Augmented Reality: What lies beyond?

Augmented Reality has fascinated me a lot. When I was interning at Bravo TV during my MBA, I had brought this up to the consumer marketing team. In fact I had put together a presentation on how Bravo TV could leverage the technology, especially since the brand’s positioning is that of curator, I was convinced the added layer could make the user experience more engaging. Well I couldn’t convince the team. Anyhow, back to the future, AR is now the buzzword after QR.

Many brands are experimenting with AR to create memorable experiences for their consumers. But one barrier, at least in my opinion, is the need to download an app.

But recently I came across this company Wikitude Labs that has patent pending technology that makes AR accessible on the mobile web. What this means, according to this TNW post, is that “mobile websites access via a native browser will be able to access the camera view of the phone on which it is being viewed, letting users view a live video stream with content augmented atop. This bypasses the need for a user to be accessing it via an AR-enabled browser.”

Eliminating the need to have an app to create the AR experience makes it a lot easier for users. I think there are so many possibilities, imagine the ability to create layer for a brand and allowing users to experience interesting nuggets of history with help of animated characters. Need information on nutrition of a product, simply go to the  brand’s website, allow the AR layer to guide you from then on. Enliven it with help of video and animation, which makes the information easier to understand. For example, take Charmin’s ultra cute bears, wouldn’t it be fun to watch them give a lowdown on what makes this brand of toilet paper better than the competitor at shelf. Even better, maybe one of the bears could climb into the palm of your hand and talk to you from there.

I think it has great potential with local. Consider taking a nature walk around a park, it would be a great way to educate users on the different plants and the terrain. I see this as a natural fit for a brand like Discovery or National Geographic. Or even for media and entertainment brands, when users visits the site via their mobile browser at a bus shelter that has an out of home display for say the latest show or season premiere, they could see the display come to life with the characters. One could even make it an interactive experience, imagine you in the photo with a real live Tom Cruise from Rock of Ages? That was similar to what Esquire did with Brooklyn Decker, but this new technology would deliver a similar experience without an app.

I am excited about the possibilities for what lies beyond with AR. Have you seen anything with AR using mobile browser? What do you think about this?