Typically of a city renowned for the quick uptake of new technology, augmented reality has firmly made its mark in Dubai with the launch this month of the beautiful Porsche designed Blackberry P’9981.
The smartphone comes with Blackberry’s own augmented reality app, Wikitude, built in. Obviously, it is not only the rare owners of the Porsche designed smartphone (which looks like it will retail at around $2,000 and is only available in the Porsche shop) who use Wikitude. Voted best Augmented Reality Browser for three years in a row (2009, 2010, 2011), Wikitude has over 150 million places and interactive content.
So why has augmented reality become such a massive hit? Go back a couple of years and many were talking of its early demise. But, as with other cutting edge technology that couldn’t find it’s audience, the increasingly powerful smartphone market has allowed it to flourish.
AR apps like Wikitude gives users the tools to create their own augmented reality, you can tag hotels, restaurants, your own home, meeting points with information that others can easily see when they point their smartphones at their surroundings. If you sufficiently tech savvy, you might want to show off with an animation. And it is the big fun interactive element that has made it a really take off.
For lovers of social media it is a great way to get your Facebook page, Twitter name, LinkedIn profile, or YouTube videos out in the public domain as well. Say you work in Hilton Dubai Creek, you can tag the building with your details and anyone in your AR network will easily find your online details as well as manning the reception desk.
Of course, Dubai is no stranger to augmented reality. Go to the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing website, and you can download the DefinitelyDubai augmented reality smartphone app. The app allows users to see what is going on in the city. By pointing your smartphone along any street in the city, the camera allows you to see buildings overlaid with labels that tell you what is happening inside.
Although the premium price of a Porsche Blackberry places it outside the range of most people, augmented reality apps are available for most smartphones, making it a marketing opportunity not to missed.
Augmented reality is science fiction made fact. Want to know how the showroom sofa would look in your home, download the app and you can quickly find out. By getting people to interact with products on their phones, there is real possibility they’ll be more likely to go into a store and buy it.
Where once AR demanded too much oomph from your laptop or computer, the processing power of smartphones has given it the kiss of life that means it will become part of everyday life in the not too distant future. Although many considered augmented reality a short lived gimmick, the gimmick has quickly become a favourite of advertising agencies and the general public alike. Ignoring its power to inform and entertain the clued-in Dubai consumers will leave you eating the dust of more streetwise competitors.