By Julian Harris
AR was branded by sceptics as ‘gimmicky’ and a ‘fad’ that will fade over time. However, with industry experts predicting that AR and vision enabled apps will generate $300M in revenues globally this year and more than 2.5 billion apps downloaded by 2017 (Juniper Research, Mobile and Tablet Marketing 2013-2017, January 2013), it is becoming clear that this technology will grow and impact our lives in a big way.
Children today are being raised in a world which is increasingly digital and in which technology is becoming smarter; most children learn how to use a smartphone or tablet within the first few years of their lives. These digital natives are being born mobile and see the fusion between the physical and digital world as just par for the course. It’s really only a matter of time before kids begin to demand this level of interaction with the world around them.
Recent developments in AR and vision enablement technology are being used to create even more immersive experiences for early childhood education. Text recognition, for example, allows developers to build a new generation of educational experiences that incorporate interactivity with real world objects and is being employed as an effective early-stage educational tool for children. For example, Sesame Workshops’ Big Bird’s Words app makes learning new words fun by building an engaging and interactive experience for children. It does this by encouraging them to find objects that contain specific words in a familiar context using their favourite device.
The recent development of cloud-based image recognition capabilities also provides endless possibilities for brand marketers, retailers, and developers by enabling apps to recognise more than one million images using the power of the cloud and create new mobile shopping experiences that seamlessly integrate in-store and retail experiences.
With an increasing number of consumers ‘showrooming’ in brick-and-mortar stores and using their mobile devices to read product reviews and find additional information online, retailers are turning to AR and vision enabled experiences to create this bridge between the digital and physical worlds. Retailers are currently employing this technology in their stores to encourage consumers to use their devices to recognise products. By doing this, the retailer can instantly provide customers with additional product information, reviews and other useful links so the shopper is provided with a fully immersive brand experience.
The technology is also being used in a plethora of other ways to augment our lives. It fits perfectly with mobile gaming to create the impression that the player is interacting with the world around them. Leading publishers are using vision enabled apps to bring their physical content – magazines, books, and catalogues – to life with interactive, engaging apps. Maxim chose to bring its magazine to life by providing a video of the cover model featured on each issue, while the 2013 Guinness Book of World Records’ companion app showcased six experiences including rendering the world’s shortest man in real life size and providing the ability for readers to take a photo with him.
The potential of AR and vision enablement technology and the benefits it provides for developers, brands and consumers alike is becoming increasingly evident and as the technology grows in its adoption, we are seeing that people are taking fuller and better advantage of the possibilities it creates. With the buzz around this exciting and life influencing technology, it is clear that AR is here to stay and will continue to provide compelling, interactive, and engaging mobile experiences with the world around us.
About the author
Julian Harris is Senior Manager, Business Development at Qualcomm, and has served in the mobile industry for over 12 years, Qualcomm for 8. In his current role Harris works in Qualcomm’s European Ecosystem Team recruiting content, application & mobile service suppliers to optimise apps for Qualcomm technologies, such as; Snapdragon™ SDK, AllJoyn ™ & Qualcomm’s vision-based augmented reality platform, Vuforia™ as well as developing consumer retail campaigns built on differentiated portfolios of apps such as the Carphone Warehouse 3 Free Games Offer with Gameloft. Prior to this Harris managed developer relations teams in India, China & Latin America responsible for recruiting application developers to supply the Brew ™ distribution network which at the time reached 250m+ addressable devices, 70+ device manufacturers, 1,400+ handset models, and 50m+ transactions per month.
Qualcomm Incorporated (NASDAQ: QCOM) is the world leader in 3G, 4G and next-generation wireless technologies. Qualcomm Incorporated includes Qualcomm’s licensing business, QTL, and the vast majority of its patent portfolio. Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated, operates, along with its subsidiaries, substantially all of Qualcomm’s engineering, research and development functions, and substantially all of its products and services businesses, including its semiconductor business, QCT. For more than 25 years, Qualcomm ideas and inventions have driven the evolution of digital communications, linking people everywhere more closely to information, entertainment and each other. For more information, visit Qualcomm’s website, OnQ blog, Twitter and Facebook pages.
Qualcomm Vuforia enables developers, creative agencies, brand, and content owners to create mobile apps that can “see” and now “read” using smartphone and tablet cameras on iOS or Android devices. Qualcomm Vuforia utilizes industry-leading computer vision technology to enable rich and reliable augmented reality experiences that drive customer engagement with print media and advertising, consumer products and packaging, and educational materials. Vuforia is supported by a global ecosystem of more than 60,000 developers in 130 countries and has powered more than 4,500 apps for iOS and Android devices. Additional information is available at www.vuforia.com .