Last night we covered a couple of the technologies that are pushing the virtual world and the real world together. The first, and my favorite is augmented reality (AR). We walked through the definition of the two types or AR; marker and browser. I showed them examples of both; maker here and browser here. We then talked about what needs to happen for AR to take off.

BrowserGeo-location is going to be key. If people can see where the experience is on a map, it could become a destination.  (AR treasure hunts!) Until that happens, search will be important to AR. If you search for a business or a brand that has an AR feature near you, it should show up on a search/map result. People are not going to wonder around, looking for big “AR EXPERIENCE HERE!” sign.

Marker Web cams will be essential to the adoption of marker based AR. Most laptops come built in with a web cam and the web cam market is predicted to be a $3.2 billion market by 2015. (40% of video uploads to Facebook are from a web cam and look for the next iPad to have one built in.) Browser plug-ins to view AR are essential and it’s not to early to want a standard protocol. (Having users download and app like, the Esquire AR, is too disruptive.)

Universally – It’s obvious that application adoption is essential for AR to continue to grow. This will only come with cultural awareness. When I say culture I not only mean, Globally but between technical and non-technical cultures. Metrics will also be very important for this medium. Marketers will need to know how much traffic is being generated by AR enabled offerings; browser & marker. For the browser, this will tell you where the foot traffic, essential to your business is and allow for intelligent display/print advertising. For the marker, it will give the business a feeling which print offerings (or affiliate for that matter) are the most successful. Increased quality is the last thing that needs to happen to get this market to grow. People are okay with the pixelation for now but quality similar to James Cameron’s Avatar, needs to quickly become the norm.

The AR market is predicted to generate $350 million by 2014. Brands that have delved into AR are, Disney, USPS, Toyota, BMW, John Mayer, Ikea, Adidas, Paramount. Really tiny companies.

I then offered some of the resources that I use to get to keep up with changes in the AR industry.

We then transitioned into QR codes. QR codes are 2 dimensional barcodes. They’re more prevalent in Europe but because of Google’s adoption, will most likely see a rise in their usage in the US. (This is of course tied to adoption of smartphones and adoption of “smart mobile usage”.) I did a demo using Kawya’s QR code generator and I’m not sure if QR codes are better than barcodes (especially the customized flavor).  But QR codes can be customized as well.

After that, I talked a little about Web 101. The class is comprised of people with varying level of web expertise/experience and I’d like them to understand the nature of the Internet today, which is very different from the Internet of old.

SEO – If you can’t be found online, through search; you don’t exist. Build it an no one will come. Build it and optimize it AND market it and you may get some traffic. We talked about SEO at a high level and I recommended that they contract a business that focuses on this and I also mentioned that you’re never done with SEO. (You’re never done with anything online.)

Usability is marketing – If your customers can’t easily get to what they need to get to; information/transaction – You’ve failed. (My definition of marketing is a mutually beneficial relationship between a business and a their customers.) In regards to web design; stay out of their way. We also talked about how progressive disclosure works.

3 pillars – The web started out as a document-based medium and it is now the hub for all things information, entertainment and communication. Eventually the flat panel on your wall (and your mobile device) will do/be everything.

I then FORCED them to sign up for Twitter and download Tweetdeck. ( I got one student quarantined by DU’s online security!) They loved it (some not so much) and they’re now following my ITEC 4700 Twitter list. The point was that the only way to stay up to date with technology/strategy is to have it funneled to you. I then encouraged them to go to WeFollow and look for thought leaders with similar interests.
Next week we start our social media section. Looking forward to it!