Opening a new window on the world with augmented reality

Smartphones have become an evolutionary appendage and the devices we cannot leave home without, presenting a huge opportunity to provide new types of immersive experiences through augmented reality, says Caspar Thykier, chief executive of Zappar

We spend on average a staggering two hours and forty minutes on mobile devices a day, according to research firm eMarketer. A Bank of America survey found 96 per cent of millennials in the United States say they cannot live without their phone – above toothpaste and deodorant. Our smartphone’s screen is the window through which we live our lives.

The proliferation of mobile devices capable of supporting augmented reality offers a new lens to explore the world. This gives businesses an opportunity to reimagine the relationship between customers and their print, products, packaging and point of sale. It connects the physical world to powerful, bite-sized digital experiences.

There is real business value on offer. It is no longer just an add-on to a marketing strategy, but an essential component of an increasingly connected world. A profound shift is on offer in the ability for businesses to connect with their customers and consumers.

Augmented reality’s unique strength is not in its reach, but in the frequency and depth of consumer engagement it delivers. At Zappar, we believe this has the potential to transform customer loyalty and sales through immersive short-form experiences. Numerous companies have shown this in practice.

A recent initiative with Rovio for The Angry Birds Movie is a case in point. The Angry Birds Action! app supporting the film’s release featured our scanning component. Products, packaging and point of sale for global partners, including Sony Pictures, McDonald’s, LEGO, PEZ, Walmart and H&M, featured BirdCodes that people could scan through the app, giving them exclusive mini-games and photo features. More than a billion BirdCodes were released globally, driving installations of the app, greater average dwell time and increased sales.

Many other diverse industries are harnessing these short-form experiences. In South Africa, petroleum company Engen printed our zapcodes on till receipts. The codes unlocked a driving game with a weekly leaderboard and data capture mechanic. Over an eight-week period Engen saw an 11 per cent uplift in sales compared with the same weeks in the previous year. This reimagining of something as uninspiring as a receipt demonstrates the massive potential.

In the education sector, organisations are augmenting workbooks for science, technology, engineering and maths learning. A fun, interactive storybook has been developed in the US, following the Rockwell family, set in a scientifically plausible future. It invites the reader to join a number of activities, and the connected experiences help children to visualise difficult concepts, interact, measure and retain knowledge.

Businesses now have the opportunity to create outstanding bite-sized experiences

We often design these immersive experiences, but we have also developed tools that enable any business or individual to do it themselves as part of our mission to democratise augmented reality. Using the ZapWorks platform, everyone from a beginner to an advanced multimedia designer can create experiences. Whichever route they choose, companies can also access metrics on how their app performed via a dashboard.

We’re in a time of tremendous change in what is possible on mobile. The potential for augmented reality is empirically proven and available today. With ZapWorks, we’re reimagining the tools to deliver the best short-form experiences fit for mobile. This opens up exciting opportunities for the next generation of digital creatives and businesses to build new ways of connecting with users.

Businesses now have the opportunity to create outstanding bite-sized experiences. They can turn their existing consumer touchpoints into multimedia channels they control and understand through improved analytics, directly connected to the device that matters most to people in their daily lives. The opportunity to rethink what’s possible on mobile and deliver increased engagement with end-users is unmissable.

To find out what augmented reality can do for you, visit www.zappar.com

Also found in Virtual Reality sponsored