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?

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]

Google+ Project: The Future of Social Networking?

Search engine giant Google launched their very own social networking service on Tuesday. The Google+ Project attempts to take a bite out of, and possibly rip the head off of menacing social networking superstar Facebook. Parasitic social networking sites are rapidly invading Google’s territory, as Facebook and Twitter absorb the traffic once reserved for Google. Social networks cripple Google’s infrastructure by depriving important information from the systems used to enhance Web search and Google AdWords.

Google+ Project surpasses any other social networking attempt made by the company in the past. Standard social sharing is taken to the next level, converting the typical social networking mass communication model into a more personalized small group, real-life communication experience.Users can create separate communication groups between friends, family, acquaintances, ex-boyfriends, frenemies, roommates, running buddies, co-workers, etc., into “Circles.” Circles is a Google+ Project feature uses a drag and drop method and simplifies standard practices used on other social networks to dividing friends, foes and co-workers into individual sharing networks.

The iPhone and Android mobile applications for Google+ are very similar to the web version of Google+, making sharing and communicating easy and fluid. Users won’t have to use four different applications to share information or chat with friends in different ways. The magnitude of Google’s Web and mobile presence is enough to make smaller start-ups and mobile developers quiver in their boots. Add the element of social sharing into the mix and Google could potentially destroy its social networking competitors.

Fusing together content sharing, group video chat, video and photo sharing and a mobile app is an impressive start for Google’s social networking future. Google+ Project combines Internet social sharing habits into one centralized place where messages can be controlled and disseminated in real-life fashion. Google+ Project is still in its field trial period and more innovations and changes are expected. It will be interesting to see if Google’s search engine marketing skills will match their social media marketing abilities.

New York Times: Another Try by Google to Take On Facebook

The Google+ Project

Kidney Exchanged for Apple iPad 2

The phrase, “that’s going to cost me an arm and a leg,” typically means something is going to cost a large sum of money. For 17-year-old Zheng, a high school freshman in China, that expression took on a more literal meaning…only a Kidney.

Zheng really wanted an iPad 2, but didn’t have enough money so he did the unthinkable and sold his kidney. I’ll repeat that. He sold his his kidney. The majority of student’s would save up for this kind of purchase but Zheng couldn’t wait. After coming in contact with a kidney-selling agent on the internet he decided that risking his life for 20,000 yen ($3K USD) was a pretty great deal. Zheng had the operation, received his money and returned home with more than one new Apple gadget.

Photo: MyChinaViews.com

His mother became very suspicious and reported her son to authorities, ultimately exposing Zheng’s secret kidney transplant.The hospital Zheng claims to have had his surgery at is denying any connection to the 17-year-old and authorities haven’t been able to contact any one involved in the organ transplant fiasco.

It seems Zheng is getting the last laugh here as he enjoys his new toys. After reading this article I wondered how many illegal organ transplants go unreported? Who are the recipients of these organs? Are the iphone mobile applications worth it? How far would you go to get what you wanted? I just hope Zheng doesn’t find another organ-selling agent online and another part of his body to sell in a year when his Apple gadgets are out of date.

The Next Web: Chinese student reportedly sells his kidney to buy an iPad 2

Apple iPhone 4 hits the shelf! But what about the iAd?

They are on the news, optimized over the web and one of the most talked about manufacturers of the modern day computer. Apple Inc., based in Cupertino, California  is a leader, innovator and money maker.

With the recent release of the iPhone 4, Apple is under the radar and often the topic of technology conversation. Some choose to praise the addition of FaceTime messaging and multitasking features, while others highlight recent issues with the antenna and mobile service, however there is one new component to the Apple name that has yet to be the main topic of conversation, the iAd. It’s a mystery, that is slated to unfold today.

With a passion for the world of advertising, the iAd falls right into my area of curiosity. Yes, I have heard mention of the iAd, but before researching the component of Apple’s digital marketing, I had not a clue of the features it would offer.

Rumor has it that today will be the official roll-out of the Apple iAd, and according to Apple this program is what brands have been waiting for, “Access to the global audience of iPhone and iPod touch users.”

The iAd will be featured in Apple’s App store and as a component of third party applications. Ads will be marked with the iAd logo making iPhone, iPod and eventually iPad aware of the advertisement. The apparent goal of iAds is to create a user friendly, interactive advertisement that allows a user to act on the ad, (make a purchase, save a coupon or share with friends) without leaving the application that they have open. The ads will follow the trends of digital marketers on other platforms, such as Facebook and Google, that use demographics to determine what ads each user will see. iAds will make it possible for Apple and third party developers to make money while eliminating cost to the consumer.

With the release of the iPhone last week, and iAds this week for iPhone and iPod (The iPad iAd release has been delayed until Fall) the Apple news will continue on this steady stream. The popularity of Apple products is sure to speak volumes for the hopeful success and reach of these ads, but for now we wait to see what will come about over the iAd in the next few days, weeks and years.

I am excited to see what the iAd does for advertising campaigns, it has the potential to be an important component in the future of advertising and digital marketing. Now for all of you readers, what do you think about the iAds? And have you had the pleasure of coming across any on your iPhone or iPad applications?

