What is Augmented Reality?
Augmented Reality (AR), simply put, is a technology that adds 3D objects on top of the real world using your device’s camera.
You’ve probably seen a lot of Augmented Reality without even realizing it’s actually AR, for example: Face effects like the ones Zoom has are actually Augmented Reality.
What you are seeing is the camera feed (the real world), with visual effects super imposed, such as the ears and nose, or the flowers over the head.
That’s why it’s called Augmented Reality, it’s the real world but augmented with effects.
Different types of Augmented Reality
1- Face effects
This is the one mentioned above, about Zoom’s Video Filters. The camera tracks your face, and super imposes objects on top of it.
And the super imposed objects follow you around as you move your head, giving the feeling they are actually there.
2- World tracking
In this case, instead of tracking your face, AR tracks the world around you. It detects the ground and other flat surfaces.
This allows for great visual effects as it can show objects that are not actually there.
One example is the IKEA App, which allows you to see how a furniture may look on your living room.
The ground tracking continues as you move around. Just like on the previous type where the Augmented Reality tracks and follows your face.
This is why you can move around and get closer and you will actually see the object from different perspectives.
3- Image and object tracking
The final type is when a specific image or a specific object activates the AR experience.
Here’s one example using an Amazon business card to activate the Augmented Reality. Notice how the super imposed video is always inside the card, this is because the Augmented Reality is constantly tracking the card.
Let’s get crazy with some Augmented Reality examples
The types and examples shown above are pretty basic. They show the technology, but not what the technology can do.
When you are creative, Augmented Reality technology can bring things to a whole new level.
Brace yourself, here are a few examples that will blow your mind:
1- Watch someone get abducted by aliens
2- Pet a lion without getting eaten
3- Escape a Zombie apocalypse
The 2021 technology leap made by AR
Until now, Augmented Reality needed an App to be able to work. However, a combined technology breakthrough now allows Augmented Reality to run directly from your mobile’s phone internet browser.
This means by simply scanning a QR code or tapping a link, your users can participate in an immersive Augmented Reality experience.
What makes Augmented Reality ideal for Experiential Marketing?
There are a few unique elements that make AR an amazing tool for brand experiences.
Despite some high-profile installations, all you need is a camera, which can be as simple as a mobile phone. This means it’s easy to replicate and reuse.
Pretty much everyone has a compatible smartphone nowadays, which means you will not leave anyone outside of the experience.
3- Social distancing and no device sharing
Since it works on any device, there’s no need to give the visitor a device to try it out. They can use their own device.
4- Works on the show floor or at home
It requires no special hardware, no printouts which is why it can be used for an on-site activation, or experienced in the privacy and comfort of your home.
5- Viewer has the control
Augmented Reality’s tracking gives the viewer full control on what and how to look by giving the user the control to see things from above, from the side, closer or farther apart.
6- Easy to use
One key element of any successful experiential marketing activation is simplicity: Even if your users are tech-savvy, the experience should be easy and simple.
Augmented Reality follows the 1-click rule, your users can simply scan a QR code or tap on a link, and that’s it: they are in.
Being able to experience Augmented Reality without downloading an app makes this an even more perfect tool for communications and advertising.
Augmented Reality is a relatively new concept and the technology behind is growing more and more.
Newer mobile devices are including powerful cameras that can track even more of the world around us, so AR is going to get even better.
Other more powerful concepts are also being built on top of Augmented Reality, such as Mixed Reality or Telepresence. Which we will cover on another article.
Don’t miss this amazing tool in your arsenal.