While Pokemon Go has brought augmented reality (AR) to the fore, the technology has been around as far back as the ‘50s and has been used across a wide variety of applications and industries. The runaway success of the game in recent weeks has just increased general awareness or AR, encouraging businesses to explore the potential that it offers.
The most common applications of augmented reality in the BP (Before Pokemon) era were as a marketing gimmick; marketers very quickly spotted the potential to engage with users on the next level, and introduced a lot of different apps – with varying degrees of success.
Early attempts at utilising this new technology were more experimental, with people trying to figure out what works and what doesn’t. Unfortunately, the downside to this approach was scepticism from people who tried and failed.
Every industry needs a breakout product that helps take it to the next level, and a big AR success like Pokemon Go was required to reignite interest in the possibilities of the technology, not just for games, but also for business use.
The game has shown – in a fun and engaging way – that augmenting the real world is something that consumers want, and for businesses, it shows that AR is potentially profitable with the right implementation.
In the AP (After Pokemon) era, more people will understand what AR is – either by reading or watching news about it, having downloaded the game and playing it for themselves, or even just through observing other players in action.
Turning fun into revenue
AR is far more than just gaming though, and some businesses have come to realise that it is a useful tool to connect and engage with customers, building loyalty and potentially even driving sales.
But the applications of AR extend beyond marketing; AR has helped warehouse pickers and technicians become more efficient, and welders and craftsmen more accurate. It has also helped make history and geography more fun, and tourism more educational and engaging.
To take full advantage of this potential, we need to look beyond introducing AR for the mere novelty of it. What businesses need to do is identify a pain point affecting its customers or staff; like successful apps, successful AR experiences look to address one or two pain points rather than a whole series of issues.
Using the technology for something meaningful like enhancing, simplifying, or even just speeding up the way in which people deal with your product or service offering not only goes a long way towards improving customer experience, but potentially drives sales.
In today’s data-driven world, the benefits of a well-crafted AR application extend beyond online virality. Businesses can use these apps to learn more about the end users and their behaviours, and use this information to improve their operations, be it stock planning, product preferences, and more.
They don’t need to know what the ultimate AR solution is going to be, they just need to understand their customers or end-users, and have a crystal clear view of the pain point. An experienced developer can take this information and design a bespoke solution that not only wows and engages the end-user, but also offers an answer to a specific business need.