What is Augmented Reality?


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A topline look at Augmented Reality. Why should brands be getting ready now and why 2011 will be the killer year for mobile AR advertising. We have a whole bunch of more detailed stuff on this. We are very excited by what could be achieved in the coming year, AR is a whole new channel with little or no rules. philip@t7flondon.co.uk

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What is Augmented Reality?

  1. 1. Today we have come not to sell you something but to share. We have become really excited by a new form of communication, called Augmented Reality or AR for short. The ability to see digital information in the real world 1 But first a simple question Anyone know what Augmented Reality actually means? Well the closest we found to an official description is this, from Wikipedia of course! ( Not fairies dancing in your hand ) 2
  2. 2. But I do prefer this from tech writer Stan Schroeder 3 We really believe there can be genuine added value for brands. You only have to see these early products to feel excited. This is the ʻNearest metroʼ iPhone app. To most people this is black magic - fairies dancing in your hand. But once excepted (internet listings over real world objects) you just think but thats logical 4
  3. 3. This is a new technique for linking the web to the real world, that actually works! 5 What we are doing today is giving you a top line view as to why we are so excited by what is going on. We are going to look at a very short historical context of why AR will come of age in 2010. We have a few top-line case histories from the likes of Mini, General Electric and erm Eminem We are going to explain our view as to the timeline of mass market up take and acceptance (parallels with Facebook and Twitter behavioural change) We have some thoughts on why we think itʼs important for brands to have a strategy or at the very least an opinion now. And finally the fun bit. What could Ceuta be doing with AR now? 6
  4. 4. So when did AR first come to the publicʼs attention? Along with many new technological ideas we got our first view via Hollywood. But the real beginnings of AR were at Boeing two years earlier. 7 Tom Caudell is credited as coining the phrase 'Augmented Reality' when at Boeing. He applied the term to a head-mounted digital display that guided workers through assembling electrical wires in aircrafts. AR development remained hampered by human inability to physically carry enough kit around to make it work. 8
  5. 5. In 2004 Mathias Möhring presented the first system for tracking 3D markers on a mobile phone, The Augmented Reality Kitchen, from researchers at MIT. The thought of rebuilding every kitchen appliance to accept AR was a daunting prospect. Whereas adapting a platform like a mobile phone was a much easier option. 9 Sure enough it was the flash suits at Saatchi's who worked out how to make AR work for consumers. HIT Lab NZ and Saatchi & Saatchi deliver the world's first mobile phone based AR advertising application for the Wellington Zoo. So this idea of pointing your phone at a symbol and a virtual graphic appearing was set. According to a Morgan Stanley study 91% of people have their phone within arms reach 24 x 7.A Unisys study also found that it takes on average 26 hours to report a lost wallet but only 68 minutes for a phone. 10
  6. 6. As so many commentators have said “The future of the internet is mobile”. Coverage and battery power are technical issues that will be fixed We have been banging on about the opportunities of semapedia (a mobile phone readable barcode to open a web page) for ages, but in truth the technology of the access point (most peopleʼs phones) were not up to the job. 11 Suddenly weʼve moved from quite an awkward point, click, wait, and wait some more for text internet to full on live 3D augmented reality we saw at the beginning of this talk. 12
  7. 7. Virtual reality used to be technology's Holy Grail. It let you create new worlds where you can steal cars, date hot babes and win wars. From The Sims to Second Life and the brands that jumped in VR looked so easy. In contrast, augmented reality - was the boring sub-technology confined to sports footage replays and technical engineering. 13 And then phones became repositories of all manner of interesting technologies, Cameras, GPS, Wi Fi, compasses and faster processing power. Mash it all together and wooah geek heaven, and, they get to go outdoors this time. As we have said phones have got smarter than the users, something has to be done with all that unused power. Eric Schmidt, Google's Chief Exec said ".. This new generation of phones have so much power in them, so many activities, they've got so much information on them that it is the defining new category for our industry..." Microsoft predicts that in a few years smartphones will make up 30% of the volume and more than 50% of the value of the mobile phone market. Download/Look at maps for directions : 17.6% Searched internet for local info : 15.6% Searched internet for non-local info : 14.3% Search for movie/entertainment info : 13.7% Connect to a Social Network : 9.6% 14
  8. 8. Itʼs not just phones but other devices will carry the pre-requisite components of AR use; compass, WiFi, GPS, camera and chunky memory. Just for the moment the iPhone platform does dominate conversations but next year Sony Ericsson launches the first of their Android handsets. Just for the moment it should be noted; 10.2 Million iPhones were sold in last quarter alone. The number of smartphones purchased has doubled in the last year, according to TNS. They accounted for about 13% last year according to Juniper Research with a 22% rise across Europe in 2009. research in the USA in June 2009 suggested that 37% of consumers already own a smartphone, while more than 14% planned to buy one in the next three months. Symbian : 51% Microsoft : 9% RIM : 18.7% Apple : 13.3% Android : 2% 15 These case studies are all using the code or marker based technology, itʼs cost effective and easy to set up. But very expensive and time consuming to give the consumer real value over and above the novelty factor. In November 08 Mini ran an off the page AR static 3D car, by the summer BMW had full video capture - which Iʼll show you in a minute. And finally Eminem has a very cute AR graffiti game on his web site, another I will demo at the end. 16
  9. 9. General Electric were first on the market with a magazine front cover. But in the age of PIXAR the delivery doesnʼt engage beyond the ʻOh wow they can do thatʼ. Bare in mind itʼs two years since we thought dancing elves were cutting edge, incidentally produced by the same company, Hitwise. PLAY THE ELVES 17 AR really could be the magic wand that so many titles desperately need to stem the tide of readers going online. Live Twitter and blog feeds into contentious editorial makes for a far more entertaining read. A slicker version of the RedBull idea would leap past the novelty stage and actually be useful. 18
