Augmented Reality – Mobile Marketing Infusion

* Real-time enhancement of reality, connecting the “offline” world with the “online” world.

* Real-time creation of a more integrated experience between those two worlds.

* Real-time enriching our surroundings with meta-data through our mobile devices.

I do believe these are the opportunities and purposes where Mobile Marketing and the role of mobiles devices have been waiting for, enabled by: Augmented Reality.

Augmented Reality is defined as follow on Wikipedia:

“Augmented reality (AR) is a field of computer research which deals with the combination of real-world and computer-generated data (virtual reality), where computer graphics objects are blended into real footage in real time. The term is believed to have been coined in 1990 by Thomas Caudell, an employee of Boeing at the time.

At present, most AR research is concerned with the use of live video imagery which is digitally processed and “augmented” by the addition of computer-generated graphics. Advanced research includes the use of motion-tracking data, fiducial markers recognition using machine vision, and the construction of controlled environments containing any number of sensors and actuators. […]”

Mobile marketing has been predicted to be a -future- trend. Looking at figures released by eMarketer and other firms, mobile is growing, advertising budgets and the usage are on the rise.

Still, I don’t think mobile marketing has found its true destiny and purpose.

Thinking in terms of SWOT- and Five-Forces-analysis, the PLC etc, there are challenges to overcome like the regulatory and infrastructural restrictions, substitutes, changing consumer behavior and so on.

Is the value proposition of mobile usage optimal and significantly differentiated?

But what if the mobile device is going to provide new experiences, integrate and enhance the two worlds in a much more relevant, useful, entertaining and unique way, powered by Augmented Reality? 

It will infuse business oppertunities, mobile usage and its value proposition and the benefits / needs of a  real-time connection for the mobile users.

Fundaments must be set in motion to advance this innovation cycle, which is already happening of course.

Just a few examples:

* Apple is going to allow developers to release Augmented Reality applications when iPhone OS 3.1. is rolled out,

* Investments in technology and applications by innovative companies (f.e. look at the initiatives by AT&T) and

* The 27 telecom ministers of the European Union have agreed on new laws which will arise a bigger mobile market.

Many fields and industries can benefit from Augmented Reality and the unique experiences it will create for their users, think about industries like gaming, real-estate, travel, GPS, retail, and many more which can tap into the seemingly endless creation of applications (through mobile).

Universities and innovators are already working on applications, below you’ll find three examples, the first one relates to GPS, the second is a great real-estate application and the third is a social tagging service.

What is your opinion and view on Augmented Reality in relation to Mobile Marketing?