Augmented Reality, as opposed to Virtual Reality, is a non-immersive phenomenon, easily experienced using a hand-held device such as a common smart phone or tablet, rather than an expensive and still relatively rare headset. This creates a very large potential user pool that already owns the hardware required to engage in the AR experience. Cumulative iPhone sales have recently surpassed one billion worldwide, and the Android market is much larger.
AR content is competing with images, music, video, and other content types on these mobile platforms. Due to the ability to integrate with both real world, real time imagery and other types of data, it is quickly becoming the go-to technology for all manner of 3D content, currently served by less powerful systems that allow for limited 3D viewing in a standalone window without context.
The AR mechanism – the combination of a printed target together with virtual content – can be a powerful tool to enhance many printed materials, including textbooks, magazines, newspapers, book covers, product catalogs, greeting cards, newsletters, postcards, posters, instore displays, beer coasters, CD covers, product packaging, video screens – including within the app itself, and others too numerous to mention. The connection between the target and the content can be static, i.e. always the same content, dynamic, i.e. periodically changing, or real-time, in which the content is updated on the fly to suit the user, the location, the time of day, or other factors.
AR Apps and their attendant web-based dashboards allow our clients to add fully three-dimensional content to their otherwise two-dimensional materials, and update that content whenever they see fit, breathing new life into declining print-based markets and creating new forms of publishing, marketing, and entertainment. They save money by reducing the frequency of required print updates, reach a new tech-friendly audience, and outshine their competition with their forward-looking brand image and presence.