  10. 10. Whatʼs really exciting is that we donʼt know whatʼs coming next, we just know it will happen sometime next week even. This is the first edition of AR magazine, mixing just about every media, but done because as the creators say, everything else is out of date as soon as you print it. 19 BMW on the other hand, have used exactly the same tech but spent an analogue sized advertising budget on the execution. This pays off by a deeper and longer engagement. This also embeds the results within the consumerʼs existing social network activity. This is another one we can play with at the end. 20
  11. 11. This is a really eye catching bit of AR - if you excuse the very cheesy French demo film; ʻHey kids this is cool!!ʼ However and itʼs a big however the relevance to the brand is slim at best. (chewing gum by the way) 21 So whatʼs the effect of everything we've talked about so far? Reduced privacy = but thatʼs ok Facebook and Twitter have conditioned consumers to except this - although a quick look at sites like Oversharers.com makes some wish they hadnʼt. Increased Transparency = Now more than ever the maxim of ʻYou canʼt be half pregnantʼ holds true, is your brand prepared to be examined from every angle? The old tricks donʼt work any more = Creative agencies (or clients) canʼt hide behind convention or it-worked-before-mentality. 22
  12. 12. Itʼs not only a question of budget however. 23 A brand needs engaging content that has relevance to the time and location of the consumer Consumers readily except value from brands online and donʼt mind offering up personal information in return O2 rewards, Tesco.com and Spotify just a few examples of brands who have normalised this type of behaviour 24
  13. 13. Briefly we need to take a short detour into the world of applications or apps at this point. Downloadable applications for mobile devices are like the ringtone market on steroids. The wave of activity begun by Apple but quickly aped by Blackberry, Nokia and Google is way too big to ignore. 25 The current retention rates for downloaded apps is 3 months. The most important fact for us is the change in behaviour it drives in smart phone users. 26
  14. 14. Most popular apps : News : 43% Medical : 43% Reference : 42% Productivity : 35% Navigation : 30% Health & Fitness : 30% This talk is not about iPhones however, itʼs the capabilities of smart phones in general that will drive AR as a communication option. However Apple needed just two ingredients to be successful: ease of use and a wide range of "apps" - small software applications that allow owners to optimise their phone, whether it is Sudoku puzzles or sugar trackers for diabetes sufferers. According to the BBC "...The success of Apple's app store caught out most rival phone makers. The store - with more than 65,000 apps and over two billion downloads - is now making serious money..." 27 Itʼs not just the hardware. True comms innovation leads to widespread behaviour change, Social networks are embedded into the lives of most consumers because it has changed the nature of their relationships within friendship groups. Brands that succeed with the concept of social media are not just those that jumped in early. It is the brands that had a view, an opinion, and most importantly a strategy in place so that when a social network issue arose, they could remain true to core brand values. Consumers are today learning about apps and smart phone black magic, but what are the geeks getting excited about today? 28
  15. 15. This is very new and not a little scary. Blending existing face recognition software with consumerʼs own photo libraries found on social networks. Works on an open permission system. 29 The seismic shift in innovatorʼs attitude to sharing means that the future is mashable. This craze for programmers to want to blend their work with each other shows no sign of abating. Creative commons symbols now appear everywhere. Do you know what they mean?. Itʼs not just overlaying databases of decent bars with Google maps (although Nobel peace prizes have been given for less). Whatʼs invigorating is any function can work with any other. Itʼs just a case of wanting it to. 30
  16. 16. The information in someones phone more than ever becomes the DNA of purchase intent. True we have a whole bunch of permission, privacy and preference issues to solved. But that will happen. 31 It may be flippant to say it but could AR see a change in fashion for rioters across the globe? Itʼs not just the good guys like us, who want to know what consumers are doing, but AR generated data can as important to governments as it is to commercial organisations. 32
  17. 17. Lurking in the shadows Amazon, has quietly been buying up databases of shopper behaviour. Their most recent purchase of the innovative Snap Tell application this summer could be a watershed in AR based shopping. 33 This is a working app that launched just before Christmas last year. It was a bit of a novelty piece, recognising images in ads and dialling up web sites but a few months ago became part of Amazonʼs technology department called A9. They now have the capability to project all of Amazons customer reviews, pricing and availability onto any product in any store. They have been running tests in WalMart, effectively putting live action transactional POS in a competitorʼs store. This is like Sainsburyʼs putting a whacking great big isle end unit into every Tesco in the country. 34
  18. 18. POS can be a whole world away from where it is now with AR. We have found consumers will download and use commercial apps if there is content of value and relevance. You could offer the trade training and motivation programmes that come alive only when people look or interact with your products - currently there is nothing to stop you doing this with your competitors either. On that last point it should also be pointed out AR currently sits in a bit of a grey area concerning broadcast, content and convention. 35 In conclusion. The simple act of putting online information over the top of reality, on command is pretty epic. The fact you can contextualise advertising messages by just about every variable, is something that I for one am very excited by. The creative possibilities are endless. While the market at the moment is a bit like the Wild West. We feel with mainstream usage will come regulation and stability, much like the SEO market. 36
  19. 19. One final thought. Augmented Reality is coming. We feel this will be a step change in paid communication. not least because it is one of the first that has not been driven by either porn or football but simply the human desire to share. The most exciting uses of AR havenʼt even been thought of yet, what do you think? 37 final final word from one of the speakers at the recent Media140 event about his companies real time search software “..at the end of the day weʼre all just making this up as we go along..” 38
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