Showing posts with label Augmented Reality. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Augmented Reality. Show all posts


16 Top Augmented Reality Business Models


Augmented DollarI am developing and producing a range of Augmented Reality (or if you prefer AR, ‘blended or layered media’) applications at the moment. I have also been asked to present at a few conferences and create a detailed white paper on the implications of AR for government & business looking at privacy, legal, copyright & crime issues.  As readers of this blog will know I also lecture, run workshops and work with creative teams to come up with future ‘social entertainment’ based around virtual worlds and augmented reality.
But the purpose of this short post is to simply list and try to categorise the many types of business Augmented Reality apps appearing in the market. The first manifestations of AR appeared in the late 60s, became real in the 70s and by the 90s were already being used by major companies. Now portable computing is finally powerful enough to deliver AR to anyone who has a smart phone or latest generation PC or console. But first my simple definition of Augmented Reality.
Information, 3D models or live action blended with or overlaid onto the physical world in real time. A camera & attached screen is used to view the combination of reality & real time virtuality. Devices or systems commonly used for AR include
But the purpose of this pretty detailed post is to simply list and try to categorise the many types of business Augmented Reality apps appearing in the market and to try to identify opportunities.
According to wikipedia, the first manifestations of AR appeared in the late 60s, became real in the 70s and by the 90s were already being used by major companies. Now portable computing is finally powerful enough to deliver AR to anyone who has a smart phone or latest generation PC or console. For those unfamiliar here is my simple definition of Augmented Reality.

Information, 3D models or live action blended with or overlaid onto the physical world around us, in real time. A camera & attached screen is used to view the combination of real world and metadata or rich media. Devices or systems commonly used for AR include:
  • Mobile devices with inbuilt cameras such as iPhone, DS Lite, PSP or Android
  • A head mounted display HMDs (eg: glasses or futuristic contact lenses) attached to a wearable networked computer
  • A PC or Mac with webcam
  • A games console with camera accessory
  • A large TV screen with advanced Set Top box and Web cam
  • Others in development

Before the more detailed list I embed my summary flickr chart whose purpose is to try to categorise types of business orientated augmented reality apps so to identify opportunities. The graph places 16 on axes of commercial value (likely revenue or potential) vs adoption (scale of popularity vs a niche, client user base). It is a starting document to aid classification of this emerging commercial sector that I hope you find useful. The AR types, color key linked to each model is suggestive only.

16 Augmented Reality Business Models

Mobile Augmented Reality boosting Proximity Marketing

Proximity Marketing as described by Wikipedia is “the localized wireless distribution of advertising content associated with a particular place.”
The commercialization of location will get a boost by the power and opportunities offered by Mobile Augmented Reality applications.

Have a look at the first real-time Augmented Reality proximity marketing platform by Insqribe:

Two disadvantages of conventional proximity marketing are that users need to enable the mobile device to receive location based information/ messages, secondly not each and every message received is welcome or relevant for the receiver.

Messages can be perceived as irrelevant and spam, users can receive too many promotional messages which will backfire proximity marketing as a tactic because devices can and will be disabled again to not receive any messages again.

Enabling a mobile device to receive information is a primitive form of acknowledging the interest on the location, the possibilities offered by Mobile Augmented Reality will boost and enhance the primitive form when it comes to location based promotions (Point of Sale promotions – POS) nearby initiated by the user.

Mobile Augmented Reality makes it possible what users want to see and when they want to see the information .

Augmented Reality powered Proximity Marketing is much more gentle, it becomes more of a pull mechanism instead of a push mechanism. The pull mechanism increases relevancy towards the users because the users control when he/she activates the system to scan the surroudings. This is the difference. Enabling bluetooth is not synonymous to being receptive for all and any kind of promotional messages. The new Proximity Marketing is exactly the other way around, by activating the system the user shows -initial- interest and decides what message can be further explored and not.

Of course permission systems do exist before messages are being send out, but the concept is the same, push versus pull.

Will Proximity Marketing be fueled and made more fun by Mobile Augmented Reality?


Flyar | Augmented Reality Twitter Visualization Screensaver

Flyar is a screensaver, Twitter visualization application that uses Augmented Reality and gesture interaction. It enables users to see themselves in real time, inside a pc screen, surrounded by virtual birds that flutter about or fly towards them to deliver incoming tweets. Developed by YDreams. Get it at:


Mazda:::Mazda opens its layer

It is imperative for car companies to be associated with cutting-edge technology, but at the same time avoid anything potentially seen as superfluous. So, Mazda’s announcement that it was using augmented reality in its latest campaign came as something of a surprise.

