September 20, 2018
For some longer time already the world is living not only in physical reality but in virtual reality as well. Augmented reality is no longer unfamiliar concept also in marketing and advertising industry. In order to know more about augmented reality and how it affects marketing, we interviewed Edgars Apermanis, representative of digital agency Overly, which is the first and only agency in Baltic States that focus on the development of augmented reality solutions and other interactive technologies.
How would you describe the concept “augmented reality” and its benefits? By definition, we always say that the augmented reality is a technology that teaches digital cameras to recognize the world around us and to impose digital content on it. For example, a person wants to buy a couch in the IKEA store, but he has no idea how it will look like in his apartment. He opens the IKEA application and with its help he places the particular 3D model of the sofa in his living room in 1:1 size. While using this app, consumer can walk around the sofa, as if it really would stand there, or to change the colour of the sofa, and use the same application in order to buy already a physical sofa. Augmented reality technologies have many advantages, but one of the most important certainly is uniqueness – it helps companies to be different from their competitors. Secondly, augmented reality is a great helper in order to visualize things. As more and more people are shopping on the Internet, then the augmented reality fits into this "visualization" process. Moreover, this effect works not only as a tool for consumers, but in some cases also for sellers who are going to visit clients, for example, in real estate or merchandising. Thirdly, I would say that the augmented reality brings added value.
What are the newest trends of augmented reality? I would say that augmented itself is a trend. However one of the biggest trends in this industry at the moment is augmented reality smart glasses, which can be used to observe and enrich the environment around us with digital content without the use of phone screens. Although this concept has been trending for some time now, and there are also companies that already sell such augmented reality glasses on the market, for example, Microsoft, however at the moment they are very expensive. True, the US company Magic Leap has recently released its first prototype of augmented reality glasses, which will be closer to affordable price category, making it possible for people who are not technology enthusiasts or developers to buy it in the near future.
How augmented reality can benefit marketing? Marketing and augmented reality goes hand in hand, for example, almost literally reviving environmental ads and printed media, adding value to them. As well as creating activities or installations using augmented reality, or integrating it as another platform where brand or company can communicate their advertising campaign. We should remember that augmented reality is also a platform.
Usually it is considered that augmented reality is more suitable for younger people. What is current situation? Of course, it would be silly to deny that young people are better friends with this technology, but we have also implemented projects where the key audience are people starting from the age of 40, and as a result, the statistics were even better than in some projects where young people are the primary audience.
What are the success stories of augmented reality in Latvia and worldwide? Worldwide the most recognisable case of augmented reality is Snapchat and its face filters. It is also an augmented reality – to use a digital content on the physical body. An example of IKEA furniture, which in general changed the way customers shop at this store, is a very positive example as well. Since in Latvia we are the only agency specializing in augmented reality technology, we are particularly proud of a number of projects, including Logic Cards. In this card game, while reading any card with the help of the application, it comes to life and shows the way to the right answer. Moreover, this is also a great example of how the augmented reality brings added value, as this card game has won its place in the United States and Japan, where there is a huge market of board games.
How do you see the future of augmented reality? Technology of augmented reality is unique in a way that it connects the digital and physical world. Nowadays, we see comparatively simple use of augmented reality, but already very practical, however, I believe that the augmented reality in the future will greatly change our everyday life. We will start wearing "smart" glasses that will provide us with all the necessary information in the exact place where we are located. The augmented reality glasses are the ones that will replace our smartphones. At the moment, while using our smartphones, we live in two parallel worlds – real and / or smartphone. Additionally, augmented reality glasses will blend together these two worlds and make our lives more comfortable, lighter and, most importantly, more interesting.