What is Augmented Reality?

Is there such a thing as “too much” technology? A piece of technology that is getting stronger in the market is augmented reality. Some people describe this technology as “futuristic” and “mind-blowing”. In the next few years we might see a trend among the new digital marketing services. I am curious to hear what you think of it. Let’s start by defining the meaning of augmented reality.

According to Mashable: “Augmented reality (AR) is a live, direct or indirect, view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data”. This emerging technology has tapped into professional sports and most recently it will be helping us complete tasks that we might be clueless.

by turkletom

by turkletom

Imagine if your sport ticket could provide you with a lot more information besides where you are sitting. In India, cricket fans can activate this technology using their tickets and they are able to receive live traffic updates around the stadium, parking information and much more.

In Italy, a tech firm Inglobe Technologies launched an app using augmented reality, giving you the perfect skills of a mechanic to fix your car. Depending on the seriousness of the issue you might be able to fix the care on your own with the help of this ingenious app. From what we have seen in the news, this emerging technology is embracing the convenience and practical aspects people might be looking for. Augment reality is becoming the new problem solving technology in the next few years.

I do believe that this technology could be the game changer in the digital business and very soon different businesses will be tapping into them to interact and engage their customers on a whole different level.

What about you? Where would you like to see augmented reality being used? Do you think people will welcome this emerging technology positively? Comment on this post below with your opinion.

 

Branding in Six Seconds or Less

Recently Twitter introduced us to Vine — a mobile app that allows users to share simple and fun looping videos with a maximum length of six seconds (think of it as the Instagram of short videos). It didn’t take long for brands to become part of the conversation, but will these GIF-like videos stick around or be a quickly fading social media trend.

Photo By Esther Vargas

Photo By Esther Vargas

Many brands have been active on Twitter and have developed successful strategies for effectiveness. Similarly, a strategy must be made for Vine, determining the personality and brand voice to be used. Here are just a few examples of how digital advertisers have been successful on Vine:

Teasers
When promoting a movie or a new product launch, the six second time limit works to its advantage, only capturing a few brief moments. Rolling Stones Magazine does an awesome job engaging with their audience to guess who is featured on the cover. For its April issue, Rolling Stones teased the cover, with cigarettes covering the mystery celebrity. 

Have no idea who it could be? Don’t worry, Rolling Stones released a Vine the following day uncovering none other than Mad Men’s Jon Hamm. 

Highlight Product
Vine’s short time limit means it’s necessary to show the product or brand throughout the video. This short clip from Malibu Rum shows you don’t have to make an elaborate video to tell a story and get the point across.

Special Offers
Flashing a quick coupon in a Vine is a great way to gain attention for the account and increase views, but it also promotes the brand. Peanut Butter & Co. uses this particular Vine to showcase their coupons. The clip stays consistent with the brand personality and is relevant to consumers.

Informing
Lowe’s videos offer useful home improvement tips, in only six seconds! Their current tagline of “Never Stop Improving” is supported with these playful clips that show you how to make tiny adjustments to make your projects that much easier. #LowesFixInSix is a great example of using social media for branding.

Contests/User Generated Content
Brands can gain a lot of positive attention from user generated content, and Vine is a perfect outlet for this. The Cavendish Hotel held the first vine-only contest to see who could make the most romantic #ValentineVine. The winner won a free night in the hotel, complete with drinks and dinner.

 

Brands have to be cautious to not fall into the trap of trying to include too much content in a brief six seconds. Vine is still a relatively new marketing tactic for brands, but there is potential if done correctly. We will have to wait and see if Twitter’s Vine will bear fruit for digital advertisers.
 

— By Rachel Keeton

Have you heard of Threadlife?

Threadlife is the newest mobile video sharing app to hit the scene, created by former Zappos CEO Nick Swimurn and creative guru Ken Martin. Surprisingly, there is still a void in social media for practical mobile video sharing. Apps such as Viddy and Socialcam have tried to fill it, but neither have been able to take off in a big way.  Swimurn and Martin are hoping for Threadlife becomes the Twitter or Instagram of video sharing.

What makes Threadlife different from previous attempts is the three second video limit, called stitches. Users create three second videos and “stitch” them together to create a video montage, called threads. Because the stitches are short and sweet the videos don’t become drawn-out and viewers are less likely to lose interest. Also, instead of profile pictures, the app requires three-second profile videos. In the future, the Threadlife team plans to include tagging and location-specific information.

Only time will tell if Threadlife will take off with mobile users, but I can already see the potential the social media agency could take advantage of. How do you see Threadlife faring against previous mobile video sharing apps? Do you see yourself using it?

Marketing via Instagram

Personally, I love reading how brands interact with their customers, and there’s tons of ways to do so with all of the social networks people are on these days, but one I never would have thought of?