Augmented reality has, until now, been rather gimmicky – 3D lapdancing girls appearing out of 2-D paper, and the like. However, JWT’s new augmented reality application – Layer – is something different, something potentially very useful. By integrating Google maps into its service it allows users to see what is happeningaround them by displaying real-time digital information on top of reality.

Mazda has built the first ‘layer’ on the new network. Through a combination of QR codes and barcode technology consumers can scan special Mazda ads in the traditional press with a smartphone and find all available Mazda dealers within the vicinity. The tagline on the video demonstrating the new service is: ‘From magazine to Mazda in 80 seconds’.

And where Mazda lead, it looks like others will follow. 10,000 applications were downloaded in the first two days and JWT says it has clients wanting to build ‘layers’ in Amsterdam and Russia.

BRAND: Mazda
CATEGORY; Automotive
DATE: Aug 2009

Mobile or InternetPressAmbient


Wrigleys Gum:::Not just reality

Wrigley’s 5 Gum is a premium sugar-free stick gum that delivers a long-lasting flavour and a sensory experience with each flavour. So the ‘Rain’ flavour was a tingling spearmint, ‘Cobalt’ was a cooling peppermint, and ‘Elixir’ was a mouthwatering berry. There were also flavours that transformed halfway through chewing, so ‘Solstice’ started off feeling warm before turning cool and ‘Zing’ went from sour to sweet. This range of gums had a very strong visual identity and the brand message “rediscover your senses”. This was a gum which made a statement beyond just making your breath smell nicer after you’ve eaten onions.

The brand has launched a wide range of marketing activity, including a series of very strong TV ads, playing heavily on the sensory experience of the gum and appealing to teens and young adults. It also had a strategy to partner with cutting edge fashion brands, musicians, putting on a series of events featuring interactive artworks and hot DJs.

One of the most intriguing elements to the campaign was an augmented reality DJ application. The brand created “The 5 Mixer”, which allows people to mix together club music via Augmented Reality markers. Users print off four symbols from their computer, cut them out and position them in front of their webcam. There are 3 main markers that are linked to different tracks and a master marker that links them all together. Budding gum DJs can select between techno, electro and hip-hop music and then move the 3 markers away from the master marker at different angles and distances to change the volume and effects for each track. If one of the 3 track markers is moved towards the master, that track gets louder. Covering the symbol turns that track off completely and spinning the marker produces different sounds.

Unlike real mixing, it is impossible not to beat-match the tracks, but the results are varied and pleasing – especially for the wannabe DJs found inside most teenagers. Having mixed their track, users can upload their demo and have it rated by their peers. They can also share their mixing mastery with their friends on Facebook and other social networking sites.

BRAND:Wrigleys Gum

BRAND OWNER:The Wrigley Company

CATEGORY:Confectionery/ Snacks


DATE:Aug 2009 - Sep 2009



Mobile or Internet


Ultimate brand experience

Doods who planned and created the following” ultimate brand experience/ engagement” without doubt dripping with enthusiasm for all things digital -they love it and they live it


Augmented Reality:::EVOLUTION OF MEDIA

Augmented reality is based around holding a 2D image up to a webcam and then seeing a 3D image on screen. This augmented reality technology is now being adopted by advertisers and there have been some interesting uses of augmented reality recently.

Join Starfleet Academy - Star Trek Augmented Reality

Nokia and Verizon have partnered around the new Star Trek film and have created a series of interesting experiences for online users at One of the most engaging is the chance to use augmented reality to get a 'message from Starfleet' - users print off a pdf, hold it up to their webcam and get an exclusive message that they can then share through social sites.

Join Starfleet Star Trek augmented reality

GE Smart Grid Augmented Reality

GE have been using augmented reality to allow users to see 'a digital hologram of Smart Grid technology come to life in your hands.' Under the slogan ecomagination, the augmented reality piece really brings the concept to life.

GE Smart Grid augmented reality

Create an augmented reality BMW Z4

BMW are offering internet users the chance to recreate the experience of the Z4 paint commercial for themselves. 'If you have a webcam you'll be able to get behind the wheel of your own BMW Z4 and use it to express yourself.'

BMW Z4 augmented reality

Create an augmented reality Mini Cabrio

In Germany Mini used augmented reality to launch the Mini Cabrio (NB: have to use Internet Explorer to open.) Prominent full page ads in German motoring magazines acted as a base for the Mini Cabrio augmented reality experience. If readers held the ad up to a web cam, they then got to play with a 3D Mini on screen.

