Rohini Bhushan
Dec 6, 2017

The power of here and now

Blippar's Rohini Bhushan on how augmented reality is reshaping visitor engagement.

The power of here and now

In 2017 we’ve witnessed the ‘experience economy’ evolve into the virtual experience economy. The development of mobile-led AR has spurred this shift, with tech giants such as Facebook, Apple and Google throwing their hats into the ring.

Augmented reality will not only tap into consumer behaviour, but will shape it, as the appetite for consuming and creating content in the moment is set to increase. And brands need to be ready.

The signs are all there to verify such a shift. The steady rise of live video streaming on platforms such as Facebook and the continued dominance of Snapchat to create instant, ephemeral content point to a consumer desire to supplement experiences with digital enablers and quickly and effortlessly share these with friends and followers.

And nowhere is this behaviour more apparent than at events. It is now a common sight at concerts, festivals and other live events to see people with their phones out, recording videos, taking selfies, live-tweeting and Snapchatting.

Blippar's AR app provided wayfinding tools during i Light Marina Bay

The second-screen behaviour (where smartphones are used whilst we watch television) has stepped out of our living rooms and into larger arenas; where mobile phones are increasingly helping to enhance, enrich and even immortalise live event experiences.

Brands can leverage this consumer trend by creating mobile AR experiences for events. While the applications of this technology can vary, here are some common uses:

  • Wayfinding: helping event attendees navigate the location with AR, highlighting hotspots and areas of interest.

    At the recent i Light Marina Bay sustainable light art festival, organisers decided to forsake paper maps and printed brochures and instead encouraged some 350,000 visitors to access festival information via a customised Blippar app that integrated AR. More than 30 pieces of signage around Marina Bay could be scanned to access the AR content.
  • Exclusive content: nothing is more valuable than access to limited edition, behind-the-scenes content. AR makes creating and serving such content easy, scalable, and wow-worthy.

    Carlsberg Group recently teamed up with Danish band, The Minds of 99, at the popular Roskilde Music Festival to promote its Danish beer brand, Tuborg, to festivalgoers. Before, during and after the event, Tuborg cans could be scanned (via a Blippar app) to unlock festival line-ups, interviews with band members and even a live stream of the festival itself.
  • Value-add experiences: providing experiences that go beyond visitor expectations create greater engagement and interaction. The Singapore Zoo raised the stakes at its recent Zoorassic Park exhibition through augmented reality. Here, visitors were prompted to interact with the exhibition via a Blippar-enabled app that provided quizzes and games and selfie-ops with 3D dinosaurs.

The strong adoption and quick evolution of mobile technology has allowed AR to become more accessible—and this will only continue as AR technology makes its way into wearable devices.

Rohini Bhushan is the marketing and strategy manager, APAC, at Blippar, a technology company specialising in augmented reality and computer vision.

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