What do you think of when you hear the words Augmented Reality?
Perhaps an avid gamer shooting “bad guys” or maybe the high profile examples like wild animals jumping out at shoppers in malls?
Maybe you just sigh, fed up with all the hyperbole you’ve heard about this technology, whose value doesn’t immediately seem apparent to your business, or your life, for that matter.
If you fall into the latter camp, you’re not alone. Up until now the hype and focus of the AR world has been squarely on the fantastical, rather than the practical, fuelled by app-happy games developers.
But the tide is turning, and developers are realising where this technology really adds value is not in a fictitious world, but in the real world, where it can potentially revolutionise and enhance the daily grind.
Think AR that helps us carry out DIY jobs in our houses, or entertain the kids, or perfect our golf swing from the comfort of our living room.
The automotive industry is leveraging AR technology to provide real utility for consumers.
For example, Hyundai’s new AR app which helps even the most mechanically-challenged driver maintain their car without needing to read the hefty manual.
Users simply download the ‘Virtual Guide’ app, point it at the part that needs attention, and easily access the relevant information.
Similarly, Audi has developed something called a Reality Editor Interface. It allows owners to carry out actions via smartphones, such as turning on the light in the car before they get in, or controlling the temperature within the car in advance of driving so it’s comfortable from the start of a trip.
OK, so you may not be entering the exciting world of a virtual Grand Theft Auto through these innovations, but they’re infinitely more useful and practical. And they’re also credible, connective ways to keep the conversation going with your customer – particularly pertinent in a market like automotive when consumers might only purchase once every few years.
Fashion and furniture brands are also getting in on the act because they know:
- Yes, AR has been hyped, but experts agree growth of this technology is inevitable and significant in 2016
- It is a versatile technology that can serve many needs – from product awareness, to demonstration, to conveying a sense of excitement, to improving customer service
- It takes a content marketing strategy to the next level of engagement if used wisely
- It gives marketers the opportunity to provide genuinely meaningful experiences
- It provides a fun way to visualize content in a new way and highlights a brand’s commitment to digital innovation
Playing the brand-hero role in the AR market today is not about shooting the “bad guys”. It’s about enabling those small actions which make a big difference to your customers’ lives, something all brands want.