Is AR augmented hype, or a reality?
Fad or phenomenon: Are the region’s marketers ready to embrace augmented reality?
April 20, 2010 2:06 by Precious de Leon
Augmented reality (AR) has certainly attracted its fair share of hype over recent years. The technology adds computer-generated imagery on top of the physical environment, and usually involves a user holding a card printed with a special code in front of their webcam. AR can be used by companies to display, for example, a car on your computer screen, which you can move around by rotating the card.
The hype over AR is partly down to its visual appeal, and the ‘wow’ factor of the new technology. But how seriously should it be taken by marketers?
Global spend on AR was $6 million in 2008. This will grow exponentially to $350 million by 2014, according to ABI Research.
While the technology is still novel in much of the world, it has been particularly slow to gain traction in the Middle East, which is puzzling given the size of the tech-savvy population.
Regional examples are very few.
General Motors Middle East created an AR-print campaign for its Chevrolet Camaro model. And the Abu Dhabi Media Company (ADMC) ran an AR gaming initiative to celebrate the 30th anniversary of its ‘Majid’ comic book. Another of the region’s first forays into AR was in the B2B arena: during the recent Arab Health conference in the UAE, Philips used AR to show how its large hospital equipment works.
Victoria Mirauer, ADMC’s director of marketing and online services (digital media), says that AR can help boost brand engagement. “With Augmented Reality, the brand can be associated with the environment. You can wrap it around what’s happening real-time. So it goes beyond product placement and advertising. It’s become a real experiential environment.”