Mini Cabrio augmented reality

Whilst augmented reality has a novelty factor around it at the moment, it does demonstrate how offline and online media can work together to create an experience. Changing a static 2D image into a virtual 3D image is a really interesting way of re-interpreting print and as functionality evolves it could be a powerful opportunity (particularly for publishers) to really integrate print and digital.

Got a webcam? Here’s four fun websites, each offering a special picture for you to download and print off. When you hold the picture up to your webcam you’ll discover a hidden 3D animation, one that forms in the palms of your hands and that you can interact with and explore. It’s all part of a developing technology called Augmented Reality that is quickly becoming a hot online trend and one that big name companies like General Electric and Volvo are using to grab attention to their marketing messages.

What Is Augmented Reality?

It is a developing technology, one that chases a futuristic dream where all cameras have the power to recognize the world around us and are capable of giving us information about what we see through them. Today’s cameras can tell us both the time and date that a photo was taken, with advanced features detect when a face is in front of the lens or even if someone is smiling. With GPS, they can even pinpoint where a picture was taken on Google Maps, but imagine if a camera could do more. Imagine a camera that is smart enough to recognize the C.N. Tower when you photograph it. That can call up detailed information about the C.N. Tower instantly, not just text or statistics, when the C.N. Tower was built or how tall it is, but full 3D maps and models, animations that show how the tower was built or deliver detailed layouts of its many floors. Imagine your view of the world enhanced by computers.

Augmented Reality Today

We’re not quite there yet, but today’s industry is taking baby steps towards this futuristic vision. Today we have software that can train a simple webcam to recognize basic, black-and-white pictures. Large, bold images, not dissimilar from those used in children’s flash cards, these glyphs or codes can trigger a computer to generate very detailed, three-dimensional animations that appear to exist in our own world and, thanks to the tracking capabilities of today’s webcams, can move, shift, and turn, as if they are real-world objects.

Although basic in form, many companies see the marketing potential of these baby steps. A paper brochure of a magazine ad with one of these glyphs on it could be held up to a webcam to deliver a 3D model of a product, allowing consumers to see if from all angles, or simply exist as a fun trick to convince consumers to visit their website in the first place.

GE EcoImagination

To draw attention to their environmental commitments GE’s SmartGrid microsite includes a special glyph, silhouette of a solar panel for you to download and print off. When you hold the printed image up in front of your camera, you can choose to activate a virtual diorama of your choice of either a wind turbine or a solar energy installation. These are very detailed models that demonstrate the basic operations of these two utilities. Turn the paper in your hands around to see the models from all side and in the case of the solar panels, watch as they tilt and turn to always catch the moving sun. With the wind turbine, blow on your webcam’s microphone to add a wind effect and set the propellers spinning.

Living Sasquatch

An ad for Jack Link’s Beef Jerky, this fun site offers a footprint for you to download and print off. Naturally, when you hold the footprint up in front of your webcam, Big Foot himself comes for a visit. Once you have him on-camera, you can use your mouse to hover your cursor over a selection of animation tiles to make him perform different emotions, actions, and attacks, all with appropriate grunts, growls, and roars. If you drag the tiles onto the timeline interface, you can create your own Big Foot movie, complete with your own text bubbles, to share with your friends.

Papervision’s Three-Eyed Monster

Before creating the sasquatch for Jack Link’s, Boffswana created this proof-of-concept character, a three-eyed monster who appears when you hold up a simple image in front of your webcam. Make sure to turn him around from all angles and see the different things he can do.

Volvo Ocean Race

For the 2008-2009 season of the Volvo Ocean Race, fans were given the chance to play with their own virtual yacht using Augmented Reality. Once you register for a free account at the race's official website, you'll be sent a promotional e-mail with both a password and a glyph with the word "Ahoy" on it to print off and hold up to your webcam to see a detailed model of one of the yacht's appear within the palm of your hand. Hold the glyph closer to your webcam for a more detailed view of the ship's surface.

Topps 3D Live Baseball Cards

Trading card manufacturer Topps has adopted the technology for this year's baseball season. In every pack of Topps Series 1 2009 Baseball or Topps Attax cards you'll find one 3D Live card that you can take to their website and hold in front of your webcam. With each 3D Live card, your webcam will react by creating an animated model, complete with stadium sounds, of the player featured on the card. Topps says that should the 3D Live cards and their augmented reality feature prove to be a hit amongst fans, they will invest the money to have software created that will allow webcams to recognize all of their cards, including all past Topps cards already in existence so that fans can go back into their collections and experience them again with new animations.

