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.

 

I Fought the Law and Social Media Won

We’ve all heard the warnings to be conscientious about what we decide to post on our social networks. Personally, I just make sure I don’t post anything that my grandma won’t like. But it seems more and more people are running into trouble with the law because of what they’ve posted on their pages. Last month there were two separate cases of Twitter users threatening President Obama. One was a teenage girl who is being investigated by the Secret Service and the other was an adult male who was arrested. Another teenage girl maybe in trouble with police for faking her own kidnapping on her Twitter account. Not only did she become a trending topic, #helpfindkara, but she also launched a full police search for her.

Not surprisingly people all over the world want police to use social media more to help fight and prevent crime. At the moment the majority of officials rely on one way forms of communication such as newspapers, televisions, and radio; social media would allow them to investigate faster and more efficiently. Social media users share personal information and obviously feel comfortable sharing a lot more, if the above cases are any indication, so it only seems natural that police use that to their advantage. How do you feel about the police using social media; should they be allowed to access people’s private content on these networks?

Me and my laptop, strolling down the avenue

I like my laptop. I mean, I REALLY like my laptop. I was recently asked what is the one thing I couldn’t live without and I said, yes, “My laptop.” I wasn’t entirely kidding. I rely on it quite a bit in addition to things like, oh, food, water, oxygen, shelter, and clothing.

Image: freedigitalphotos.net

It’s hard to believe I didn’t own a laptop until about five years ago. “Are you crazy?” a friend asked me in my pre-laptop days. “Why don’t you have one? You seriously need one! It’s awesome!” I didn’t understand what she meant then, but I do now.

My laptop is my “all in one” device. I use it for practically everything related to creating and consuming media — Internet browsing, sending/receiving
e-mail, writing copy, editing video, watching DVDs, listening to music, etc.

Then, there’s the portability. I use my laptop at the digital marketing firm where I work, at home, the library, the coffee shop, etc. The fact that I can take it wherever aids in productivity — a change in location will usually reinvigorate me if I’m working on a project and I start to lose focus.

My first laptop was a Dell. I used it for a few years before buying a MacBook Pro. It was a huge upgrade! The difference is in the hardware — the screen is much clearer and brighter, the speakers are superior, the trackpad is easier to maneuver, there’s a built in memory card slot, etc. I’ve always liked Apple products, but I have so much more regard for them now.

It’s interesting how we form attachments to products. I take note when Apple introduces new merchandise and people wait outside the company’s stores for days to buy it. I can’t see myself doing that, but I do have some understanding why the company inspires such loyalty and even fanaticism. I spend so much time on my laptop doing so many different things that it’s hard not to feel at least some connection to both Apple products and the Apple brand.

Row, row, row your show, gently down the stream

Online video streaming is pretty convenient, wouldn’t you say?

I now stream most of my entertainment online which is why I haven’t been inside a video store in years. A trip to the video store used to be such a routine part of enjoying TV shows and movies. Now, the concept almost seems archaic – driving to the store, browsing the shelves, waiting in line to check out a DVD, having to return a film to the same location, etc. And don’t forget late fees! Oh, those late fees!

Image: freedigitalphotos.net

What had been a successful business model for years began to erode once the concept of online streaming caught on with the public and the amount of available content became extensive. Blockbuster, once the nation’s dominant provider of home video and video game rental services, filed for bankruptcy in 2010. My independent neighborhood video store closed long before that.

I’ve been a Netflix member for a few years now, and I subscribe to their streaming service. I’m fond of documentary programming and they have an extensive selection of shows from National Geographic, Discovery, and History Channel. I’ve also watched several cable TV shows via streaming – “Mad Men,” “Weeds,” “Louie,” etc.

It’s been interesting to observe Netflix’s business model change as a result of streaming. When I first joined, the company primarily handled DVD rentals. Their streaming selection was limited and it was included as a bonus to members. Now, their offerings are vast and feature many newly released mainstream movies. The service now holds real value, and so I can understand why Netflix recently began offering streaming as a separate service.

And then there’s YouTube. I admit that I’ve enjoyed all the top viral videos along with what seems like the rest of the general viewing public – “Chocolate Rain,” “Friday,” “Charlie Bit My Finger,” etc. I’m amazed that a family video of one brother biting another brother can be viewed 484 million times!

I love the controlled chaos of YouTube. It’s like decades of pop culture exploded and landed on the site. YouTube satisfies whatever random thing happens to enter my head at any given time on any given day – a favorite scene from a movie, a song I enjoyed when I was a teen. It’s rare that I can’t find something.

Again, streaming comes down to convenience and accessibility, concepts the digital marketing agency knows well. If the mantra of today’s consumer of news and entertainment is “I want what I want when I want it,” then providers like Netflix and YouTube are happy to oblige.

