The impact of AR – year one
As head of digital, it’s vital I stay up to date on the latest technology and future trends – and I’ve been working with augmented reality (AR) since Apple launched its ARKit in the second half of 2017.
This was a massive accelerator for this type of technology and it allowed developers to start creating the next generation of AR apps.
As the technology was introduced, games and shopping experiences – that up until that point had been considered to be flights of fancy – became a reality.
The biggest news at the time was that the new technology would be available to more than 300 million users in a matter of months.
At a scale like this, the size of the opportunity for marketers was clear.
Today, there are already more than 3,000 AR apps in Apple’s app store giving great experiences to their audiences – from the latest Jurassic Park game to interactive toys from Lego.
But as with any new technology, the adoption of AR has been tentative at best – just as websites were in the late 90s.
The market, at the moment, is preoccupied with the technology but customer experiences are the opportunity.
In years gone by, websites were being made but their value and impact was limited.
They existed and so did search, long before Google came along and made it simple and fast and delivered a useful user experience.
AR is waiting for that moment. So what are we doing about it?
We are encouraging our clients to think about how they want customers to feel and what they should do when they are interacting with their products and services.
If AR can enhance that experience, then we use it. Cool Blue has so far helped retailers and property developers to meet commercial objectives this way.
We’re also working with clients to expand on their staff training, employee engagement and health and safety.
Creating an experience that positively surprises someone and gives them an experience they want to share elevates your brand in their eyes and builds excitement around your products.
Standing out is easy but being highly regarded is hard.
That’s why it’s important to understand what consumers will grow to expect.
As AR technology improves and becomes more widespread, demand for these experiences will massively increase in the coming months, let alone years.
And as soon as September this year, we’ll be able to offer shared experiences, where up to four people can view the same AR content at the same time from all angles.
We’ll also be able to send AR content via instant message or email – opening up even more opportunity.
Virtual reality is a private and personal experience whereas augmented reality is at its best when it’s a shared experience.