Use augmented reality to create useful apps, not gimmicks

eMedia Vitals
Ellie Behling writes that publishers are still trying to figure out what, if anything, augmented reality is good for. She notes a few recent examples of AR being used to connect print and online experiences, including a holographic windmill from Popular Science and a “walking, talking” Robert Downey Jr. on the cover of Esquire.

Those examples may have “glitz,” but they lack practical use, says Behling:

“Talking celebrities and photo tricks might be eye-catching and offer a bump in newsstand sales initially, but, after the novelty wears off, what are the long-term applications of AR for attracting an audience and boosting revenue?”

Behling highlights a few projects that better balance cool and useful, including a drinking guide to New York by Time Out New York, a 3-D gift and shopping guide from InStyle and a virtual dressing room sponsored by JCPenney.

Note that all three examples provide utility to readers, and are almost direct analogs for features previously available in print. Perhaps succeeding in AR does not require creating “glitz,” but rather bringing added value to products already produced by media companies.

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