You probably know what Instagram is, but if not, it is a photo-sharing mobile app that allows you to put vintage filters and effects on your photos. You can follow others, gain followers, “like” photos, and even hashtag them, making them searchable, just like hashtagging tweets. There are a few companies that are capitalizing on the uniqueness and flexibility of Instagram and using it for their marketing and branding, but letting users make it their own.

Tiffany & Co.
Last year, Tiffany’s launched an Instagram campaign that has the bonus of gaining three new filters for following them – Tiffany’s blue, peach, and black and white. This campaign also calls for users to post pictures of themselves with their significant other, tagged with the hashtag #TrueLovePictures.  Tiffany & Co has also set up a website that gives a live-updating website called True Love in Pictures that shows a selection of pictures from Instagram. Not only is this allowing Tiffany & Co. fans to take part in the experience, but it always gives them relevant content.

Comodo
A Latin American restaurant in NYC’s Soho, Comodo, has made the dining experience a social one, too, by inviting diners to take photos of their meals (as Instagrammers are wont to do) and tag it with #ComodoMenu, allowing their guests to “see” dishes and help them decide what they want, and seeing what their friends recommend.

There are a few other companies taking the relatively untouched marketing territory of Instagram, but a social media agency could do a lot to engage fans of a brand by making it interactive and letting fans engage creatively like this.

iPhone 5: iOS 6 Changes Worth it?

On September 19th, Apple pushed its new iOS 6 software live. With iOS 6, came five big changes: Maps, Siri, Camera, Mail, and Passbook. Out of these changes, the changes with iOS Maps App is by far the one that has the most controversy. Google Maps, which was a pre-loaded feature, has been completely taken off the home screen of the iPhone. Once re-downloaded, the iOS Maps, now controlled by Apple and not Google, is missing points of interest feature, Google transit directions and street images. To say that’s not enough change, the Maps gives inaccurate and incorrect destinations, for instance saying that a farm in Dublin was in fact an airport, which can cause major miscommunication dilemmas for pilots.

Though iOS Maps seems to have the most controversy, the other changes have a more positive note to them. Siri can now tweet, facebook, and make reservations for you. The new Camera feature is by far the most fun to play around with. Now, users can take panoramic shots of different places they visit to the people they are with.

The Mail App now allows you to attach photos and videos straight through the app, which was not possible before. Lastly, a new pre-loaded feature on the iOS 6 software is Passbook, which allows users to be more organized when it comes to storing, boarding passes, tickets, store cards, and coupons. But the Passbook app does not automatically transfer tickets and coupons into its app, users have to download the ticket vendor’s app, the airline company’s app, or the store’s app before they can start storing their information in this app.

The biggest changes to iOS 6, to say the least, give users a mixed feeling about them. Only users can judge themselves, if they like these new features are beneficial to them. It will be interesting to see how these new features affect internet marketing’s fast-paced life.

Why Mobile Payment Applications Like Square Are the Future

Jack Dorsey. If you’re anyone who’s into social media at all, I’m sure you have heard of him. Dorsey is a founder of both Twitter and Square. He currently holds positions as Executive Chairman of Twitter and Chief Executive Officer of Square. If you’re not familiar with the company, Square is a tool that gives merchants the ability use their tablets or smartphones to process customer credit or debit transactions. Currently, Square is used by two million merchants – most of them small businesses. Merchants can swipe a customer’s credit card on the Square device (given free to merchants) or manually enter credit card information. Merchants must pay 2.75% of every transaction to Square in order to be able to use the application. Square says that it will be successful because, overall, its costs are lower than traditional credit card processors.

Business Insider gives four reasons as to why businesses should be using Square instead of conventional credit card readers:

  1. The middle man is eliminated
  2. Flat fee – 2.75% per swipe or $275 a month
  3. Analytics are provided
  4. Fast processing

Personally, I think Square is an excellent use of the tablets and smartphones that most businesses and the digital marketing company already have. Using Square is even eco-friendly! Customers have the option of receiving an electronic receipt, which can cut down of vast amounts of paper. Using a tablet or a smartphone as a tool for making payments is a use for these devices that I would not have considered previously. Are there any other uses of tablets or smartphones that you can think of that are unexpected, but have worked out well?

HOW TO: Watch the 2012 Summer Olympics Online

New this time around for the Olympics is online streaming–where anyone with a computer can log on and watch the Olympics right from their laptop or home computer! This may seem like a minor change, but in fact, it just adds to the increase in communication that the world has experienced since the last summer Olympics in 2008. The entire way the game’s highlight events and key moments have been shared is changed, and much faster at that! The combination of online streaming, twitter, facebook, and youtube has made the Olympics seem much closer to home than they actually are–halfway across the the world in London!

