By Jay Wright, senior director of business development, Qualcomm
Consumers are increasingly using their mobile devices to learn, engage, and interact about new products and services. From a brand messaging perspective, brand owners are adapting their communication and marketing methods to connect and interact with their audience through that small screen in their hand. New, exciting mobile technologies – like Augmented Reality (AR) – are driving engagement and adoption of mobile devices and apps for brand marketing. The beauty of AR is that it draws the user in to enhance their experience by combining both the physical and digital worlds. AR is a powerful tool that immerses the end-user into the environment designed by the creator to drive brand engagement before, during or after a purchase decision. More specifically, we have seen AR adopted to enhance the value of and interactive marketing and educational by bringing consumer products, packaging and advertising to life to showcase everyday experiences in a more immersive way – all the while bringing a new dimension to the mobile experience.
For a unique way of bringing the product to life, Johnson and Johnson’s Band-Aid recently used this technology to add a digital layer on top of the physical plaster itself, so that a Muppet character animation appears in the child’s surroundings, turning their pain into a smile.
Most recently in the UK, HELLO! Magazine used the Vuforia platform to create an AR-enhanced front cover of HELLO! Magazine which featured Take That front man Gary Barlow as a virtual pullout, added to the magazine as part of its special Jubilee edition.
The London Science Museum also paired up with Top Gear superstar James May this year and used AR as a means of promoting their ‘Making of the Modern World’ exhibition by creating the James May Science Stories app.
When the AR plinths are activated using a mobile device, a miniature James May pops up and talks about the exhibit in front of them.
This app has provided a new and exciting way for visitors to interact with the exhibition, as well as helped raise the profile of the museum as an innovative and forward-facing space.
These are all great examples of how AR can provide added value to a normal, everyday experience.
At this year’s E3 gaming event there was much discussion in the media around whether AR could threaten the future of other mobile marketing technologies, particularly in the entertainment sector.
There is no doubt that AR provides a compelling platform for user-centric campaigns. In fact, it is well positioned to also complement other mobile marketing technologies (such as coupling with QR codes, NFC, Bluetooth) by delivering interactive experiences.
Mobile marketing technologies should therefore work together where possible, to drive the industry forward and to ensure that campaigns are as effective as possible.
Within the last twelve months, Qualcomm’s Vuforia platform has been used by developers to create more than 1,000 apps, which is a representation of the infinite potentials AR has to offer.
For example, Vuforia technology now supports image recognition in the cloud. This is a truly revolutionary development in that recognition can now be achieved against databases containing more than a million images, enabling new mobile commerce experiences that will benefit consumers, developers, brand marketers and retailers.
As AR becomes a prevailing trend in the industry, developers will be able to further enhance user experience of many existing applications by increasing consumer interaction with the world around them, truly putting the mobile phone at the centre of individual’s digital ‘sixth sense.’
It goes without saying that it truly is a really exciting time to work within this digital space!
Jay Wright is responsible for developing and driving Qualcomm’s augmented reality commercialization strategy. In this role, he manages the company’s partnerships with innovators in industry and academia, and leads Qualcomm’s efforts to enable augmented reality within the mobile ecosystem. Wright brings nearly 20 years’ experience in developing software and services for mobile and wireless devices to his role at Qualcomm.