Category Archives: Digital Marketing

Learn More About Triggering Augmented Reality Experiences with AR Markers

learns an markers-area and play it-chrome

We expect a continued increase in the utilization of AR in 2021. The iPhone 12 contains LiDAR technology, which enables the use of ARKit 4, greatly enhancing the possibilities for developers. When creating an AR application, developers must consider a variety of methods for triggering the experience and answer several questions before determining what approach will best facilitate the creation of a digital world for their users. For example, what content will be displayed? Where will this content be placed, and in what context will the user see it?

Markerless AR can best be used when the user needs to control the placement of the AR object. For example, the IKEA Place app allows the user to place furniture in their home to see how it fits.

1_0RtFp6lxeJWxcg5EE_wYCg

Location-based AR roots an AR experience to a physical space in the world, as we explored previously in our blog Learn How Apple Tightened Their Hold on the AR Market with the Release of ARKit 4. ARKit 4 introduces Location Anchors, which enable developers to set virtual content in specific geographic coordinates (latitude, longitude, and altitude). To provide more accuracy than location alone, location anchors also use the device’s camera to capture landmarks and match them with a localization map downloaded from Apple Maps. Location anchors greatly enhance the potential for location-based AR; however, the possibilities are limited within the 50 cities which Apple has enabled them.

Marker-based AR remains the most popular method among app developers. When an application needs to know precisely what the user is looking at, accept no substitute. In marker-based AR, 3D AR models are generated using a specific marker, which triggers the display of virtual information. There are a variety of AR markers that can trigger this information, each with its own pros and cons. Below, please find our rundown of the most popular types of AR markers.

FRAMEMARKERS

5fc9da7d2761437fecd89875_1_gXPr_vwBWmgTN5Ial7Uwhg

The most popular AR marker is a framemarker, or border marker. It’s usually a 2D image printed on a piece of paper with a prominent border. During the tracking phase, the device will search for the exterior border in order to determine the real marker within.

Framemarkers are similar to QR Codes in that they are codes printed on images that require handheld devices to scan, however, they trigger AR experiences, whereas QR codes redirect the user to a web page. Framemarkers are a straightforward and effective solution.

absolut-truths

Framemarkers are particularly popular in advertising applications. Absolut Vodka’s Absolute Truth application enabled users to scan a framemarker on a label of their bottle to generate a slew of more information, including recipes and ads.

GameDevDad on Youtube offers a full tutorial of how to create framemarkers from scratch using Vuforia Augmented Reality SDK below.

 

NFT MARKERS

?????????

NFT, or Natural Feature Tracking, enable camera’s to trigger an AR experience without borders. The camera will take an image, such as the one above, and distill down it’s visual properties as below.

AugementedRealityMarkerAnymotionFeatures

The result of processing the features can generate AR, as below.

ImEinsatz

The quality and stability of these can oscillate based on the framework employed. For this reason, they are less frequently used than border markers, but function as a more visually subtle alternative. A scavenger hunt or a game employing AR might hide key information in NFT markers.

Treasury Wine Estates Living Wine Labels app, displayed above, tracks the natural features of the labels of wine bottles to create an AR experience which tells the story of their products.

OBJECT MARKERS

image1-7

The  toy car above has been converted into an object data field using Vuforia Object Scanner.

image4-1

Advancements in technology have enabled mobile devices to solve the issue of SLAM (simultaneous localization and mapping). The device camera can extract information in-real time, and use it to place a virtual object in it. In some frameworks, objects can become 3D-markers. Vuforia Object Scanner is one such framework, creating object data files that can be used in applications for targets. Virtual Reality Pop offers a great rundown on the best object recognition frameworks for AR.

RFID TAGS

Although RFID Tags are primarily used for short distance wireless communication and contact free payment, they can be used to trigger local-based virtual information.

While RFID Tags are not  widely employed, several researchers have written articles about the potential usages for RFID and AR. Researchers at the ARATLab at the National University of Singapore have combined augmented reality and RFID for the assembly of objects with embedded RFID tags, showing people how to properly assemble the parts, as demonstrated in the video below.

SPEECH MARKERS

Speech can also be used as a non-visual AR marker. The most common application for this would be for AR glasses or a smart windshield that displays information through the screen requested by the user via vocal commands.

CONCLUSION

Think like a user—it’s a staple coda for app developers and no less relevant in crafting AR experiences. Each AR trigger offers unique pros and cons. We hope this has helped you decide what is best equipped for your application.

In our next article, we will explore the innovation at the heart of AIoT, the intersection of AI and the Internet of Things.

How to Leverage AR to Boost Sales and Enhance the Retail Experience

AR REtail Cover Image

The global market for VR and AR in retail will reach $1.6 billion by 2025 according to research conducted by Goldman Sachs. Even after years of growing popularity, effectively employed Augmented Reality experiences feel to the end-user about as explicitly futuristic as any experience created by popular technology.

We have covered the many applications for AR as an indoor positioning mechanism on the Mystic MediaTM blog, but when it comes to retail, applications for AR are providing real revenue boosts and increased conversion rates.

Augmented Reality (AR) History

Ivan Sutherland 1

While working as an associate professor at Harvard University, computer scientist Ivan Sutherland, aka the “Father of Computer Graphics”, created an AR head-mounted display system which constituted the first AR technology in 1968. In the proceeding decades, AR visual displays gained traction in universities, companies, and national agencies as a way to superimpose vital information on physical environments, showing great promise for applications for aviation, military, and industrial purposes.

Fast forward to 2016, the sensational launch of Pokemon GO changed the game for AR. Within one month, Pokemon GO reached 45 million users, showing there is mainstream demand for original and compelling AR experiences.

