And are we ready to embrace it?
“Imagine that you could simply put on a helmet and know how to do any job in the world”
This phrase has stuck with me ever since I attended the Web Summit in Dublin last November.
With Augmented Reality (AR) we are faced with a new reality. A reality where many of the things we consider must haves today will become obsolete.
Why buy a TV-screen when your entire room can be the TV? Why buy computers, when all you really need is a place to sit and a pair of glasses or lenses?
The Internet of Things is on it’s way to becoming the Internet of Less Things, and we are on our way towards the next industrial (r)evolution and possible the next economical crisis, as many of today’s major industries are in the business of building and selling hardware that will no longer be in demand come the rise of AR.
The tech industry wont be the only industry affected by AR so will the advertising industry, the music industry, the gaming industry and many others.
The future of social media is also moving towards VR and AR, as social networks are working on letting you enter into ‘Their world’ as an active participant instead of just viewing from a screen.
AR will connect online with offline in a way that is bound to challenge and change our reality, the way we communicate, interact, market and sell.
What is Augmented Reality?
While many have had some kind of experience with VR, where we place ourselves inside a virtual world, not many have experienced AR – yet.
Both VR and AR will turn [more] mainstream within the next few years. AR will however cause the biggest waves of all. With next generation wearable’s you will be able to bring a virtual object into your own physical reality. This could be a mobile keyboard on your arm, a GPS arrow on the street or – as we know it from Star Trek – a projection of the person you’re having a long distance call with.
Businesses will use the technology to leverage the human possibilities in ways we can hardly imagine today. Going forward, there’ll no longer be a need for specialized and trained personal – cause much like in The Matrix – you’ll be able to learn new languages and skills in a matter of minutes. The Helmet in the first visual is already in production, and will be used within the space, the mining and the oil industries. Now all of the employees using this helmet can be surgeons in case of a medical emergency.
The gaming industry has also picked up on this and it won’t be long till we can play the most amazing games on our very own streets. Who wouldn’t enjoy chasing Pokémon’s in real life, or sort of anyway.
The real life sensation is exactly what makes AR so strong. All the experiences you have, happen in your own world, in your real life. From a psychological standpoint this will make the experiences very powerful and memorable. The experiences are not just games you played, content you viewed or stories you were told, the experiences you had actually happened.
Moving Towards Experiences, Added Service and Gamification
Much of today’s marketing and communication is based on storytelling instead of real life experiences. You tell stories that make your audience able to imagine your product in their lives at some given moment in time. With the growth of AR, we will have the opportunity of going way beyond the storytelling, by creating digital experiences that feels real. Because many will do so, the rise of AR will leave us no choice but to move towards creating these AR experiences and adding that extra real time service.
Imagine for a moment, that instead of telling your brand story, you were able to actually place your product directly in the lives of your audience at the exact moment they needed it.
I know this isn’t doable for every product (yet) but take IKEA for example – what if, instead of planning what new furniture you wanted to buy by placing them on a floor plan in some app, you could actually place them in the very room they are meant to be in.
Taking the furniture browsing experience out of the web and out of the warehouse, and placing them in the home of the shoppers would take the concept of online shopping to an entire new level.
Even choosing the colors for your walls can be a fun experience with AR.
Multiple Realities and Endless Possibilities
It is only our imagination that sets the limit for what experiences we can provide. Brands will be able to gamify the sales funnel in ways they haven’t even considered yet.
Imagine seeing a movie at the cinema wearing AR glasses enabling the movie to fill up the entire room, or having an appointment with your hologram doctor or financial advisor in the comfort of your own living room. This could be reality very soon.
How about buying a vacation by checking out the hotel and the sunny beach from home or going sightseeing as historic scenes resurrects around you as you walk through the city.
You could also have at home fashion shows or concerts – specially designed for your taste and needs.
Or how about real time AR treasure hunts, leading you to the shop, where you get your prize.
Books and toys with added AR for bringing the experience to life or food products that comes with your own personal chef to guide you through a recipe.
AR can even become the product on it’s own. I can’t help wondering when we will be able to paint using only air and our imagination or build Lego’s without having the actual building blocks. I know my kids would love making the whole apartment in to their personal build fortress and I would kind of like, not having to clean it up, when they’ve finished playing.
Maybe I’m way of but I’m imagining a great deal of creative and cool experiences as well as some really sophisticated AR product placement.
What kind of user experiences do you see brands creating with AR? Please share your thoughts in the comments.