What is it? Augmented reality is a term used to describe computer generated sounds, videos, graphics or GPS data used to enhance the real world environment.
The one I am talking about here is sound and graphical images that generate when your camera recognizes a “barcode” and uses your background as the setting.
Now this concept isn’t new, GE was using this type of technology to generate interest for its Smart Grid product in 2009, but it’s back again because Starbucks has recently introduced an app that recognizes pictures on your paper cup or bag and creates a holiday scene out of it. We all know that Starbucks coffee sells because they have a culture that people buy into, but is this app really adding to the coffee experience?
The most brilliant application I’ve seen of augmented reality is Tissot’s, when they gave customers barcoded bracelets so that their customers were able to try on watches without having to enter to the store.
However, in its current use, I can’t help but feel that augmented reality is like 3D television*; it never fails to make an appearance every few years, but there’s no real demand for it.
* First patent for 3D television came up in 1890 (motion picture film made its debut in the early 1860’s).