Cross-Promotions

Several big brands took advantage of Pokemon GO’s success through cross-promotions. McDonald’s paid for Niantic to turn 3,000 Japan locations into gyms and PokeStops, a partnership that has recently endedStarbucks took advantage of Pokemon GO’s success as well by enabling certain locations to function as PokeStops and gyms, and offering a special Pokemon GO Frappucino.

One of the ways retailers can enter into the AR game without investing heavily in technology is to cross-promote with an existing application.

In 2018, Walmart launched a partnership with Jurassic World’s AR game: Jurassic World Alive. The game is similar to Pokemon GO, using a newly accessible Google Maps API to let players search for virtual dinosaurs and items on a map, as well as battle other players. Players can enter select Walmart locations to access exclusive items.

Digital-Physical Hybrid Experiences

The visual augmentation produced by AR transforms physical spaces by leveraging the power of computer-generated graphics, an aesthetic punch-up proven to increase foot traffic. While some retailers are capitalizing on these hybrid experiences through cross-promotions, others are creating their own hybrid experiential marketing events.

Foot Locker developed an AR app that used geolocation to create a scavenger hunt in Los Angeles, leading customers to the location where they could purchase a pair of LeBron 16 King Court Purple shoes. Within two hours of launching the app, the shoes sold out.

AR also has proven potential to help stores create hybrid experiences through indoor navigation. Users can access an augmented view of the store through their phones, which makes in-store navigation easy. Users scan visual markers, recognized by Apple’s ARKitGoogle’s ARCore, and other AR SDKs, to establish their position, and AR indoor navigation applications can offer specific directions to their desired product.

Help Consumers Make Informed Choices

Ikea Place Screenshots

AR is commonly employed to enrich consumers’ understanding of potential purchases and prompt them to buy. For example, the “IKEA Place” app allows shoppers to see IKEA products in a superimposed graphics environment. IKEA boasts the app gives shoppers 98% accuracy in buying decisions.

Converse employs a similar application, the “Converse Sampler App”, which enables users to view what a shoe will look like on their feet through their device’s camera. The application increases customer confidence, helping them make the decision to purchase.

Treasury Wines Estates enhances the consumer experience with “Living Wine Labels”: AR labels that bring the history of the vineyard to life and provide users with supplementary information, including the history of the vineyard the wine came from and tasting notes.

Conclusion

AR enables striking visuals that captivate customers. As a burgeoning tool, AR enables companies to get creative and build innovative experiences that capture their customers’ imagination. Retailers who leverage AR will seize an advantage both in the short term and in the long term as the technology continues to grow and evolve.

How to Craft the Perfect Instagram Story Strategy to Promote Your Business

Instagram-Story-Ads

Instagram introduced the Story function to their platform in August 2016. Replicating Snapchat, the Instagram Story offers ephemeral visual content that disappears 24 hours after posting it.

As with the introduction of any new tool on social media, the first question a business must ask itself is: How can we leverage this new platform to promote our company, product or services?

Here are some tips to help you craft the perfect Instagram Story strategy:

GIVE A BEHIND-THE-SCENES LOOK

Instagram users expect the most touched-up and polished visual content to show up on the feed. Part of the appeal of the Instagram Story is that it offers a deeper, less polished look into the day-to-day life of the account.

Musicians take advantage of Instagram Stories by previewing snippets of new music on their stories. The fact that these stories will disappear activates a fan’s FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). If they see one of their favorite artists post to their story, they feel obligated to watch it or else they will miss out on exclusive music, otherwise they may have to wait months for an official release. Thus, it both offers a behind the scenes look and incites users to return to view more stories.

FOMO

FOMO, or Fear of Missing Out, is a form of anxiety triggered by missing an opportunity. For example, when considering whether to go to an office party or a concert, one may be more driven to go because one doesn’t want to miss out on fun than wanting to enjoy the experience.

The ephemeral nature of the Instagram Story makes FOMO a major psychological factor determining whether a user elects to watch a story or not. If the user does not watch the story, they will never see the content. Businesses want to offer exclusive deals and content through their story that are not available anywhere else. Consumers who watch stories with exclusive deals and content are thereby rewarded and are more likely to watch them in the future to get more deals.

Incorporating exclusive deals will draw more users to watch your business’s Story because—well, it’ll make them afraid of missing out. Check out Psychology Today’s deep dive into FOMO.

KEEP IT FUN, KEEP IT LIGHT, KEEP IT MOVING

Take your Instagram Story on the road. Vary up the locations where you post and it will create more excitement as users will know to expect the unexpected when they view your story. Keep it light, give it some humor. Your Instagram Story should contain content that lightens the mood and makes viewers want to return.

MAKE IT A REAL STORY

Stories have a beginning, middle and end. Instagram Stories can conform to that structure as well! If an employee is going to a convention, have them document it in their story with an introduction post explaining their agenda for the day (beginning), videos of the most salient moments of the convention (middle), and a final post that wraps everything up and summarizes what they’ve gleaned (end).

Using storytelling techniques will keep users engaged in your feed and help Stories retain viewers from beginning to end.

ANALYTICS

Reviewing analytics and evaluating the metrics is a key process in evaluating your Story’s success. Use the Insights tab to see how many views your story received, how many shares, replies, profile visits, and how long users are watching your story to evaluate its success.

One of the key analytics is Completion Rate: what percentage of users watched your story from beginning to end? Evaluating completion rate, as well as Taps Forward, which shows when users tapped forward on a slide to see the next image, will help you determine whether your ideal posts per day are 2 or 12.

BE CONSISTENT

Consistency is key in social media. It takes time to develop a voice and even more time and effort to develop an audience. With a combination of a good strategy, solid content, and consistency, your business can leverage Instagram Stories to entice your customers and expand its reach.