Things are going to look a little different as we start to re-open after the pandemic. Some things will be different only for a while, but other changes are here to stay. Here at WORKSHOP 3D, we believe that Augmented Reality can not only help in the short term, but has the promise to create opportunities for explorations and innovations that will be with us long after COVID-19 has come and gone.
Bring Your Content To Your Audience
Many of us have been stuck at home for a while now. We haven’t gotten out to a museum, a gallery, a show, or anything else that wasn’t absolutely necessary, and we’re missing those experiences. Augmented Reality has the ability to pluck some of the items and experiences out of your facility and deliver them to your customer or visitor’s home, like many restaurants are doing with take-out food. And just as some of the restaurant owners that I have talked to are planning to keep the take-out service after the lock-down is over, delivering a portion of your content directly to the user wherever they are is a great opportunity for marketing, outreach, and education at any time.
Apps like our ARt portal and ARtifact can act like the sample carts at Costco, delivering a taste of your experience, creating an interest and a desire to come and see the real thing in person, when that opportunity becomes available. This makes sense with or without a pandemic.
A New Kind of Interactivity
Interactivity means touching stuff. Or does it? What if your guests could interact with your displays without touching them? Augmented Reality allows users to interact with objects that appear in your physical or electronic displays via their own touch screens, not yours. They can interact directly, by dragging virtual objects around in your space, or indirectly using controls, like on a traditional interactive display.
Taking this a step further, interactions that aren’t even possible in physical space can happen in Augmented Reality. Virtual objects can be more experimental than physical objects, and physical properties can either be suspended or exaggerated to get an idea across. Processes can be simulated and controlled by the user. Microscopic objects can be blown up thousands of times and made big enough for your guests to spin them around and inspect them, or giant objects can be put on a pedestal.
Virtual Docents, Historical Figures, and Other Guides
Whether it’s a valued and knowledgeable member of you community or a guest expert with some important expertise, everybody has a story to tell. It’s just not always possible to have the right person standing in front of a group of people telling that story, especially at this time. But whether it’s in the middle of a pandemic or after that’s passed, the same issues come to bear. How do you have that person always present when you need them, to speak to directly to the individual visitor, one-on-one?
Our narratAR app, currently downloadable as the customized, branded app QVHSM: farmAR, brings individual guides and groups of presenters directly into the exhibits, springing to life whenever called upon by the visitor using the app to explore the museum. These aren’t just videos playing on a monitor. They are much more three-dimensional people that you can see and hear in the display when you view the exhibit through your phone’s camera. It’s like they’re really there.
What’s Good for Now is Good for Later
All of these facets and capabilities of Augmented Reality can help museums, galleries, visitors’ centers, and other exhibitors get back to business in a safe and hands-free way by utilizing their guests’ own devices to activate the exhibits, and to do so in a personal way that doesn’t involve group presentations.
But these ideas go well beyond the immediate need. Our clients are already using these very same ideas to breath new life into their displays, to provide a more personalized presentation, and to disseminate their educational and informational messages beyond the walls of their facility, using one of our existing platforms, a branded version, or a custom app tailored to their content, mission, and audience.
Augmented Reality isn’t just a good idea for re-opening. It’s a good idea. Period.