Enhancing the real world with Augmented Reality

Augmented reality can be used in hundreds of different ways in the AV industry. We pick out a selection of innovative projects to highlight where the technology is headed next.

Augmented reality has for some time had to live in the shadow of virtual reality (think headsets such as Oculus or Samsung Gear), a similar technology it’s often confused with. 

To clarify, AR enhances the user’s current perception of reality, by contrast VR replaces the real world with a simulated one.  Whilst potential hardware sales of AR systems are not as impressive as the ones for VR (4 million sales versus 20m in 2018, according to analysts CCS Insight), the joint market for AV and VR hardware will be worth a staggering $4bn (approximately €3.6bn) by 2018. 

The attraction for the AV sector is in the sheer breadth of industries looking to use AR, from medical to retail, from automotive to corporate.

Retail has been one of the first and most visible advocates of AR. UK supermarket chain Asda,  which is a subsidiary of American retail giant Walmart, has been a repeat user of AR.  Last  October it ran an AR campaign around Halloween, with shoppers using Zappar’s AR app platform, to take part in a monster treasure hunt.

Asda followed that up with a football competition in conjunction with chocolate brand Mars.  Bep Dhaliwal, trade communications manager at Mars Chocolate UK, said: "It’s no longer just enough to put your brand on a shelf in the hope that your packaging stands out more than competitors.  Mars prides itself in creating engaging campaigns for consumers and now we’re extending that to in-store activity using the latest technology."

Zappar has also just completed a large AR project for French supermarket chain Carrefour based around the launch of the Minions children’s movie, which saw 1.5m interactions throughout the campaign.
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