Monthly Archives: June 2012


Quick, tell me what’s happening?  How fast is the world moving and how many channels of communications/data/information are there out there for us to trip upon, adopt, mobilize, screw up and choose?  I have been studying new means of connecting with our most precious asset, our guests and customers, when I came upon a phrase I had not heard before:  augmented reality.  So what did I do, I called one of my kids, of course, because they definitely know what this stuff is and they know how to use it and they know how it is used in business.  They are smart and young and hip.  I keep them on speed dial!

They told me that augmented reality is really very simple:  it is the phenomenon of adding virtual elements into physical space by viewing said physical elements on a device.  Our contemporary smartphone is the most common device because it knows where we are (GPS my dear) and with this data it connects to the internet to get images, visuals, 3D shapes and puts them into our immediate view on the device, not into the real world (which would be quite a feat!).   It makes deep information about the users’ surroundings available whenever we have our cell phones without having to look anything up.

What is the direct application to our fields of retail, entertainment, culture, and sports?  How can we use this new technology to better our brands, to better our guests’ experience, get them to know us better, to like us more, and thus get them to buy more stuff?!  We researched a load of new apps (applications, for those of you who have been living under a rock, don’t feel bad, many of us have) and came up with a few of our favorites.  Please let us know what you think, how you might use them, and if you are as amazed as we are with the existence and application of this astonishing new technology!

October 9, 2010, MoMa New York, Conflux Psychogeography Festival

This exhibition was created by Sander Veenhof and Mark Skwared occupied the space inside the MoMa building using augmented reality with a show that was not visible to anyone except those who were using a mobile phone app called “Layar Augmented Reality browser” on their iPhone.  Or amazingly, if you can’t make the show, you can see the works by setting the coordinates of MoMa in the Layar browser  You just have to know the GPS location.  What a way to see a non-existent art exhibition!                             

 Starbucks Magic Valentine Cup

 During Valentine’s day last year, Starbucks’  had a cup with heart on it.  If you had the app and put the cup within your phone’s field of vision, an image of heart-shaped flower petals flying off the cup emerged;  a video of the scene was also available to email or Facebook to your lover.

Education and Outreach

Virtual Sky Astronomy is star map app that spells out the stars, planets and constellations and contains data on 10,000 stars, 88, constellations and lunar phases.  The “tonight’s sky” features meteor showers and planets based on your location.  Think of the outreach for a science center or planetarium!

Virtual Graffiti allows users to “tag” an image snapped earlier and becomes part of Google Maps integration.  This allows the user all the fun of tagging without any of the potential damages and jail time!  We just finished a program plan which included “tagging” railroad containers as a contest for a community event.  How much more exciting would it be to have a virtual element to the event?

Aurasma is a mobile app that uses image recognition to bring print and other images to life through animation.  The application of this high impact, memorable experience creates multitudes of possibilities for our printed materials, texts, brochures, collaterals, menus, handouts, books, and phew what else can we think of?

These are just a few applications.  We tried to install the Layar app and were told that our iPhone 3.0 OS did not support it,  rather we needed the IOS 4.3.  What this means, I think, is that one must be a bit tech savvy and a bit upscale to play with these things!  So maybe this isn’t as main stream as we would hope.  What else is new with tech and tech gadgets?  For a kid to read a book with Aurasma, they would need their very own iPad or iPhone.  If you have read my previous blogs on Gen Z, you know that many of them already have these devices, even though they are still in diapers!

Please let us know how you use these new applications or if you are considering them.  And if you have other real world examples, let us know!