Much Anticipated iPhone 5 Announced

As you probably already are aware, the iPhone 5 was announced yesterday. The device has been a long time coming, especially after the 4S release last October that many consumers thought was going to be the 5. Tim Cook kicked off the keynote with an update about Apple’s retail presence. Although Apple’s new Barcelona store looked amazing, I don’t know about you, but I was anxious to hear about the new iPhone. Eventually, Cook went on to describe the new device. The new iPhone will have a display larger than its predecessor. The display is a gorgeous 4-inch retina display with a 16:9 aspect ratio – perfect for watching movies! It is 18% thinner than the iPhone 4s and 20% lighter. iPhone 5 will work on 4G LTE networks, meaning blazing fast download times. Some other notable new features are an improved camera, faster processor, and a new dock connecter named “Lightning”.

The iPhone 5 will be available for pre-order on September 14, and it ships on September 21, the same day the device is available for purchase at retail outlets. It holds the same pricing scheme as the previous model, with the base model starting at $199 for 16 GB. I know I will be pre-ordering the device. Although I know I want one, and it is certainly one of the best smartphones currently on the market, I can’t help but have the same view as Wired’s Mat Honan. The iPhone 5 manages to be both amazing and boring at the same time. All of the updates are what were expected (or similar), and nothing revolutionary was announced. However, I will still be purchasing the device and am super excited about it, and so is one of my co-workers at the digital agency. Is the smartphone market becoming so saturated, that we are no longer thrilled by something that has become so embedded in our daily lives?

Holy Storage Space, Batman!

I’m amazed at the dramatic increase in digital storage capacity in the last decade and a half. I was going through my storage unit one day last week after work at Ingenex Digital Marketing, and I came across my old SyQuest disk. I bought it for a desktop publishing class in the mid-90s, and I used it to save flyers and other print materials I had designed. The disk is a removable hard drive that measures 5.25 square inches — huge by today’s standards. Despite its size, however, it holds a mere 44MG, or megabytes. It was the largest storage unit I had at the time.

Image: freedigitalphotos.net

Now, I carry a 1GB, or gigabyte, flash drive in my backpack for whatever miscellaneous items I might want to upload/download — text documents, photos, etc. I also have a 500MB external hard drive that mostly contains image files. And then I own a 2TB, or terabyte, external hard drive, which I use exclusively for videos. I was curious on the size differences so I asked my friend, a math teacher, to do the calculations.

1,000K = 1MB
1,000MB = 1GB
1,000GB = 1TB

Therefore…

1GB is about 23 times(x) 44MB
500GB is 11,500x 44MB
2TB is 46,000x 44MB

Needless to say, that’s a huge jump in only 15 years! But, what does this mean as far as the larger social picture? I wasn’t sure, so I pulled in one of my co-workers here at Ingenex. Her blunt assessment: we’re a culture that likes to accumulate “stuff” and all this space encourages us to acquire more “stuff.” (Truth be told, she used the other “s” word.) She mentioned, as an example, that she has saved every paper she ever wrote in college. She admitted that she doesn’t need to hold onto the documents, and hasn’t read many since the time of her studies.

Personally, I take hundreds of digital photos whenever I go on a trip. I store the photos on the 500MB hard drive I mentioned, but rarely look at any. Actually, a lot of the images aren’t even that great — I’ve been known to take snapshots of trash. It was interesting at the time! And then there’s music. I’ve downloaded hundreds of songs over the years. I’ll hear a song playing in a store or on the radio while driving, and I’ll acquire the track soon after. More often than not, I’ll listen to it once or twice before losing interest.

So, why do we keep all this unnecessary digital material? What compels us to hold onto so much, as my co-worker calls it, “stuff?” Because we can! The technology is available and we gladly use it — which reminds me of an old Doritos commercial. The tagline went: “Go ahead and crunch. We’ll make more.” Well, the producers of digital storage could very well amend the slogan to: “Go ahead and store. We’ll add more space.”

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 Summer Olympics: Being Reshaped by Social Media

What’s the first thing I did when I found out one of the University of Michigan’s own Samuel Mikulak made the US Olympic gymnastics team? Added him on Facebook of course! The 2012 Olympics are being named by some as the “first social Games”. There’s no doubt that social media drives conversation and newl, and it’s only grown more influential in the past four years. Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube will likely play an exceptional role in how information is distributed from London, and how the conversation is driven throughout the Games.

So what’s the difference between this year’s games and the summer Olympics before it? Four years–and that’s an eternity in Interntet time! Social media has truly exploded, as well as general web use. In 2008, there were approximately 1.5 billion internet users globally, and that number has swelled to 2.3 billion users this year. That’s one third of the the worlds total population!

For more of an idea on just how and why social media will reshape the Olympics as compared to 2008, we’ll take a look at the top 3 social media networks out there, and see just how much 4 years has changed them.

FACEBOOK

2008: Facebook reached 100 million users, and passed Myspace in popularity (Wow, was 4 years ago really that long ago..?!) The chat feature was also introduced this year, while simultaneously taking over AIM and other chat sites with it’s convenience.

Today: Facebook claims more than 900 million users–that’s a growth of 900% in a mere 4 years! The network’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg, becomes a global celebrity, while Facebook becomes a publicly traded company.

TWITTER

2008: This was a year of explosive growth, and they finished the year with 6 million users, and 300,000 tweets a day.

Today: The network now has 500 million users, who collectively send more than 400 million tweets every day! News breaks on the network regularly, and it’s a prime marketing channel for many athletes. Likely London 2012 conversation among media and fans will take place on this network as well.

