Augmented reality set to blast off

Augmented reality set to blast offFor over a year now, the Lab has displayed AR or Augmented Reality technology on a fixed platform in our DOOH room. However, AR is rapidly moving its way beyond a fix platform.  Location-based social networking site Brightkite recently entered into a partnership with Dutch startup SPRXmobile to integrate the Layar augmented reality features into its solution.  This solution leverages Location-based social networking, GPS, camera and compass phone functions to overlay 3D location-based information on the screen in real time. Called Layar, it’s their browser designed to be used on smart phones and give users the chance to point and experience. As the Lab’s resident “car guy” I couldn’t help but think about Intel’s progressive in-car efforts and their drive to create rear-seat entertainment/navigation architectures, along with LBS.

Brands however could really move AR forward through sponsorship initiatives. 

Imagine a hotel chain using AR to show potential clients what awaits them: How many times have you logged on to a hotel site to see what the rooms look like only to get there and realize the pictures are outdated? Perhaps a collective of hotels and local area POI’s can work together and created bundled AR ecosystems that will help drive traffic and dollars to the collective.  For example, the hardest part of traveling for me is not knowing what awaits me.  I spend a great amount of time just trying to get my bearings. Could AR reduce that for me?  What about golfers or parks?  A golf chain or club manufacturer could sponsor AR golf course assets, tie them in with GPS (course and store locations) and run a promo.

I headed to Topeka Kansas a few years back for the SCCA Runoffs and stumbled around trying to distill the best places to go based on a AAA narrative.  Imagine being able to see the POI’s through AR, in my car, sponsored by a local gas station chain.  Not only would it help me find where to go, but where I could get gas.

What I am suggesting is to think about LBS Social, AR and/or Telematics/Infotainment platforms as catalysts to create opportunity beyond their obvious utilitarian function. Rather than go it alone, brands should consider technology partnerships that compliment the core goal of getting consumers to your destination and/or tangential destination.