Augmented Reality: The Next Big Thing

Imagine if you could see the real world as you would normally see it, but with digital information lying on top of it. Now imagine if the digital information provided was personalized according to the environment around you. Perhaps, providing you with an interactive list of prices and availability of nearby hotels or making a couch pictured in a catalog come to life so you can choose a color and view it in your family room without leaving your home. I’m talking about augmenting your reality with information you can interact with. This isn’t something I’m dreaming up. Right now, businesses around the world are taking advantage of this technology to reach consumers in a new, interactive way.

Augmented reality (AR) is generally created as a mobile application which can be used on a tablet, smartphone or wearable eyewear such as Google Glass, and it’s bringing our digital and physical environments together in ways we never imagined. AR has strong use in many industry verticals, most notably: entertainment/gaming, retail, travel/tourism, education and technology. With the perfect opportunity to get into the minds, hands and homes of consumers, leading retailers are quickly adopting AR to improve shopping experiences, drive sales, and deepen customer relationships, all while reinforcing the brand. We are seeing entertainment businesses leverage AR by providing interactive experiences triggered by an image in a print ad. In travel and tourism, these apps can provide the ability to experience a destination in a deeper way than ever before, putting a new definition to travel guides.

The biggest upside of augmented reality is the deep engagement it drives with consumers, making user experience an essential piece of the puzzle. As the industry begins to mature, Noble Studios is aligning with leaders in this space such as Wikitude, to power the solutions we architect for our clients. And the future of AR is looking bright. According to mobile industry analyst Tomi Ahonen, AR is forecasted to be the eighth mass media to evolve, being adopted by a billion users in 2020.

I recently had the opportunity to attend the fourth annual Augmented World Expo (AWE) in Santa Clara, Calif. on the future of AR and Ahonen was among a list of expert presenters and enthusiasts. The expo brought together leading AR providers and Fortune 500 companies to demo more than 100 of the best augmented experiences worldwide. My favorite quote of the expo was by Steve Mann, thought of as the father of wearable computing, when he said “The idea is to help people see.”  Ultimately using AR brings brands to life, allowing consumers to see and experience in an entirely new dimension. I challenge you to learn more about AR and start imagining the possibilities.