Mobile Marketing: Ralph Lauren Takes Window Shopping to the Next Level

As we press forward into the future, mobile marketing is increasingly evolving. Billions of people all around the world own and use a cell phone on a daily basis. Among the evolution of mobile marketing, QR codes have recently come about. Now, for those of you who are unfamiliar with what these are let me explain. QR stands for “quick response” code where the code allows its contents to be decoded at high speed.  QR codes were created by the Japanese corporation Denso-Wave in 1994. Since then, they have emerged into the Japanese market and have become extremely popular. QR codes are still working their way into the U.S. market and are said to become more prevalent in the future.

Recently, popular designer and fashion icon Ralph Lauren has introduced QR codes into their print ads, mailers and store windows. When scanned with a mobile phone, the code directs the phone’s browser to a website where you can shop for RL products.  For those of you that are impulse buyers this could be heaven on earth. You now have the opportunity to see an item of clothing in a store window, scan the QR code with your phone and purchase the item on the spot without even stepping into the store.  Ralph Lauren hopes that QR codes will become mainstream sometime in the near future.

Rugby Ralph Lauren QR

 

While researching this topic, I found that most people are extremely skeptical about purchasing items using QR codes. Although it has become extremely popular in Asia, Americans are much more hesitant to put stock in QR codes. Many people felt that since the amount of information they had heard about QR codes was minimal, they questioned the safety of it. Also, others were hesitant about impulse buying and having to potentially whip out their credit cards on a street corner to buy a sweater.

For those of you interested in testing out QR codes here is how you would go about doing that. First, download QR reader software on your phone. (All phones aren’t supported yet so visit m.ralphlauren.com to check if your phone is compatible to download the reader).  Once you’ve downloaded the reader on your phone you can use it to scan any QR codes you see, i.e. the Rugby Ralph Lauren Store in Manhattan, New York.  Your phone will then be directed to that item’s website and you can buy it right there on the spot.

Innovative, yet skeptical this technological advancement is definitely something to be excited about. Keep a lookout for QR codes as they work their way into the U.S. market.  This breakthrough has taken the future of mobile phones to the new level. Ponder the thought, sometime in the near future, if this isn’t already the case, almost all of our personal and business transactions will have the capability to be taken care of over our mobile phones, thus, almost making it like a mini-computer. Oh the possibilities!

Out of the Loopt

Loopt is a social networking tool that enables users to connect, share, and explore using their mobile phones. On the Eco-Friendly Internship blog I previously discussed mobile marketing – Loopt offers subscribers the chance to become mobile marketers, of themselves and of places and events they recommend. An interesting feature of Loopt is that it can alert you when a friend is nearby, effectively turning your phone into a social compass. You can also use Loopt to give a heads’ up about a great place or event in your area, and in turn use your friends’ recommendations to find new activities you might enjoy. To learn more, you can take a tour.

To use Loopt, you need to first make sure that its technology will work with your phone. You also might want to check out their pricing policies, as well as your mobile providers’ messaging rates (Loopt currently requires the use of SMS text messages). Once you have established that Loopt is compatible and affordable for you, you can register your phone, verify your phone number, and download Loopt to your mobile.

Unfortunately, I was unable to finish exploring all the Loopt has to offer – upon receiving the ten digit code necessary to verify my phone number I entered it into the appropriate field but my code was rejected by the site. I re-sent the code to my mobile in the hopes that I would receive a new code, or that the site would recognize the old code if I sent it again, but still no luck. There is a forum to post questions, problems, and discussions, but in order to use it you must create yet another user account.

I’m still waiting to hear back from Loopt; until then, my social compass is out of commission.

Mobile Marketing

Whether referring to it as a wireless, cell, or mobile phone, many people would admit that they would have an extremely difficult time living without their (non-landline) phones. Gone are the days of tripping over twenty foot cords, remembering anyone’s telephone number, and of Mom picking up on the other line yet again to interrupt your two hour phone-fest with your BFF. This should be no surprise to anyone who hasn’t been on a tropical island, Castaway-style, for the last ten or so years.

More interesting is the emergence of mobile marketing, in which companies can contact their customers and vice versa using mobile phone technology. SMS (short message system) technology has enabled corporations to reach people on a medium that most have either on their bodies or extremely close to themselves all day long. In targeting users of mobile phones, marketers can more effectively reach their intended audience, and thus have a greater chance of gaining the interest of their recipients. This strategy for connecting with consumers is about to become very popular with marketers, according to the Mobile Marketing Association – so get ready for mobile campaigns to start arriving in your mobile’s Inbox.

Mobile marketing is not only an innovative way for companies to connect with consumers – it can also help to reduce consumption of paper. As part of mobile campaigns, paperless coupons for discounts on products, services, and event tickets are being sent out to mobile phone users. This is in contrast with coupons sent in e-mail messages or found on company websites, which the users must print out themselves. To receive the coupons on their mobile phone, consumers can send a message to the short (usually five digit) number advertised, and receive a reply with a coupon message or code that is enacted when they make a purchase. Kroger is just one retailer that will be going mobile with its marketing efforts, and surely won’t be the last.

Users can also subscribe to receive text messages from retailers by joining mobile communities, such as Coca Cola’s Sprite Yard, which will give people that join access to exclusive downloadable content. When used by brands that can offer perks such as games, sneak peeks of upcoming films, and sound bites from popular artists, mobile communities will appeal to a large demographic.

Marketers know that the mobile phone has become a key component for staying in touch all over the world, and are now adapting to connect with target audiences on the device that most can’t live without. How successful such efforts will be remains to be seen, but it won’t be long before mobile marketing comes to a phone near you.

Save time, paper, and cash!

Have you used a mobile coupon yet?