Posted by: brandextenders | March 9, 2018

19 Crimes & Augmented Reality

For millions of us, the first time we heard the term AR, or augmented reality, was the summer of 2016 when Pokémon Go launched. People all over the world were chasing Charmanders, Magikarps and Digletts, digital Pokémon creatures that appeared on smartphone screens as though they were real. With over 750 million downloads of the game, 65 million monthly active users and $1.2 billion in revenue to date, Pokémon Go has made AR cool.

So, exactly what is augmented reality? It’s easy to confuse virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) since they both share the word “reality.” VR is an imaginary digital world you insert yourself into, typically through a headset you wear. I wrote a blog about VR you can read here for a better understanding of how it differs from AR. In augmented reality, computer-generated images or content is overlaid onto real-world scenery, such as the creatures from Pokémon Go appearing on streets, using an app loaded on your smartphone or tablet.

Running around the country looking for bizarre creatures to capture on your phone is all well and fine, but what can AR do for us in the real world? First off, if you’ve got a smartphone, you have the major tool needed to consume AR. You don’t need one of those silly-looking (and expensive) headsets that give a lot of user’s vertigo and headaches. Download an app and you’re ready to go. But go where?

GPS AR Screenshot image courtesy of Mishor 3D

An AR heads-up display on your car’s windshield is coming

Applications for AR are growing exponentially and Global Market Insight predicts the AR market will be $165 billion by 2024. In cars, a company called WayRay has created a navigation system where directions can be overlaid on streets as you drive, along with speed, direction and other safety information. In medicine, doctors wearing AR headsets during surgery could track a patient’s vital stats or scan a patient’s body to locate veins, making it easier to insert needles for anesthesia or blood transfusions.

Would you agree the three most stressful words in a parent’s vocabulary are, “some assembly required?” What if you could use an app and augmented reality to show you how to put that toy, bicycle or even furniture together as you’re doing it? Ikea Place, an AR app built on Apple’s ARKit technology, allows you to scan a room in your home then place digital images of Ikea furniture, scaled to the size of the room, to see how they look. Warby Parker, a manufacturer of eyeglasses, is using new iPhone X 3-D sensors to measure your face and then shows you, through augmented reality, what various pairs of glasses will look like when you wear them.

AR in Advertising and Branding

Smart brands are finding ways to use AR in their branding and marketing to stand out and get people chatting about them on social media.

  • To see an eerily cool use of AR, pick up a bottle of the Australian wine, 19 Crimes. The name refers to an infamous set of 19 crimes in 18th century England that, if convicted of, resulted in prisoners being transported to Australia to become colonist once their prison time ended. Each of the labels on 19 Crimes features an old-time picture of one of the criminals and when you scan the label with their free app, the picture comes to life and tells you their story. Has this “gimmick” worked? As of last year, they’ve shipped over a million cases of wine and have grown by 60%. Of course, the wine has to be decent, but the AR experience keeps their spirits flowing and customers returning.


    The prisoners tell you their story on 19 Crimes wine

  • Cosmetic maker Charlotte Tilbury uses a “magic mirror” in their stores to showcase their makeup. A customer sits in front of one of these mirrors, the built-in AR app scans their face and shows them what they look like wearing the make-up, without physically putting anything on their face. Perhaps this is the mirror the evil queen in Snow White used when she asked who the fairest in the land was?
  • Carmaker Acura used Facebook Live, Twitter, YouTube and AR to showcase the performance of one of their new cars. Four social media influencers took to a racetrack in California to race one another “virtually” while fans cheered them on and played a role as their pit crew. Half-a-million people tuned in live while another three million watched the event after the streaming had ended.
  • Converse uses AR to let you try before you buy. Their app shows you what a pair of their shoes will look like when you wear them. Pick a shoe on their app, point it at your foot and voila, you see the shoe on your foot and you can buy the pair you like best, all through the app.

These are just a few ways edgy brands are using augmented reality and their product to help you make buying decisions. In a changing world where consumers are loyal to brands they believe in and find engaging, highlighting AR experiences on social media is the golden ticket for brands and chances are, we’re only at the beginning of a trend that will continue to grow.

Now, I need to find a Pokestop, grab some Pokeballs and catch me some Weedles and maybe even a Pikachu so I can get to level 40. Whew, I’m tired already!

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