The Role of Augmented Reality in Communications

What is Augmented Reality (AR)?

Brought truly into the public domain by ‘Pokemon Go’ back in 2016, augmented reality can be best described as: a live view with the potential for additional information to be overlaid on top. The meaning of the word ‘augment’ means to add something. In the case of AR, elements such as graphics, sounds, and touch can be added into real environments. An example of this is when drp supported Jaguar Land Rover with their internal launch of the electric Jaguar I-PACE. An AR vehicle was produced, and using iPads, delegates could see interactive information on each element of the car.

How AR can improve communications?

AR has evolved at an incredibly fast pace, over a short period of time, providing plenty of new communications opportunities for brands to explore. Many of the major brands out there such as Disney and L’Oréal have started to utilise AR as a tool to reach and engage their audiences.

Creativity plays a major role in engaging communication experiences, and audiences now expect to consistently deliver something new and better than ever before. Visual tools are also enabling brands to do this.

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The power of visual

Visual communications are on the up, as this can be seen just by scrolling through your Facebook and Twitter feeds. It was forecasted that 74% of all internet content will be video by the end of 2017. But why is this happening? Visual content has the power to make the confusing, simple. Augmented reality can help deliver complex information in a more understandable way.

Our Jaguar Land Rover internal launch did exactly this. Prior to the launch, the internal teams were given leaflets, books, presentations and reams of text to educate them on the new vehicle launch. We turned this on it’s head by creating a more visual solution that was far more engaging, and the key information was shorter, sharper and easier to understand.

The visual aspect of AR allows complex data to be shown in a more simpler way and audiences can be taken on an immersive journey, feeling like they are a part of the communication. It quite simply has the power to create and deliver better engagement and connection than other channels.

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Is AR right for the type of communication?

We really believe in the potential of AR, but it has to be the right channel for the type of communication being executed and more importantly, the audience being communicated to. At drp, we always ask the question – is augmented reality the most effective channel to communicate with audiences?

It’s worthwhile thinking about the following points:

What is the age demographic of the audience? Yes, AR has the potential to connect with audiences, but if the audience does not understand, or are not willing to get on board with AR, then we have to think is there a more traditional channel that is more effective?

Are the audience smart-device users? Typically, the older generation did not used to be smart-device users, but following Deloitte’s annual mobile report, it was found that 71% of 55-75-year olds are now using smart devices. Food for thought, maybe?

Can the communication be more effective in a simpler way? Yes, AR is currently at an early phase in the life-cycle, where it is a new technology and audiences may be attracted to the innovativeness of it, but that shouldn’t necessarily mean that AR should be used. Thinking about the audience and how they would best digest the information being communicated to them is the key to any communications solution. To summarise, I’m sure we will see a significant increase in augmented reality communications over 2018 and beyond. It really does have the power to engage and excite audiences in a way that often can’t be done with other ‘well-used’ channels. The audience always has to be at the front of the mind when choosing and delivering AR, but if done correctly, your communication effectiveness will certainly be on the up.

 

Ben Wallace – Director of drpdigital

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