Beyond Pokemon GO - how Augmented Reality is turning everything into media
Before the Pokemon GO phenomenon, most people in media thought AR (Augmented Reality) was a fad; a shiny new innovation to try, but probably not something to put on a regular media plan.
But Pokemon very much changed that perception, which is particularly good news from one company- Blippar - who’ve been developing AR technologies for the last few years, have raised c.$100 million along the way, and are very much thought and technology leaders in the AR space.
At the heart of Blippar’s technology is a ‘visual browser’, which lets users search the world via ‘images’ rather than words, which according to Ambarish Mitra, Blippar founder, is important - not least because word-based search usage ha s been static for the last 4 years.
Mitra gave a keynote presentation at Cologne’s DMEXCO conference earlier today under the title ‘The Next 120 billion dollar industry’ which sounded like hyperbole at the outset, but within some impressive statistics and real life examples sounds like a real possibility.
Breaking down the 120 billion dollars, the two biggest revenue opportunities are AR Hardware and aCommerce. Mitra highlighted that the biggest AR Hardware device is / will be the Smart Phone, something that the new iPhone’s feature-set, specifically the double camera and wireless earphones, backs up. He also flagged the fact that AI (artificial intelligence) is key to the future success of AR, as given AR is a content layer on top of reality, it’s hugely important to understand reality (which is what AI does) before you can add an additional layer on top.
Perhaps the most interesting concepts that Mitra threw up was the idea of ‘aCommerce’ along with the idea of ‘everything is media’. aCommerce is the idea that via AR everything you see is buyable; simply point your phone at a T-shirt you see someone wearing and click-to-buy. With AR, the world is quite literally your shop window.
The idea of ‘everything is media’ already exists for Mitra. The biggest media in the world is physical objects; a BMW car is media; a coke can is media; everything you see that is created by a brand is media. What AR and Blippar’s technology does is to enrich this existing *real media* adding interactivity and value on top. Blippar’s technology apparently has a 0.01% click rate, and an average dwell time of 75 seconds - giving some sense of the high levels of engagement Blippar and AR brings.
Before Pokemon GO I personally would have doubted how mainstream AR could go, however with 50 million users in 4 weeks Pokemon has shown that there’s most definitely an appetite for AR amongst the Smartphone generation who increasingly live by their cameras.