AR Makes its Mainstream Debut

On Tuesday, Apple released iOS 11 to the public, and with it came a slew of new augmented reality based apps, thanks to ARKit. These apps really only work on iPad Pro’s, and any iPhone 6s or later, but feel free to give them a shot if you have something from before that time. What makes those new cameras so special is that they allow for a tactic called “world tracking” in which the cameras sensors are able to digitally map the room, in order to seamlessly interact with it.

It’s no secret that many believe AR is ushering in the next great phase of computing, so let’s take a look at what people have been doing in the few days since this release, where it could go from there, and how it may help your brand.

The three main use cases we’ve found to generate the most traction revolve around commerce, utility and games. Ikea’s Place app is what an average user may first thinks about when they hear AR – offering the user the ability to place virtual furniture around their house, to see what it looks like before they buy. Wayfair and a few third party apps offer similar type of experiences. Aside from furniture, there are many other commerce based apps that offer the same type of functionality. Edmunds allows you to envision what a new car may look like in your garage, and a slew of clothing companies are soon to release apps that allow the user to virtually try on clothes or accessories.

The second use case revolves around utility. How can AR enhance your daily lives? One of the most simple, yet time saving applications comes in the form of a virtual ruler. AR MeasureKit allows you to virtually measure the real world. TapMeasure takes this a step further by allowing users to create floor plans and 3D room models. It’s only a matter of time before “Millennials are killing the tape measure” becomes a trending article on BuzzFeed.

We’re also given virtual weather apps that display information in more user friendly way, fitness apps that allow athletes to visualize and share their actual running or biking routes, and many more to come.

The third category that we’ve seen AR apps generate traction in, is gaming & creativity. This may be one of the best ways to display AR’s prowess, and brands should look to partner with games that align with their values. From simple based games like Stack to storyline based games like Splitter Critters, AR’s functionality is well showcased. There are also apps like Paint, allowing users to digitally paint and draw all over physical objects in their home. Take a screen shot and save that image for later, or just show off your talents to your friends.

Implications

AR is still in it’s very early stages, but we’re already seeing the benefits that these experiences can have on consumers. Moving forward, where will these AR capabilities live? Recently, reports came out that Amazon was working on smart glasses to incorporate its Alexa assistant in, joining the likes of Apple, Facebook, and Google who have all been reported to have similar projects underway. While AR got it’s start on the smartphone, it’s end will be in a socially acceptable pair of glasses or contacts, theoretically killing the smartphone.

As a brand, if you want to stay ahead of the competition, and plan for this day, you must take steps now to figure out how your AR experience is going to resonate with consumers. It’s not so much about creating and pushing content, but enhancing your user’s ability to do so themselves.

Give your users the tools they need to interact with your brand. Whether that’s virtual furniture to play around with in their house, digital clothing to try on, or replications of art to hang on their wall is dependent on the brand. The more they interact with your tools, the more brand affinity they’ll have. AR is the perfect playground to showcase that.

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