Augmented reality is clearly the buzz word of 2010. There were not too many bloggers who hadn't identified augmented reality as a top subject in their trend lists of 2010 and there is a simple reason for it - it is (or will be) the world-changing trend.
I've been browsing through the case studies and examples of augmented reality and it looks really amazing - bands playing live on you PC screen, journals and even buildings interacting with you. I completely agree with Adam Broitman that at the moment augmented reality is all about having fun trying the new technology, but it will be so much more in the future. If the technology like LED Contact Lens will take off it just hard to imagine what can be done, literally, the sky is the limit. It will simplify our lives and will facilitate decision making process process by reducing the time dedicated to information search or looking for alternatives. It will completely change our personal life's as eventually this technology will become as the second brain where all the information will be stored in your personal server about the important objects from your everyday lives.. i.e. can you imagine wearing your Led lenses, you just take a quick look at you refrigerator and you already know what is in it without even opening it or browsing through the shop and not only getting additional information about the products but comparing the prices in the real time? Sound's quite exciting and the best part of it that the technology is almost there. It just takes my breath away how much I'm going to love the world we will live in that I'm jealous for myself already. But what will it mean for marketers?
Brand communities and augmented reality
It will definitely be a game changer - Google's is already trying to integrate real time ads on its "Street view" which will replace the old ads on the system. But at the moment, speaking about the subject we are concentrating on the technological development of augmented reality not thinking enough about social aspects of the technology, which I believe will be the key for branded communications. Almost 5 years ago, I came across this concept called branded learning which have never gained much popularity because the media channels couldn't deliver the social experience and messages as well as they can now (mainly because of the social media power ) But the augmented reality is about to change that. The art of connecting your brand with your brand community through augmented reality can be the next big communication challenge for your company. Augmented reality will create great opportunities for story telling, socializing and even greater personalization of the brand by providing that additional information in the real time and connecting your brand with your consumers through learning can be the one of the answers for you. Social media will facilitate this process enormously. How? Imagine this: You are traveling around the Europe and you're visiting some famous building which you are not really familiar with, you just point your phone at it and here you go you have all the info you need plus you can see the other people who are visiting the place by reading their tweets, reviews or recommendations what else you should visit in the town. Even better example would be going to the shopping mall and getting real time recommendations from the customers, information about sales and trending products or competing for discounts in live promotions with other brand community members.
When you really embrace the idea of augmented reality, it's just seems so clear what amazing opportunities it can bring on to the table: I was thinking about my last client the diamond's e-shop and imagine that you could create the technology that you could embed some sort of really small code into engagement ring and whenever you feel lonely you just point it to your camera and you can see your engagement video or your wedding pictures on your phone, TV or PC screen , wouldn't it be cool? I guess what I'm really saying is that this technology can carry not only additional information but an emotion with it and it can really make the things even more personal and that's where all the branding begins - creating and building emotions. We will see, won't we?
If you are really interested in augmented reality and want to find out what it is all about here is the list of TOP recent articles and videos related to the subject:
Q&A: Adam Broitman on augmented reality marketing (eConsultancy)
16 Top Augmented Reality Business Models (Personalize media)
How Will "Augmented Reality" Affect Your Business? (Harvard Business Review)
Augmented Reality: A New World for Advertising (Boss Creative)