It seems that Augmented Reality on the mobile device is really this year’s golden egg.
This time the reality browser Layer is being used by SoundWalk for its lavish romantic strolls through Paris. Cannily timed to coincide with the recession, where visitors of Paris and citizens bypass the traditional shopping spree, with a more cultured appreciation of the city. The SoundWalk guided tour romanticises Paris with music, poetry and love.
Original walking routes through Paris are accompanied with music and poetry and with the Layer browser additional information on the area and architecture. This means that when you view the surroundings you will see layers of additional features and information than when clicked can provide a textual accompaniment to your visual experience.
The problem is that the Layar application is an Android application only. This will hinder uptake of this service as it will of Augmented Reality itself. Mobile is like a layer cake with lots of potential but the constant diversity from companies choosing different platforms to focus on means lack of global choice for consumers.
Indeed, the double sided sword of mobile makes this necessary as some applications are simply much better for creating these visual augmented experiences with. But reading up more on the subject of Augmented Reality the possibilities for education are immense. Imagine looking at the stars and knowing seeing their names or pointing to the moon and knowing what phase it is in?
The SoundWalk is a travel example of culture. But imagine the same experience being used for Architecture students or art students in the Louvre.
My primary concern is that, Augmented reality is so new, the number of services popping up that enable consumers to create their own visual tag might dumb it down by producing one million and one “I woz ere” type of visual signatures.
In fact this duopoly between consumer or business will be a defining factor for augmented reality services moving forward. Niche, subtle high brow offerings might be the way forward for the service to grow rather than do a Titanic.