The explosion in smartphone and tablet sales has challenged the imaginations of creatives to come up with marketing ideas tailored for this space. Along with location-based marketing, augmented reality (AR) applications, which allows the virtual world to be layered onto or interact with the real world, have really come into focus for many brands, from luxury companies to small businesses.
Marketers are trying to engage consumers with relevant content and interactive experiences making the most of the wow factor of this relatively new communication tools. The question is, can AR marketing manage to grow into something truly useful for both marketers and consumers or will its hype fizzle out like cheap champagne?
It has a lot of promise and it has a lot of teething problems, but Augmented Reality could be about to see the improvement that it needs to lift it out of the gimmicky blues.
For the past year or two of AR’s short life, the technology it uses to fix the virtual layer on the real world has been kind of dodgy.
There have been two ways of doing it: geolocation, relying on GPS which notoriously has a 10 meter error margin; or image recognition – nice but usually has to be paired with a graphic (a QR code or suchlike).
A Swedish start up 13th Lab has come up with a third way, which cunningly combines both of the above – making the virtual layer much more intelligent and sensitive to the surrounding world.
NASA apparently use the technology called SLAM to control robots and 13th Lab have got the system down to something they can put on an iPad app.
They’ve built a little game with the technology and it’s called Ball Invasion (iTunes). Video below. It’s built for an iPad 2 too – a natural home for AR – having a large screen and big battery. This could be taken a lot further though. Watch this space!