April 27th 2012
Augmented reality (AR) at its heart is quite a simple concept (and just one of many exciting topics we’ve explored in our lovingly crafted A to Z of b2b marketing – The b2b Zeitgeist.
Chances are you will have seen Google’s recent Project Glass video (in which a budding ukulele player wanders round New York wearing Geordi La Forge’s visor).
Despite the cloying sunset finale, even the most jaded amongst us ought to concede that having the internet streamed directly into your eyeballs is pretty amazing. It reminds us of a grounded version of the heads-up display in military aircraft, as seen in many action films. Think: receiving incoming video calls, rather than avoiding incoming missiles (depending on who’s calling!).
However, there remain many hurdles before this kind of technology reaches market, not least including a battery that lasts longer than a few hours without also breaking your neck. And the small question of style… Sunglasses manufacturer Oakley has filed numerous patents for similar visor technology, and could be a safer bet unless you’re a dedicated Trekky.
In the meantime, you’re probably already using AR, whether you realise it or not. One of the most common examples is Google Maps, in which you can overlay road and town information onto satellite imagery.
The wider use of augmented reality has really been kick-started by the app market. Layar is one such app which allows the user to view everything from tourist information to Government action plans, overlaid onto the real world as viewed through a smart phone camera.
At this stage, AR is predominantly consumer focused technology. But where does it fit in b2b marketing?
B2b use remains in its infancy, but we predict augmented reality will increase in usage throughout this year and hereon in. A promising area is in events, where AR technology reinforces the importance of mobile marketing. Consider potential customers navigating directly to your stand via a real time map, or your speakers’ vital statistics being overlaid onto mobile screens pointed at the podium.
However, you shouldn’t need a special visor to navigate the hype. Remember that, as with any marketing techniques, AR technology must be closely linked to your business objectives. Caution is advised. Monitor the market and balance the potential ‘wow’ factor with the costs and what you can expect to receive in return.
That said, seeing as we’re in an aspirational mood, we’ve dreamt up a few more AR applications that you could deploy in b2b…
• As your client or customer walks through your office entrance, they are picked up by your Augmented Reality software using facial recognition and your computer’s webcam. On top of a live video feed, the software overlays a status update on your latest project, a personalised welcome note outlining an agenda for your meeting and even a gentle reminder about an outstanding invoice maybe?
• Your reseller is running out of stock of one of your products.
Using your mobile app, he scans a QR code and it displays how much stock is left in your warehouse and an estimated earliest delivery time. Relieved, he clicks to place an order and returns to his customer to take their order.
Augment your reality today!
For a guide to the marketing techniques and technology of the moment, download a free copy of the b2b Zeitgeist.