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You don’t need IKEA’s budget to try augmented reality

Augmented reality is a useful marketing tool to keep consumers engaged, but many shy away from it because it looks expensive. Here’s how to do it on a budget.

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What is augmented reality?

Have you heard the term “augmented reality” (AR) in discussions about print and digital media? If you haven’t yet, you will, as this is the newest, coolest way to make catalogs, websites, and photos interactive and engaging. In its most basic definition, augmented reality is when you have a photo or video that represents real life and then you overlay a computer-generated image or design on top, seen through a smartphone or tablet’s camera, to create one intricate and intriguing piece. Augmented reality can be used to clarify or explain an image, add an improving element, or to encourage the viewer toward appropriate action, like purchasing something in the picture.

Excellent AR example: IKEA’s 2013 catalog

One great example for a company embracing the concept of augmented reality is Ikea. Earlier this year, we covered Ikea’s 2013 catalog, which has full augmented reality integration. And since then, many other companies have done the same in their own businesses, in one way or another. Ikea’s 2013 catalog, according to their online teaser, will allow users to view the physical catalog and scan their favorite pages with their phone.

When a page is scanned, and the proper Ikea app is downloaded, users will be able to see exclusive content, such as additional photos, decorating inspiration involving the piece of furniture, and even have videos that wouldn’t be accessible without the catalog and the app. All in all, Ikea has created a uniquely interactive catalog that beautifully combines digital and print.

How you can try out AR on a budget

Now don’t think that this means you have to compete with Ikea because you want to try out some form of augmented reality. And you don’t have to have Ikea’s budget to do it, either. That’s where The Layar Creator comes into the picture as one budget-conscious measure to implement AR into your marketing. You don’t have to hire a team of developers to do this for you; you can do all by yourself. Layar Creator is a web-based application that guides you through uploading images, choosing and including digital buttons onto that page, and, of course, helps you layer your page to give it a little a kick of flavor and individuality.

Your publications, flyers, catalogs, or any print pages no longer have to be static and boring. Make them dynamic and see the difference in your professional and consumer-based reception. Your company isn’t one-sided and flat, so why should your media be? Express yourself and your company’s goals through augmented reality and let your company stand out from the crowd.

The American Genius Staff Writer: Charlene Jimenez earned her Master's Degree in Arts and Culture with a Creative Writing concentration from the University of Denver after earning her Bachelor's Degree in English from Brigham Young University in Idaho. Jimenez's column is dedicated to business and technology tips, trends and best practices for entrepreneurs and small business professionals.

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Lory Watermann Prestidge

    October 17, 2012 at 10:45 pm

    By putting it on a cd and distributing that? Or how?

  2. AgentGenius

    October 18, 2012 at 10:25 am

    Hey Lory, in the story, visit the link to Layar, and the link to the IKEA catalog story; they will show you how you can use it in print – definitely not on a cd. The idea is to add an interactive layer to something a consumer has in their hand. 🙂

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Tinder creators launch Ripple, a professional networking app void of pros

(TECH NEWS) Ex-Tinder employees have come together, backed by Match.com, to create a swipe-based professional network, but we don’t plan on giving it a second date.

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In 2015, we discussed briefly the possibilities of taking the dating app’s and repurposing them for professional networking. What if finding professional connections was as easy as finding a date on Tinder? Tinder (executives) literally heard us because they have introduced a solution in their new mobile app called Ripple.

Not to be confused with Ripple the cryptocurrency, Ripple the app is a professional networking tool that literally feels like Tinder.

As it should, the former CTO, Director of Engineering, and Lead Designer of Tinder all make up the founders, along with Mike Presz from Match.com. People who make good dating platforms came together for a professional networking solution that they hope makes networking easier, more natural, and more modern. I took the liberty of signing up for a few days and experimented with the app and I have a few things to say about it…

The good?

Design. Design. Design. The app has a luxuriously simple UI, and is fabulously easy to use. If you even tried Tinder for six minutes, you’ll be able to use this app. The use of symbols, big images, and easy UI is great. The application navigates simply.

It’s fantastic. It’s minimal, it’s content oriented, the interest categories are so good (but they could be better – no interest in process improvements? Go learn about Six Sigma) LinkedIn should look it. The profile set up takes no time at all, about five minutes and you’re ready to go.

But that’s about it.

Everything that’s not good? Everything else.

