Augmented reality is not the same thing as virtual reality. While virtual reality is a completely fictional simulation, augmented reality is the “real-time use of information in the form of text, graphics, audio and other virtual enhancements integrated with real-world objects,” said Tuong Huy Nguyen, principal research analyst at Gartner.
Although the technology is still in its infancy, it has matured to the point where organizations can use it internally and externally to create its future use-cases. On October 30, I spoke on a panel at InsideAR – the largest augmented reality conference in Europe organized by Metaio, the leading AR company with over 40 percent market share – about the future of AR in enterprise from a marketing perspective. What I want to share with you is that the future is probably closer than you think.
Augmented reality has the potential to transform the experiences that as marketers, we strive to create, enhance and provide for our clients and their customers. AR does this by enabling new forms of visualization and interaction between brands and users – leveraging both the physical and digital elements in our lives. It can be a real conversation starter and engagement platform as we dive deeper into the digital age by delivering a new and enhanced form of storytelling.
What does this actually mean moving forward? Court Westcott of Commodore Partners predicts that within 5 years, 50 percent of all search queries will be speech or image-based. This will take content marketing to a whole new level when it comes to inspiring, motivating and developing relationships between brands and customers. From a more technical standpoint, it means that search queries in the future will demand more 3D context rather than flat information, resulting in the disruption of the search engine.
As marketers, we know that content means nothing without context – and that is where location comes into the picture. Perhaps the most compelling aspect about augmented reality is its ability to leverage the medium of space to enhance and deepen our connection to the world and people around us. Today, our ability to do this is limited by our reliance on screens and devices for information.
However, Ori Inbar, CEO of Augmentedreality.org, foresees that within the next 10 years, smart glasses will outsell smartphones — meaning that experience and interaction design will continue to evolve. This prediction coupled with Metaio’s pioneering invention of thermal touch interfaces (the thermal camera now comes on smartphone cases making it more feasible for consumers) means that the future of digital design is inextricably linked to the physical world around us. Screens and hand-held devices will become obsolete as any physical surface can now become interactive. The next challenge for designers will be to enhance and augment physical space to create an engaging and interactive story between brands and users.
There are three types of interactions that influence technology and its adoption: M2M (machine-to-machine or computer algorithms), M2P (machine-to-person) and P2P (person-to-person). For the most part, augmented reality (and arguably technology in general) has been primarily focused on M2M and M2P interactions, but now that enough significant advances have been made, the human-focus has entered the picture. AR enhances the user’s senses through digital instruments such as mobility, location, 3D content management, imaging and recognition and in doing so, sharpens the user’s decision-making ability, making this an incredibly powerful tool for marketers.
gyro, better than any other agency, understands that the shift towards human-centric design is not just a trend, but a truth. The future of this technology ultimately rests in the hands of storytellers to humanize it. The technologists who build it are no longer shaping AR, but by us, the marketers who use it to enliven the stories we craft for the brands we work with.
Callie Leone – Associate Global Strategist, gyro New York
As a strategist at gyro, Callie focuses on the intersection of humanity and technology to help brands create meaningful and interactive stories by leveraging mobility and augmented reality technologies. She has worked on brand strategy for Blackberry, the New York Post and several startups in the NYC tech ecosystem including Krossover, TheList and She’s the First. Callie was a panelist at InsideAR Munich 2014 discussing the future of augmented reality and enterprise. In her spare time, Callie serves as the strategy director at the non-profit LEO Zoological Conservation Center developing technology initiatives for wildlife conservation.