There was a glut of press attention given recently to a free Android and iPhone application called "Chestburster" which allowed users to see a 3D ‘alien’ type creature emerge and come to life when viewing a particular static image along with gory sound effects. This image could be downloaded from their website and placed; for example, on a t-shirt / computer screen or as a printed image.
Whilst this was very much a niche ‘toy’ to demonstrate the possibilities it is a powerful reminder that augmented reality (AR) is very much here and all of the tools required to utilise it are available now.
AR uses static ‘trigger’ images or location data such as GPS to overlay virtual content on top of the real world. This virtual overlay can then be interacted with based on user input if they so wish.
To bring people up to speed and help explain the possibilities we can look to Google as a good example of usage.
Apple have been developing wearable systems (iShades?) to provide AR functions since 2008 or earlier.
Google have been working for just as long on "Project Glass" which is in effect a pair of clear glasses which overlays 3D virtual images and data onto a real 3D landscape.
In a basic form it would effectively allow you to have a ‘Streetview’ style view of streets as you walk around in an area or for the purposes of directions. This could theoretically extend to whilst driving and can indicate locations of landmarks or retail outlets etc…
Go a step further if you would and imagine looking at a retail outlets signage and suddenly it comes to life listing the current special offers and promotions.
With this being Google of course the content of such promotions can be specifically targeted for your demographic or interests. They can even remind you of that item which you looked at before but didn’t buy at the time for which they can offer you a unique one off discount….
Billboards will just be blank canvasses in future, a man and woman walking down the road may see a different moving advertisement each or may even see a different advert if together than they would each see apart. Those in a vehicle would see the same billboard specific perhaps to the type of vehicle they are driving or their plans for that evening.
This is aside from any seamless integration of social networking applications, checking in to locations, advising stores or restaurants of your details as you enter the premises… “Hello Mr. Smith, it’s good to see you again, did you enjoy the steak last week?”
You can begin to see what could be achieved through careful application of this additional layer of reality when usage becomes common.
So you may rightfully ask ‘What does this mean to us in the Electronic Security Industry though Joe?’
Whilst it is arguably the retail and entertainment sectors that will see the most dramatic impact from this technology it still allows our industry many ways of capitalising on the technology to deliver our services more effectively and efficiently.
Some examples could be as follows:
Day to day usage
I have only scratched the surface of some of the possibilities that could potentially be achieved.
With a little imagination I am sure that each of you could find a way to use this technology to your advantage and I would ask that you begin to consider how you could go about utilising it to full effect in your own business by making it a reality before it becomes ubiquitous.
The final word goes to T.S.Eliot...
Cannot bear very much reality.
Time past and time future
What might have been and what has been
Point to one end, which is always present