Almost anyone who has ever owned a smartphone has at least heard of Augmented Reality (AR), but few understand what it really is. Fewer still appreciate the incredible scope of applications this technology can serve. With origins as a humble sheep farmer, I am certainly one of them, but since Flo-culture has a mission to provide digital solutions which help people discover more about the amazing world around them, it’s time to get up to speed.
Not to be confused with Virtual Reality (think headsets and fully immersive 3D experiences), AR takes digital information like video, sound and text, layering it onto our view of the real world. Think of your favorite “fun” app, where, with one simple swipe, you can take a cute cat-eared selfie, or swap faces with the BFF you just met the night before. You just used AR.
A Short History of Augmented Reality
The story of AR starts decades ago, and now extends well beyond the “fun” domain. In 1968, Ivan Sutherland developed the Sword of Damacoles, the first VR head mounted display system. How about that for a product name? In the modern era, Volkswagen introduced, the MARTA app in 2013, an AR conduit which can show successive instructions to help mechanics find something else to charge you for. Bring on Google and Microsoft: While Google Glass was memorable, simply for being instantly forgettable, the Microsoft HoloLens achieved what many saw as the ideal Augmented Reality product. One minor problem, a $3500 price tag. Even with my buddy Nate’s rose-tinted VR goggles firmly strapped on, it is still a green velvet suit, I’m just not buying it.
Augmented Reality is now an extremely economical and versatile platform. AR continues to be used dazzlingly in mobile marketing by companies such as Coca-Cola, Lacoste, and Pizza Hut boosting engagement and creating realistic, virtual experiences with products. Since AR is especially useful for showing physical objects in relation to other objects, even Ikea jumped on board. With the IKEA Place app, shoppers can virtually see and size how couches, lamps and Swedish Meatballs will look in their homes before they purchase. With the Global Market of AR expected to grow to $20 billion in 2020, the technology is clearly here to stay.
AR Warps Back To The Space Age
In July 2019, on the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11ths historic landing on the moon, the sun reflected off hundreds of smartphones as visitors used the JFK Moonshot App to watch all 365 feet of Saturn 5 blast off from the JFK Library in my home town of Boston, Mass, instead of a launchpad on the Florida coast.
Here at Flo-culture, we are currently working with the European Space Agency, but you will have to contact them directly to book that Trip to the Moon which I know is still on your bucket list. But don’t let that stop you from contacting us directly, the use and applications for now highly economical Augmented Reality, and GPS based engagement strategies, well, the sky is the limit…