Tag Archives | technology

Augmented Reality Brings Marketing to Life

Augmented reality is the next stop on the high-speed tech train. AR embeds information into images from the world around you. Focus your phone camera on a book cover, and Amazon’s Flow app will show you a description and allow you to buy it direct from Amazon.com.

Yes, I know, the book’s in front of you, so it seems silly, but imagine how you might use this for larger objects or photos of items for sale in the newspaper. Or perhaps that cute pair of shoes your friend is wearing.

Stella Artois’s Le Bar app allows you to point your phone down a city street and find all the bars serving its beer.

In this TED Talks video, Matt Mills of Aurasma demonstrates how his AR app can bring inanimate objects to life. He points out some compelling uses in education and customer service – for example, setting up your router, and for reading the newspaper. Point your camera at a sports photo and it instantly animates into the latest video coverage.

It’s easy to imagine AR’s utility in marketing and PR. A wealth of information can be attached to buildings, people, places, objects, images and more. That information can include one-click purchasing, product information, client testimonials, reviews and so much more.

It’s worth noting that much of this can be accomplished with QR codes, but AR will likely streamline the process (no need to create a QR code) and make the information more easily accessible. After all, your friend’s cute pair of shoes wouldn’t be as cute if they were stamped with a QR code.

Keeping the Technological Pace

When I was a child, I read a short story in a children’s magazine about a student’s interaction with her teacher. The story captured my imagination because the girl’s instructor was not human. It was a computer.

Given that science fiction writing often imagines the future, it’s probably not surprising that this story is now a reality, as anyone who has attended online training can confirm. What is remarkable is that it ceased to be fiction so quickly.

This speed of change is why I think the new ebook, “Race Against the Machine,” by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee, should be required reading for anyone in business today, anyone looking for work, or anyone still in school.

The authors argue that humans aren’t keeping pace with the machines: “Digital technologies change rapidly, but organizations and skills aren’t keeping pace. As a result, millions of people are being left behind.” We are facing technological unemployment.

I’m only halfway through this ebook (originally downloaded to my Kindle to Mac, but now reading on my just-out-of-the-box Kindle Touch), so I can’t yet comment on the authors’ conclusions. But I’m familiar with the picture they paint.

I’ve been in digital media for more than 26 years – a very long time. (Mark Z. was an infant when I was angling for my first job at a digital news service.) I know from experience that technology development has very much followed Moore’s Law, and it continues to progress at an exponential rate.

Let’s just look at its impact thus far on the way we communicate. By the mid-90s, email had replaced the paper memo. By the mid-2000s, cellphones, particularly the BlackBerry, were untethering workers from their desks. Laptops were doing the same. SEO was on the rise as a way of lifting your marketing website above the noise. By 2010, the focus was on marketing through social media. People now base buying decisions on opinions broadcast through these channels by their friends. Today, we talk about social SEO, but that’s unlikely to last long, because now we have Siri, which will change what  information we consume on the go. (A good read about this is: “How Apple’s Siri Could Destroy Local SEO.”)

There was a point where we thought technology changed our environment every 18 months. There are days now where I think things change by the minute. It’s as hard to grasp as running water.

It’s fun to imagine where we might be in the next five years. I think it’s safe to say that we’ll be using voice commands to do everything from starting our cars to programming our appliances for cooking a turkey.

But what I’d really like to have is a pet language translator, so that I can understand what my cat has been saying for the last hour and to have her understand why I don’t want her eating my office plant.

What communications innovations do you predict or would like to see?