Gaining use as apps on smartphones and tablets, augmented reality (AR) enables users to aim their mobile devices cameras not at bar codes but at the actual items.
In practical terms, this means shoppers can point their mobile device at a cereal box, in-store display or magazine ad and then watch a video or high-tech presentation instantly appear on the screens of their smartphones or tablets.
Some real life examples of this exciting new image-recognition technology in action:
- In magazines, smartphone users are able to “hover” over a movie review to call to their screens the film’s promotional “trailer.”
- On a department store display for women’s cosmetics, AR apps enable shoppers to “try on” different shades of make-up.
- For cola cans, augmented reality lets users call to their mobile device screens interactive content including ticket sweepstakes and recipes.
Watch for more AR applications in marketing. According to Juniper Research, augmented reality apps generated approximately $300 million in revenue in 2013. The same report predicts that by 2017, over 2.5 billion AR apps will be downloaded onto mobile and tablet devices each year.