Guest column: AR – Enabling online-offline integration

Augmented Reality (AR) has the potential to disrupt consumer behaviour, says Suresh Narasimha of TELiBrahma

by Suresh Narasimha
Published - Jan 9, 2013 7:14 PM Updated: Jan 9, 2013 7:14 PM
Guest column: AR – Enabling online-offline integration

Augmented Reality (AR) is changing the way the world is viewed – or at least the way its users perceive the world. It is defined as a live, direct or indirect, view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are amplified by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data. As a result, the technology functions by enhancing one’s current perception of reality.

AR has the potential to disrupt consumer behaviour and experience unlike many technologies that have been created in last decade. AR presents itself as a horizontal technology with the ability to create opportunities across several verticals.

Fundamental factors that drive this hypothesis
• Ability of AR technologies to enable integration between offline and online world
Growth of smartphones and mobile internet usage
Ability of mobile to deliver accurate consumer context in a secure environment

How large is the AR market?
The AR market size is expected to grow $732 million by 2014 fuelled by advertising and $2 billion by 2015 from less than $10 million today (Source: Juniper Research – CAGR of 300%+)

With the mobile advertising growing between 40-60 per cent in several markets around the globe, AR represents a huge opportunity within the mobile advertising eco system. It has the potential to disrupt advertising and search.

Our benchmarks suggest AR has the potential to grow to five per cent of traditional media advertising and 15-20 per cent of in-store experience budgets.

However, the current implementations of AR are focussed around just the delivery of video and HTML-based engagements. Key thing for AR is to define new experiences and utilities for the consumers. A platform with technologies that enable innovative use cases, stronger business integration and detailed analytics is what can help businesses achieve real RoI. 

AR shaping the future of retail
Imagine customers can try on clothes and products at home, with absolutely no requirement for shipping the product. Augmented reality will allow shoppers to virtually wear garments or experience products – hearing and feeling the merchandise as if it were real. AR creates virtual shopping store (on mobile) closest to the buyers, adding on benefits such as lesser time, effort and lot more convenience to the shoppers experience – while providing brands with an opportunity to promote their merchandise to a larger audience with least expenditure on retail space and inventory management.

AR brings media to life
Augmented reality will enhance reading activity by imbibing relevant images, videos, 3D models, simulations, graphical representations and any other engagements in direct co-relation to the context in the book (fiction, non-fiction, prose or poetry). Publishers can add greater value by utilising AR tool to provide exclusive, multi-dimensional sensory experience with no additional cost or space of printing.

AR technology will also help tutors to surpass beyond linear, text-based learning to engage students to develop and comprehend academics better. AR will alter student’s outlook towards textbooks – from just being a reference material to knowledge carriers.

Location mapping made easy with AR
Would you be interested in using your phone to find nearby places, restaurants, events and location information? AR application allows users to find things to do and get more information about a location -- simply by pointing their phone’s camera at a location. User can read reviews, ratings, and other recommendations at their fingertips. AR is an advanced search tool that will allow the user to explore his surroundings by delivering powerful relevant information along with directions to reach the destination (camera/map view) instantly.

AR takes advertising to the next level
Augmented reality ensures that an advertisement is more than something a consumer just sees or hears. It allows them to experience the product, service or idea that is being promoted; thereby, creating a stronger call to action through traditional media. It also provides incentives to consumers to voluntarily engage with the ad for longer, building a relationship between the consumer and the brand in an instant.

Showbiz drives the AR path
Is AR the next big thing in digital marketing? No, it already is a revolution. Marketing is evolving into an experiential field, especially in the entertainment sector. It’s not just about information anymore, it is about experience. Imagine seeing the characters come alive with videos, 3D overlays, synopsis and more.

The author is CEO and Founder, TELiBrahma

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