Last week at SXSW Interactive, I was shut out of a session that I (and everyone else) was excited to attend called Extending Your Brand? There’s an App for That. In Tuesday’s SmartBrief on Social Media, we featured a Mashable story on a few fashion brands that are doing interesting things with location-based marketing and augmented reality. Meanwhile, the top spot of today’s newsletter is dedicated to an interesting article called “Can Augmented Reality be a commercial success for e-commerce?

Does all this buzz mean that augmented-reality applications are the next big thing in marketing?

By now, most folks have seen some version of AR in action. There are many downloadable iPhone apps that allow you to hold your phone up to the world and be directed toward the nearest Burger King or Starbucks. To get a real sense for the promise of the medium, however, check out Microsoft Bing Maps architect Blaise Aguera y Arcas demonstrating augmented-reality maps at this year’s TED Conference. And if you really want your mind to be blown, watch this TEDIndia video of inventor Pranav Mistry demonstrating SixthSense tools that help the physical world interact with the world of data.

Without a doubt, the technology is amazing, but the jury’s still out on whether it will be applicable beyond the world of retail. What do you think? Does augmented reality have a place in your business? Is this technology going to transform marketing as we know it?

We welcome your opinions in the comment box below. And who knows, maybe we’ll interview you as the next thought leader to watch!

Image Credit, shank_ali, via iStockphoto

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14 responses to “Will augmented reality be the bridge to Web 3.0?”

  1. @jack_benoff says:

    So, this is just one man’s opinion, but I (and the interactive marketing agency I work for, Zugara) am pretty bullish on AR. In fact, we’ve built our own proprietary AR technologies (one of which was referenced in the econsultancy article you mentioned). They key, in my opinion, is for marketers to see AR as a tool, another weapon in their arsenal. What’s the story they’re trying to tell? Who are they trying to tell it to? What experience are they attempting to create? What are their goals? Their objectives? etc etc… Sometimes AR will be a potential solution, but quite frankly, a lot of the time it won’t.

    Marketers though need to get busy, and do their research. Just slapping a video on an AR marker is not a creative solution. It’s a waste of your budget, and a waste of your consumer’s time. Marketers/Strategists need to truly know what the tech is capable of so they can make informed decisions (and their consumers media consumption habits), and create relevant executions. We can no longer just push our messages at consumers. It doesn’t work. We need to create interactive experiences that they value, so that they subsequently pull our messaging in…


    -Does your brand use casual games to engage your target demo? Well what about creating a webcam based AR game similar to Cannonballz: (disclaimer: we built that game as a demo to showcase out tech). Let your consumers post their scores to facebook to twitter, and maybe you’ll also get some WOM going…
    -Do you have a bricks & mortar shop? What about a POP display similar to what Metaio created for Legos?

    The technology is empowering, and its potential is huge. Just because a fair amount of the executions to date haven’t been mind-blowing isn’t the techs fault, it’s the marketers… (imho).

  2. I am in trade shows and AR is a perfect match between the two. I have been saying it for a year and I am now seeing some companies starting to package the AR product for Trade Shows. I am working on getting it all to work efficiently and effectively together, trade show exhibit + pre/post marketing + AR + social media. Its all good baby!
    Tracy Lindsay
    My recent post Exhibitor2010 #2

  3. Social comments and analytics for this post…

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  5. Great question. I personally don't think AR is a marketing fad, and I think it is really enabling digital to move into the background and blur what is online and offline. I don't think "Web 3.0" will ever really arrive anyways, because the web is being embedded in so many devices nowadays (through http API calls, delivered via iphone apps, etc) that it is becoming hard to tell what is web, and what isn't.

    Here is our insights on the subject over on the Work at Play blog:

  6. Jordan, thanks for pointing us towards your Spotlight on Augmented Reality primer. I especially like the roundup of brands doing AR well: RayBan, Wrigley’s, UPS, Doritos, BMW and Esquire (see links to examples at Jordan's Work at Play link above).

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