Subtitles for Reality: Augmented Technologies in Focus

Marina Astapchik
IT Trends Research Specialist
July 5, 2011

Imagine yourself in a never-have-been-here-before big city at night. The lights are on and you are hungry. You pass along numerous doors of local restaurants and cafes. Would you care to know which one is actually good from the first sight? Augmented technologies allow you to see that in form what is now sometimes referred to as 'subtitles for reality.'

A year ago, augmented reality by name of DFusionHomeWebPlugIn by JWT International generated a big WOW effect among Russian speaking young people and geeks. Augmented reality took form of advertising posters and brochures with additional animated entertainment content that is available via webcam. It can still be found online at MTS website.

This year there has much more global buzz going on about augmented reality via smartphones. And there are reasons for that. To add media content to reality we need

1. a display,
2. a camera,
3. a computer and
4. an internet connection.

A device that would include all four features, previously only seen in sci-fi, now is called a 'smartphone.' Apple and Android can already boast good applications based on the technology .

According to many experts, Augmented Reality cannot be regarded unserious since it started to permeate business world. Now, you can find AR on business cards and you can even design your own business cards enhanced with AR technologies.

The introduction of a 3D object into a picture of the real world is another interesting augmented reality feature already adopted by many marketing departments. In August 2010, a network of department stores J.C.Penny launched its digital marketing campaign aimed at those soon-to-be-back-in-school young people, featuring a virtual dressing room, where customers could see themselves dressed in whatever clothes they chose from the J.C.Penney online catalog.

But can we say from our heart that we have never seen this before? What about sports coverage on TV with its slo-mo replays and analytic information overlay on the realtime broadcast? Perhaps, the most digitally enhanced sports broadcasts are those of American Football, where the 'first down' line has been digitally highlighted for years already. Or offside line in soccer games.

Anyways, augmented reality is here for good and its future is clearly bright. It is in mobile phones, video games, marketing and advertising. Who knows where we will find subtitles to reality next time.

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