Now that the Olympics have all-around become a more digital and global experience, it seems only appropriate to put together a guide to streaming the Olympics, so that you too can be in the loop with the eventful (no pun intended) Olympic games!

Here are some guidelines to (legally) streaming the games live online or on your phone or tablet!

You need to have Cable!

Most online content in the US is only accessible if you have subscribed to cable or satellite. NBC streaming of the olympics is no exception. The good news? NBC has managed to work with almost all cable and satellite providers out there, so there should be no hitch in getting access!

If you don’t have cable, have no fear! You can always access the highlights on the NBC Olympics YouTube page.

If you’re in the US

In the US, NBC is the official broadcast partner of the Olympics. Therefore, NBC will air the Games on NBC and NBC-owned cable stations as well as stream more content online in real-time than they ever have before. But as usual, there’s a catch. You not only need to be a cable subscriber, but also you need to get MSNBC and CNBC. If you meet this criteria, then all you need to doo is head to NBCOlympics.com/LiveExtra and click on “Click here to get ready”. Then, follow the instructions, and you’ll be set to go!

If you can’t get to a computer, there’s always the option to watch the live streams from your iOS or Android device with the mobile NBC Live Extra app for iOS and Android. The great thing about this app is that you can use a four hour “guest pass” to the Games in case you don’t know the username or password for your cable provider.

If you’re in London

BBC is providing livestreams of the Games via the BBC Sport website and mobile apps. If you’re in the UK, you have access to every sport for up to 24 live HD streams!

BBC also has apps for iOS and Android to watch these livestreams. In addition to the livestreams, BBC will also feature results, news stories, and daily highlights for users to look over when in a hurry.

If you’re in another part of the world

Freecast.com has a streaming and TV guide for olympic coverage in over 150 countries! Also, the IOC has an official Olympic channel on YouTube that will be broadcasting the games live in territories in Asia and Africa that lack broadcast partners. This channel will also offer clips, replays, and highlights of the events.

Turns out that no matter where you are in the world, you too can be a part of this year’s “digital games”!

 

 

 

 

 

The Best of Both Worlds

Pinstagram, a free service that displays your Instagram photos in the Pinterest waterfall format. Since Instagram did not have a web or iPad application, this is the perfect pair. Pinstagram combines two of the hottest social networks into one easy to use application available on the web or iPad.

Personally, I love this new application, it makes it a thousand times easier to view your Instagram pictures. Once you sign in with your current Instagram account, your pictures are automatically displayed in the waterfall format that every Pinterest user in a costume too. This layout allows users to view more pictures at once.

Pinstagram also offers additional views of pages. For example there is your home page, most popular page, your profile page, and a page which displays the photos you have liked. Additionally Pinstagram allows users the ability to search for a specific tag.

If you have been waiting for Instagram on your Ipad, this new application offers the best of both worlds. I love that the digital world is always trying to think of the next best thing, and I think the creators of Pinstagram have found it. Everyone loves Instagram and Pinterest, so why wouldn’t you love them as one, I know I love it!

Lookout’s Mobile Threat Tracker Shows Where All the Android Malware is

Malware exists everywhere. It exists even to attack your Android phone. It’s even been seen in the Android Market at one point or another. But how big is this issue? Lookout, a company specializing in software for mobile security released a new app called Mobile Threat Tracker that allows Android smartphone users to see the location of every malware incident happening around the globe.

Lookout’s app shows streak upon streak strike with the three-dimensional spinning globe. The attacks displayed are shown close to real time as the date and time is displayed at the bottom of the screen. It gives us a good representation of how phones are becoming ideal targets for malware creators on a daily basis. Lookout also included information of the top three threats for that day and spyware vs. malware percentages.

With all this talk about the threats of malware, it looks like the ideal time to start installing a security app for your Android smartphone. Lookout might just be your solution.

Smartphone’s: Can you live without it?

Mobile phones capable of face-time video chatting, Internet browsing, social network status updating and sharing are arguable the years hottest accessory. Smartphone’s allow us to stay updated and in-touch with our friends, family and business engagements in a content rich fast-pace environment that is our World. Location based mobile search changes the way we seek information, making it easier to find the things we need, when we want, from wherever we are. A Mashable article describes the relationship between human and Smartphone as addictive, reporting that, “37% of adults and 60% of teens admit they are addicted.”

CrackBerry.com

The Smartphone has integrated itself into every aspect of our lives, evolving the way we conduct business and socialize with others. The development of sleek applications that support and maybe even encourage questionable social media habits make web browsing easier. There are mobile applications for just about everything, and we can get information about anything from just about anywhere. Technology is evolving and we are evolving with it, adapting our communication, research and sharing habits. Is it really that big of an issue? Only time will tell, but until then mobile phones will continue to improve and influence our daily habits and lifestyle.

Mashable: Are Smartphone’s Taking Over Our Lives? [Study]