Entries in augmented reality (5)


We know where you live.

Location based apps have been much covered by the media of late. So it was with great interest that a recent Forrester research paper appears to have been used by sections of the media to play down the importance of location based services (LBS)

 I am one of those who takes the opposing view.

  • Location based apps, few people currently using them but;
  • Will be a key media channel for personalised marketing because;
  • 64% of UK pop has a social media profile of which a quarter access via there mobile
  • Hugely important for the development of augmented reality
  • Key for brands to experiment and understand now

I think location based apps are REALLY important. I think brands that get into and understand LBS now will have a clear march on those that don’t. The best analogy I found was looking at the stats on Facebook take up. The early days of Facebook was dominated by a manly male, degree educated, slightly geeky audience. Currently the users of LBS services like Foursquare fall directly into this category.

Most services are predominantly American like; Foursquare, Gowalla, MyTown, Brightkite, Loopt Foursquare as I said has a fair amount of UK users.

Stickybits I have written about before. Brilliant idea, waiting for a brand to have fun with it.

The technology of LBS services is not perfect (yet) only a few apps are available (yet) and only a few people in London, let alone the UK use it (yet) But thundering over the horizon is the prospect of a Facebook embedded location aware service that would reward users with points/status/prizes. Once launched this would see an avalanche of brands attempting, without really understanding, location based marketing.

The current small, London based audience, for LBS offers brands an amazing test bed of consumers eager to try out such functionality. What better way to hone the techniques of LBS and evaluate its effectiveness? Rather than going for broke in a very public way on mass-market platform like Facebook.

There are the beginnings of some pretty smart analysis tools like Perspectives from Awareness because the data is so rich I would expect many more, graphically gorgeous tools to emerge.

LBS offers international brands opportunities for loyalty schemes to directly migrate to peoples mobiles, but there is so much more to LBS than a Nectar card on steroids

LBS can deliver fun and information for consumers plus genuine relevant engagement for brands. What I am waiting for is my mobile to spring into life and do the following, simply by the geo-position of where I am standing

While in bar A being offered a drink by bar B due to crowds where I am. Plus because I have a loyalty bonus at bar C the offer relates to a drink I like. Then a taxi company offering a deal at closing time to take me to a particular club, which I had chosen to go to by the number and type of people already there. (also I’d checked the musical tastes of those people) When at the club being offered a discounted entry because I had been to a rival previously.

Then again, simply in a new restaurant being able to see what everyone else has ordered and what other restaurants they’ve been to before.


A year of change, no more paper POS

There is alot to get excited about in 2010. Leaving aside the forthcoming: iSlate, Winter Olympics, General Election and World Cup. The world of marketing communications is facing so many cool opportunities.

Take booze (if the last two weeks were not enough) iPhone apps are showing the way to a whole new way of communicating the subject. With permission based services, pretty soon most drinkers will be able to be spoken to at point of purchase, whether ontrade or off. I keep banging about augmented reality, the over laying of digital information with real world locations. But this and other developments in location based services will change everything by 2012.

The trick is for brands to offer consumers real value and not rush into AR or Apps just because its new. The Stella Artois bar finder is a good example of a top idea rushed out far too soon. Some where between the richness of content in Diageo's malt matcher crossed with the AR capabilities of William Grants Spirit Shelf would be very neat. Especially if you could add social functionalty like a twitter finder or bar capacity into the mix. The app market changes by the day so all links to itunes/blackberry/Nokia app stores.

What's intriguing is once a consumer starts using the application and agreeing to hear and see what a brand has to say (in exchange for further content) Thats when paper POS really becomes redundant. I really like the Smirnoff backed Time Out guide to London as an example of the early days of this technique. 

For the drinks industry with all its legal and social issues. These new channels offer real detailed segmentation. The fact the NHS have a rather neat consumption tracker app is also a sign this channel will be key.


Another bit on Augmented Reality

I gave a series of talks about augmented reality just before Christmas. The BBC have just published a neat round up of a few coming innovations in this area.  The key point in all this talk of a brave new world of AR tech is that ownership of devices that can handle AR is still very small and wont break the 50% barrier untill well into 2011. The forthcoming iSlate from Apple and GPS enable digital cameras will broaden the base of users away from just phones. That said any brand owner not taking note of these developments is being very foolish.

"...AR is a technology that allows data from the web to be overlaid on a view of the physical world.

Although a relatively small sector at the moment, analyst firm Juniper Research predicts that AR will generate incomes of $732m (£653m) by 2014..." - Jane Wakefield BBC

I still feel that creatively we are only just scratching the surface of what AR can really do. There is a real challenge to agencies and brands alike to fully come to terms with the concept of virtual and real worlds overlaying each other.


Cut price iPhone in exchange for watching ads?

Could a cut-price iPhone be about to appear? There is a new patent with Steve Jobs name on from Apple that talks of an invention for viewing ads on mobile devices, (seen on Slashdot) where the device locks until the ad has been viewed, it includes a 'process' where by the viewer must verify their presence before continuing normal use, i.e. you can't walk away and make a cup of tea. See full patent HERE*.

I wonder if this is an Apple version of the Blyk concept of free mobiles for teenagers in exchange for taking part in research and viewing ads. Apple have previous with education aimed devices.

If this was linked say to the new Apple netbrowser/tablet/mega iphone  that's widely rumoured to appear in 2010 all the more interesting. The app store trend and the beginnings of an Augmented Reality advertising market does mean a rethink for the models of revenue generation across mobile devices. Has Apple jumped the gun by building in such capabilities to its new 2010 products?

** = Found via:Gene Quinn
Patent Attorney & IPWatchdog Founder


This is gonna be huge

Augmented Reality (AR) applications launch on the iPhone.

While I have spent years getting excited by the possibilities of mobile apps like semapedia, (unlike most of my clients, who dispite my best efforts, passed on the opportunities). Now with the launch of a raft of genuine AR apps Like this from DiscoverAnywhere there appears to be a real case for commercial use. While it is true the actual audience of iPhone & Android users is really small compared with total universe of mobile (cell) phones, in time this should be the standard for 'whats that?' questions in the street. The answer being you aim your phone at the object and heh presto the phone overlays a label telling price, location, availability or simply its name.

Very interesting that Amazons tech division A9 have brought Snaptell, which basically puts Amazons prices and availability information over the top of any item you see in a shop, (currently only works in the US)

Like most people I often emerge from a station and ponder where is? (the nearest bar) having an interactive live map to overlay reality is a fantastic bit of black magic to delight. This last bit, is in my opinion, the key to any new techs ability to succeed, is it a joy to use and do you want to tell you mates about it?

Just look at the footage below of the yelp.com trial AR feature, yes you really do have to shake the phone three times for it to show the hidden button, how charming is that? -there is also a neat London Bus AR demo HERE from Presselite. The Next Web has a bit about a live tweeter layer which could see even more tourists actually being hit by buses (while tweeting), the guys at Presslite had us tracking.