This is probably because the app is new, but there is nothing going on for the US market. I saw a lot of European professionals and professional groups, but zero people in my area, a major US metropolitan area also called Dallas-Fort Worth. The lack of content and the lack of professionals means the app has nothing.

I can’t rate group experience or say I met the mentor of my professional dreams because no one is on it. Which leads me to ask: What’s next?

The branding, marketing, and advertising for this app are going to have to take off. This is a beautiful product, but the lack of content makes it a pretty dull use. I had to actively remind myself to use it, and I’m in a serial relationship with LinkedIn.

Basically, no second date for me with Ripple until they get… something to happen.

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The cutest part of CES was Sony’s AI robot doggo, Aibo

(TECH NEWS) The Consumer Electronics Show revealed the technologies that are dominating and will dominate the market, with Sony’s AI puppers stealing the show.

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One of the most endearing items to emerge from CES this year was Sony’s revamped robot dog, Aibo.

Aibo’s first unveiling in 1999 featured a blend of emergent Sony technology, such as their Memory Stick and companion operating system. By the time of its demise in 2006, the Aibo was equipped with a large vocabulary (it could speak 1,000 words) and could interact with an owner’s commands and motion. The computerized canine wasn’t limited to just the realm of their traditional counterparts, however – the 2006 model of the Aibo could take pictures from the eye-embedded camera system, play music, and write blogs.

Equipped with more personality and a better interactive capability with its environment, the 2018 Aibo looks more like a real dog as well.

Composed of 4,000 parts and OLED-screen eyes to more authentically mimic movements, Sony says it relies on sensor systems and embedded cameras akin to those in self-driving cars to provide as close to an authentic experience as they can. The cameras, located in nose and tail, allow the robot to learn its way around the house and to deliver it back to its charging station once the two-hour charge runs out.

Reviewers at CES noted that the updated version of the Aibo was very “puppy-likem” barking and scampering with unlimited energy.

The current model is also touch responsive on its head, back and under its chin, allowing the user to give “puppy love” in a way that mimics that of what real dogs like.

Perhaps proving that Aibo is capable of acting more and more like a real dog, the robot canine was unresponsive to commands from Sony CEO Kazuo Hirai on stage at its unveiling, prompting Hirai to return Aibo to Sony staff quickly.

Slated to go on sale in Japan later this year, the dog isn’t cheap, priced at nearly $1,800, but does find itself selling into a dedicated Aibo fanbase from its earlier issue and a consumer market which is hungrier and more accepting for interactive experiences of this type of poo-free pet ownership.

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Tech News

Lyft offers test rides in their autonomous cars – how’d it go?

(TECH NEWS) Lyft let passengers roll around Vegas in their self-driving cars, and surprisingly, no shocking viral videos resulted.

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If you haven’t been paying attention to the progress of self-driving cars, you’re in for a shock – they’re closer to a daily reality than you might think. As part of this year’s CES conference, Lyft offered test rides in a handful of their autonomous cars, and the results were reportedly decent.

Unlike other companies’ public tests in the past, Lyft’s demonstrations consisted of normal passengers taking normal routes in Las Vegas; there was little in the way of preemptive route control, meaning that the tests were as authentic as possible. Passengers were able to board autonomous Lyfts from the Las Vegas convention center, with some testers traveling well over three miles with minimal operator interference.

The cars themselves are designed by Aptiv, which is a technology company heretofore unaffiliated with Lyft.

While both companies are aware of the potential for flaws and the need to iron them out before production begins en masse, test riders reported that the cars were able to anticipate and respond to a myriad of traffic conditions (for example, slowing down to allow a faster vehicle to merge); this bodes well for the 2020 goal that many autonomous car companies have set.

Naturally, there were a few kinks in the cars’ respective operations, including yellow light confusion and some other finessing issues, wherein the cars’ human operators had to intervene.

The technology behind self-driving cars is only part of the equation, however. As autonomous vehicles become more commonplace, cities will have to adapt to accommodate them.

This process will most likely include things like redefining road architecture, legislation regarding car use (at the moment, autonomous cars must always have a driver in them), and implementation of smart technology.

There’s also the matter of public perception. While most of the reports from the Lyft demo in Las Vegas were positive, the fact remains that plenty of people will be skeptical of new technology – as well they should be, since any emerging technology is bound to make a few bad headlines before it evens out.

How Lyft counters this perception will be key in determining the future of its autonomous fleet, and perhaps even the future of autonomous cars as a whole.

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