of a system. Augmented reality sometimes reminds me of that situation. So having a focused goal, and budget, for your augmented reality campaign is paramount.
3. Focused AR versus “AR-bage.” Soon the world will be introduced to AR-bage. AR-bage is a term I created for all the grey boxes that will be floating around in the AR world. Many established databases such as eBay and craigslist are moving into the world of AR. When you view their channels you will see hundreds of floating grey markers. These markers show the location of items that are currently being sold on their sites. This is interesting to see but really complicates things for the end-user. Just because your business is listed on a grey marker does not mean that you have engaged or enhanced your customer's experience. So keep in mind that your AR campaign should be designed to help your business stand out.
4. AR can be used to enhance existing print and media materials. There is nothing special about the materials used to create an AR print campaign. Similarly there's nothing special needed for a location-based POI (Points of Interest) listing. Often I will create a project from existing media I find on YouTube, Google etc. Typically businesses have paid considerable money to develop these materials and are interested in expanding their lifecycle. AR can be used to enhance the existing advertising in your arsenal
5. Engaging your customers with AR. We are seeing the emergence of a new consumer base that has been raised with smart phones. These consumers are engaged; both socially and commercially. It is widely known that the longer a customer sees your product, the more likely they are to remember it. With augmented reality the customer can delve into the details of a product while holding it, e.g. features of a smartphone. This gives an advantage to the business by making the product the pitch-man. With integrated e-commerce, the phone, in this example, could literally sell itself on site.
6. M2S (Mobile to Social.) The modern consumer is extremely adept at sharing information via social networks. This ability is not isolated to the younger generations. More and more mature consumers are buying and sharing online. In the previous example of the phone, the consumer could touch, research and buy the phone then share their experience all within one AR program.
7. The future of AR. Augmented Reality and technologies, such as Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) and Google Glass, will be adapted quickly. These technologies, in tandem, will create highly targeted advertising. Uninformed mass advertising will be replaced with sophisticated, targeted and personalized “Connections.” Responsible businesses will be rewarded with loyal customers who are willing to share that connection with friends and family.