Augmented reality (AR) is starting to become important not just as a games platform but in communication as well. With revenue forecasts from virtual reality (VR) and AR set to be worth $120 billion by 2020, according to Digi Capital, we thought it would be a good idea to give you the lowdown on what AR is and how it can help communication professionals provide innovative new ways to engage with their target audience.
What is augmented reality?
It's important to know the distinction between VR and AR. VR aims to block out the world around you by immersing you fully in whatever VR world has been created once you put the headset on, thus creating a sense of presence in a completely different place to the one you're standing in. AR, however, works by superimposing content on to your current, real world, and is thus only semi-immersive.
The most prominent example of AR so far is Pokemon Go. This was a game that involved people walking around the street catching Pokemon creatures, who were superimposed onto the street through players' mobile phone screens.
— Pokémon GO (@PokemonGoApp) February 3, 2017
How can AR be used by communication professionals?
Recently, we told you about uses of VR in communication. This included a VR campaign by Amnesty International which showed the extent of the destruction in war-torn Syria. Charities who want to create an even more hard-hitting message could use AR to show what would happen to people's own towns if they were damaged in the same way that places in the Middle East have been.
There has been a clear shift from 2D to 3D media in recent years.
AR is often used in the music industry. For example, if you were to scan an album cover, it might cause a 3D image of a band to start playing "live" in your room. This is something that can be used in communication as well. For instance, if you're planning a big product launch or other event, creating AR experiences so consumers can feel that they too are at the event is a good way of making your brand feel closer to your target audience.
There has been a clear shift from 2D to 3D media in recent years, and AR is just one of the exciting new trends that we've seen taking hold in communication. For others, please visit our Insights page.