Marco Tempest's Augmented Reality Card Trick
Here's a trick you can't do at home. Magician Marco Tempest uses a set of display glasses with a mounted webcam in order to access Augmented Reality techniques to perform a card trick. This is an excellent example of some of the principles of Augmented Reality, where our world is enhanced by looking at it through a camera connected to a computer designed to understand what it sees. Enjoy.
Magic Symbol is a new technology that brings to life real world items by turning them into 3D digital images. Consumers take a pre-printed card to a scanning point and see it turn into a pre-selected 'Magic Symbol' image on screen. This extends the engagement of printed material and gives opportunities to develop unique marketing messages.

The Magic Symbol technology has been developed by Inition ( and has been used for a variety of clients and events. The following image gives more insight into how Magic Symbol technology works:

The Magic Symbol website has a video showcasing some of the promotions that they have run at - seeing Magic Symbol working in real life is the only way to explain it properly!

Magic Symbol technology gives an interesting opportunity to integrate offline / digital whilst spreading word of mouth - I think this sort of joined up approach (with one medium stimulating response in another) can only become more important as time and technology move on.

How Will "Augmented Reality" Affect Your Business؟

augmented reality is going to be a big deal for businesses. What is it? It is the idea that locations, devices, even the human body will be "augmented" by linking and overlaying additional information on top of "regular" reality.

For example, this month's Esquire will have visual codes embedded in the text — even on the cover — which you can hold up to your computer's camera. The computer will read the codes, and take you to a video or other information linked to that magazine "location." Is this just a gimmick? After all, the physical magazine is a great way to create a link to more comprehensive content. The magazine cannot afford to put too much information between its covers, but it can put as many pointers as it wants to more content. This basic notion is very, very powerful. (See the great post on this topic by Gary Hayes

Anand and I think augmented reality will change at least the following five things:

1. The nature of advertising.
We know that if you're an advertiser, you want to allow people to transact while their attention has been caught by your product or service. The beauty of augmented reality is that it allows any advertiser to bring the possibility to purchase much closer to the advertising stimulus. So, if I'm reading an interesting article in a magazine and there is an add with a visual code on it, I can then scan it with my BlackBerry or my iPhone and order it immediately.

2. The nature of location. The GPS revolution in cars has already created a low fidelity version of augmented reality by enabling maps in any car that wants them. You are already starting to see applications available on advanced phones that allow an individual to hold their phone up to a location so that the information about the location is overlayed on the screen:


Right now these are focused on tourism, but it does not take a lot of imagination to see that any sales or service force would love to be able to walk up to a building and understand the nature of the potential customers inside, or installed products to be serviced.

3. The nature of healthcare. One of the great problems with healthcare is the lack of information at the point of service. It is only a matter of time before you will have the option to link your medical information to you. There is cheap, available bio recognition technology which will allow someone to swipe their finger, or speak into their phone to identify themselves, and then to allow the doctor to have information available to them — just like Esquire allowed for the ads to be tagged to a page.

4. The nature of relationships. The next natural extension of would be to have a person be able to either scan in a face (face recognition software is standard issue now with many photo products, including Apple's iPhoto) and then provide the salesperson with the best available background search on the individual whose information may be out on Facebook, LinkedIn, or other social networks. Also, if you are like my friend and Diamond Fellow Gordon Bell, who has taken his whole life digital (documented in his book Total Recall, which just came out), you can link any face to all you know about that person.

5. The nature of knowledge. Much of the knowledge we need to do our jobs is not available because we have a hard time getting access to it at the right time. BMW did a concept piece on augmented reality where a mechanic is replacing a fan while wearing special glasses which project the instructions onto the car as he looks at the engine compartment. Our understanding is that this is not operational, but something like it will come.

Why are we so bullish? The military has been augmenting the battlefield for some time, and now with advanced GPS devices, better telecommunications and hand-held devices that have enough display and computing power to make things interesting, we think we are at the beginning of a boom market in augmented reality. So the question becomes, is your firm thinking about how advertising, selling, products and service will change when you can overlay the right information, at the right time and in the right form — everywhere?

What do you think? Are we at the beginning of a revolution — or is augmented reality an idea that will always be in the near future, but never here?

Small Business SMM

If you own a small business, it seems like everyone is trying to get you to use social media. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twit...