September 12, 2011
The new generation of AR apps
When we named Social Objects as one of our 100 Things to Watch in 2011, we cautioned brands that the experience of using augmented reality apps could become more engaging than the objects themselves. And while it seems that brands are still trying to determine how best to incorporate this nascent technology into meaningful marketing messages, there is a new generation of AR apps that could take things to the next level.
Apps such as Stiktu now allow consumers to use their smartphone to tag physical items with digital content, which can then be read by other app users. Consumers can add a geotag to notes using 3M’s Post-it PopNotes app and then make them available to others. At the same time, Layar Vision, from Dutch company Layar, like Google Goggles before it, allows users to point their smartphones at an object and get a search result list related to the object. Unlike Goggles, however, the Layar Vision app will also return video and other information specific to that item. When, say, a book cover is scanned and potential readers receive a bio of the author or the first few pages of the book, the app becomes a true marketing tool.
In this way, AR allows consumers to craft their own experiences with brands, while delivering a marketing message that is both relevant and engaging. As this technology continues to evolve, the next step will be coming up with creative ways of triggering the AR interaction. —Michael Koenka