YOUTUBE

2008: By fall of this year, users were uploading 10 hours of video/minute. This site emerged as the “it” site for video sharing, and had been bought by Google in 2006, which just increased it’s popularity. They also launched their mobile site this year.

Today: It’s no doubt that the most memorable Olympic moments will go viral on this network the moment they are aired on television. The company receives over 800 million unique vistis per month, and those visitors watch over 3 billion hours of video per month, while also uploading 72 hours of video/minute. The growth here is truly iconic.

So what?

After looking at the top three social media sites, one may wonder what that has to do with the Summer Olympics. Well-everything! This summer, expect to receive the latest Olympic news not from your favorite TV reporter, but instead from a social media network just as soon as it happens. The moments of this years Olympics will live on as was never possible before thanks to social media.

Who knows what the Summer 2016 Olympics will bring, but for now, enjoy all of the convenience and fun social media has to offer, because it’s events like this where it really matters!

iPad App Deja Revealed Today

iPad’s are awesome and the applications are even better. I read about Deja, a new and highly anticipated iPad application last night that released today. I woke up excited because Deja is said to be similar to one of my favorite and most used apps, Flipboard. Flipboard is an app that beautifully arranges a completely customizable database of a users favorite websites, Twitter, Flickr, magazines and other online publications into a newspaper or magazine like layout. Then allows you to “flip” through different pages and view organized content seamlessly within the app. It is said that Deja does for videos what Fliboard does for photos and text and that is something to be excited about, after all Flipboard was named, “App of the Year,” in 2010.

I downloaded the app this morning and was instantly attracted. Videos are extracted from my Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google and RSS accounts, then compiled into a sleek and user-friendly design. Videos are updated accordingly and the sharing option is easier than ever. Users can share content on Twitter, Facebook or to email. Deja is what an iPad app should look and feel like. The interface displays tiles you can swipe threw zoom in on, and watch. Deja has a feature called ‘fling,’ where you can take whatever video you’re watching via Deja on the iPad, and view it on a TV connected to Apple TV.

You can search and view video’s, easily make playlists, view related videos, save and share in one place. It is beautiful and innovative but also very new. There are a lot of bugs and Deja crashed on me almost every time I used the app. I usually get very frustrated when something doesn’t work but I think Deja has serious potential and I can put up with it for now. A lot of time, effort and $200K of funding went into the Apps development and I really don’t think it’s going to fail. I’m hoping that the iPad 2’s video recording capabilities will help provoke the development of an option to upload videos directly to Deja. I want more customizable options for account preferences and I am also wondering if there are any privacy concerns. Deja has the potential to be a great social media marketing tool and I am interested to see how the iPad application evolves.

Virtual Tradeshow Experience LIGHTFAIR 2011

It’s back! The second annual Virtual Tradeshow Experience for LIGHTFAIR 2011 is here and in full swing.The digital agency Ingenex redesigned last year’s Virtual Tradeshow website for LIGHTFAIR International 2011.

Commercial and architectural lighting companies congregate once a year to attend the largest lighting industry event in the world. The creation of the Virtual Tradeshow Experience allows curious people and potential customers to jump in on the action from LED manufacturer OSRAM Opto Semiconductors booth at the tradeshow and conference. LED fans can even enter to win an iPad 2!

The Virtual Tradeshow Experience for LIGHTFAIR 2011 engages and connects customers with each other through easy to find links to OSRAM’s YouTube Account and Facebook fan page, creating conversation about the event, OSRAM and their products. Viewing my Facebook news feed provides an example of how effective social media is during an event. I was surprised that an article or post regarding LIGHTFAIR 2011 appeared more than a couple times on the same page.

Before the start of LIGHTFAIR 2011 there were informational videos on the Virtual Tradeshow Experience website educating viewers on LED’s and Solid State Lighting technology from OSRAM. This was important to build a “buzz” about LIGHTFAIR 2011 before the event and provided individuals much like myself, who are illiterate when it comes to LED technology, an easy to understand overview of LED technology while igniting my curiosity about the product.

Ingenex sent a team of three to Philadelphia, PA to LIGHTFAIR International 2011 which takes place May 17th – 19th. The team has been working to upload photos, create and edit video, keeping viewers engaged and updated during the event.

During LIGHTFAIR 2011 interviews from OSRAM employees and other important people in the lighting industry were filmed, edited and uploaded to the website right from OSRAM’s booth on the showroom floor. Web viewers were not forced to wait until after the tradeshow to hear industry leader’s opinions about up and coming lighting technology and about OSRAM.

Photos are also updated daily from OSRAM’s booth at LIGHTFAIR 2011. There are images of various LED displays showcasing new technologies including SSL and Horticultural LED Lighting. There are also photo displays showcasing indoor home LED lighting solutions and other LED lighting applications.

Ingenex creatively and interactively engaged customers to help build brand awareness and establish a lasting presence in the lighting industry and online community. I am curious to see what other photos, interviews and news stories will be posted during LIGHTFAIR 2011 and I can’t wait to see what innovations the Virtual Tradeshow Experience website will have next year.