As said by Wayne Dyer “If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.” Augmented reality, when graphics or the normal computer displays are brought into the real world which gives an illusion of its existence to the environment, such technology is known as augmented reality (AR). Don’t you think; it sounds exciting that AR just not add graphics, sounds and haptic feedback but also sense and smell to that Virtual reality world.
Augmented reality has transformed how consumer try out or buy products. Companies like Ray-Ban, IKEA, Cover Girl, L’Oréal have already successfully implemented AR. Consumers can now try any cosmetic product, shades or sunglasses on their face and experiment with their looks.
AR can substitute many existing consumer devices. More importantly, it achieves this with higher flexibility. For example, a television set which cost around $1000 now, will cost only $200- $300 with AR HUD. Yet, AR HUD provides better television viewing experience. It also offers functionality which no existing device can provide. Mobile devices can integrate AR without a lot of effort. Marketers can extract significant information and consumers can engage with campaigns, branded collateral, packaging, and product.
Augmented reality is similar to virtual reality and with a head mounted display (HMD) or a pair of 3D glasses, the user can view a series of images. In the same way as virtual reality glasses, Augmented reality glasses are worn that enable the users to interact with images for an enhanced overall experience.
For a diversified user experiences, Augmented Reality tools can be categorized in three main categories mentioned below :
- An ‘Augment’ App, as an Augmented Reality 3D viewer, allows users to place life-size 3D models with or without using trackers in their environment.
- Users can improve their camera feed with contextual information by using Augmented Reality browsers. i.e. users can point their mobile device at a building to display its estimated value or history.
- Users can create immersive gaming experiences with Augmented Reality games, such as games shooting with zombies while walking in their own bedroom!
Globally, in the next five years, Augmented reality has been predicted as one of the fastest-moving markets. An Augmented reality Advertising App known as ‘Blipper’ itself has over 50 million global users. If we compare that figure to the growing social services and tools i.e. Pinterest (70 million) and Vine (40 million), it can be concluded that AR is all set to become a permanent fixture in the landscape of digital marketing.
Within the next decade, it would be fascinating to see, mobile devices and automobiles fully infused with Augmented reality. It may utilize navigation to allow visuals moving from the navigation screen on a car to an overlay on a windshield that allows the driver to keep the focus on driving rather than glancing back and forth. In the last few years, Augmented reality marketing just like other nascent marketing mediums, has originated very quickly, moving from web to mobile. Since the last few years till 2012, a number of web-based AR experiences are integrated with websites and interactive ads. After 2012, it is shifted to mobile-based AR experiences and a few of which are used to interact with other platforms like-print. As predicted by ‘Szymczyk’, we will likely to see in the future more about a home display and wearable technology leveraging AR. Also, AR will be going to become more ubiquitous in everyday life and across advertising as well. There could be interactive or virtual mirrors in-a retail store. There might be more enhanced visualizations for mapping or directions for mobile devices. and moreover, we’ll likely to see AR opportunities and advertisements all around, once the wearable technology segment matures. So, it will be pretty exciting for marketers about the possibilities that AR offers.
Although it does have some limitations like GPS is only accurate within the range of 30 feet i.e. 9 meters and doesn’t work in the indoors as well. Other than these even your connectivity matters it won’t work if it’s not 3G network at least and the quality of your camera does effect the technology when it comes to quality. Another major disadvantage is the existing mobile devices are still not powerful enough to process the required amount of data in real‐time whereas to run at interactive frame rates is (15‐30 frames per second). There are also some privacy concerns when it comes to image recognition software coupled with AR.
Despite of these few limitations; the future of augmented reality seems really bright and prospective. Like any other evolving technology, AR also faces some obstacles regarding technical issues, to social and ethical problems to financial problem. Where none of the issues seems overwhelming. With the time, all the technical issues will be resolved and AR will definitely showcase something that would fill the gaps between social and ethical issues too. Toward the end, what do you think about this cool technology? Whether it work or it will fail? What are your opinions about it?