Is augmented reality finally going mainstream?

I just listened to a great interview on BBC 5 live where executive chairman Andrew Fisher of Shazam explained, in non-technical terms, how the app actually works (I’ll put up a link as soon as one becomes available). Essentially, Shazam allows anyone to use their mobile devices to ‘listen’ to music they hear when they’re out and about (e.g. in clubs, pubs, out shopping) and tells users what that track is and how they can purchase it.

I just explained the ‘what’ whereas Mr Fisher very eloquently described the ‘how’ – the technical bit that most consumers don’t really care about. But that’s the point, great technology is seamless. It just works.

Shazam is great technology at its best – an example of augmented reality that helps music lovers like me to discover new tracks at the tap of a button. The UK based company has just secured a $40 million investment from Mexican telecoms billionaire Carlos and, according to the 5 live interview, the next step for Shazam is to use the technology to deliver augmented TV advertising through ad-tagging. Here’s the description from their website and there’s also an interesting post on their new TV metric for advertisers:

“Extend the reach of your commercials by using Shazam as a “second screen” companion. Give your customers single-click convenience and opportunities for interaction so they can shop, get more information or enter fun contests, all from their mobile device.”

Shazam app brings augmented reality to the mainstream

As you can tell, my lunchtime listening ticked a lot of boxes for us as a creative agency – augmented reality, TV advertising, mobile apps, second screen – and made me realise how much we’re actually working on for our clients.

So, I’ll get to my point. Having worked on delivering augmented reality solutions for a range of brands over the past 18 months, this is an interesting story but not ‘news’ in the true sense of the word to us. It is, however, a realisation that augmented reality is finally going mainstream and that consumers will only truly pick up the technology when it’s useful, engaging and seamless.

Our job, I think, is to make sure that we remain relevant and in-tune with our end-users and keep on looking for better ways to deliver useful, engaging and seamless communications regardless of the technology. The fact that I get to research the latest tech (my experience of the iOS 7 beta is another story) is a necessary added bonus.

  • Yes, AR is going mainstream but I wonder if consumers even realize it? Maybe they see it as cool technology and not as AR. Or maybe I should most consumers the benefit of the doubt. Either way it’s here and permeating into our culture which I’m excited about!

  • ricferraro_Mobile2.0

    Having attended Augmented World Expo in California last month and after speaking to over 100 brand managers in the US and Asia, I would say that “the brands get it”. With Google Glass, a lot of consumers are “getting it ” also. AR as mainstream? Give it 1 or 2 years….

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