Unless you have been stranded on a desert island for the past 10 years, you’ll have already heard about all the advancements in ‘reality’! I say this because all emerging technologies now seems to have the word ‘reality’ latched on to the end of it….Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Mixed Reality….there are now so many different types of reality that if you’re living in a technologically advanced country and own a smartphone, you’re probably starting to lose a grip on what ‘reality’ really means!

Let us help… What is Augmented Reality (AR)? I will let Wikipedia answer that one:

Augmented reality (AR) is a live, direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented (or supplemented) by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data.

So now you’re wondering what the point of AR is? Well, I’m going to try my best to get you to understand but to be honest the best way is to use it. In its crudest form, I would have to say SnapChat; this allows you to regurgitate a rainbow or wear a halo of butterflies thus adding a new layer to your physical world.

As well as being used as a technique to improve your selfies though, AR has emerged as a marketing approach in its own right. And this brings with it some pretty exciting possibilities. Take a look at this Campaign by Pepsi which allows customers to bring to life their favourite footballer using their own smartphone:

That’s all great fun but can AR be utilised within B2B Marketing?

I feel that AR needs to be useful and serve a purpose and not just be there for the sake of it (I have the same stance on VR). I see AR as an added benefit to what already exists! To reinforce this point imagine you are walking through a museum, and the curator has tried their hardest to give you as much information as possible, but this overcrowds the object you would like to marvel over… Page after page of content or on the flip side is not useful either. You are just left to presume and imagine why that thing actually stood before you is. By utilising AR in this instance, you can overlay content on the object when using a smartphone or tablet. Clicking on sections of the object through your screen to unveil the history, reasoning and who created it. This is a good thing… right? So we AR ok!

If you take this stance and reimagine real-life, and not replace it, you will see where I’m coming from! Its when you recreate something that exists in an entirely virtual world… That’s VR, not AR… Take the IKEA Place app, where you can place furniture in your house without going to the store and then spending 12 hours to build it all to realise later that it looks horrible, this serves a purpose… Augmented into real-life!

And breathe.

Those are just two examples of solving a real problem, but the possibilities are endless… Don’t disregard AR! The hardest part is the control! Here is an excellent example of what we could be greeted by in the future. Hyper-Reality, created by Keiichi Matsuda presents a provocative and kaleidoscopic new vision of the future, where physical and virtual realities have merged, and the city is saturated in media. I’m not saying that this is the way we should think, but it does deliver the start to the thought-provoking extreme idea of what is possible.

The future of AR is in the hands of the creators and the marketing guardians. The technology will continuously evolve over the coming years, but I truly believe 2019 will deliver a clearer path for marketers to adopt the approach in a setting that adds a new level to the more normal content we consume.

I will leave you with this TedTalk by Zenka who is a Los Angeles based artist who makes art for the galactic age. Her art paints a picture of where we are in time and where we are headed, based on developments in virtual and augmented reality. Finding new ways to visualise accelerating change begs the question: how do we prepare for an exponential change in the Knowledge Age? Hopefully, this inspires you to give reality experiences a go!