For the uninitiated, augmented reality (AR) is a technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a users view of the real world, providing a composite view.
As you can imagine, the ability to overlay graphics is a huge advantage for event organisers, giving visitors an immersive way of exploring products and services in a crowded exhibition hall, increasing average dwell time.
Far from being a novelty feature, this application revolutionises the way audiences engage with the real world, and is set to change the way we receive information forever.
Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality have exploded for $1.1 billion in investment in 2016 and the technology is still considered the origins of the future of computing.
AR has been used at events across the world to actively engage a brand's audience not only with the stand, but with the LED wall directly by combining the two technologies.
But what is AR and how does it work?
Augmented reality is the integration of digital information with the user’s environment in real time.
Augmented reality apps are written in special 3D programs that allow the developer to tie animation or contextual digital information in the computer program to an augmented reality marker in the real world.
When a computing device’s AR app or browser plug-in receives digital information from a known marker, it begins to execute the marker’s code and layer images on top of reality.
One of the first commercial applications of AR technology was the yellow first down line that began appearing in televised football games in 1998.
Google glass and heads-up displays in car windshields are perhaps the most well-known consumer AR products, but the technology is used in many industries including healthcare, public safety, gas and oil, tourism and marketing.
Various technologies are used in Augmented Reality rendering including optical projection systems, monitors, hand held devices, and display systems worn on the human body.
AR applications for smartphones ordinarily use a Global Positioning System (GPS) to pinpoint the user's location and its compass to detect device orientation. Sophisticated AR programmes used by the military for training may include machine vision, object recognition and gesture recognition technologies.
The use of augmented reality is something we are starting to see a lot of at exhibitions and events - specifically technology that allows you to print products to come alive when viewed through a phone or more recently, on smart glass technology such as Google Glass and Sony Smart Glasses that overlay graphics onto your view.
We’ve seen some incredible applications of demos, videos and experiences that help brands differentiate themselves at exhibitions and events.
We believe that some of the best ways to incorporate augmented reality into your event include registering attendees with face recognition and connecting social profiles with their virtual badge, integrating floorplans into applications to make it easy to navigate a crowded exhibition and being able to point a phone at a stand to view all relevant information, reviews and discounts on products and services.
Augmented reality could help you get contact information faster than ever before. A business card could show you far more information that it usually can by simply scanning it with your smartphone. It could potentially connect you to their Linkedin profile or add their office number automatically to your contacts.
Augmented reality could also be used to display more information about your products when they are scanned, or even display products that are not present at your event.
You could create the next hit game with augmented reality. Think Pokemon Go - invite your audience to follow or collect cute characters, items or your very own products to entice them into your event.
As you can see, the creative possibilities are endless