Pokemon Go technology could appear on beer labels any day now, with augmented reality technologies fast becoming a part of everyday life.
Augmented Reality (AR) technologies allow the super-imposing of computer-generated images directly onto a user’s view of the real world. For the majority of users, AR is the extra multimedia content you see enabled by your mobile phone.
Lecturer in Virtual and Augmented Reality at Deakin University Thuong Hoang, said AR is the next generation of display technology.
“AR technologies have the capability to allow visualisations of virtual images in context of the physical environment, something that’s not possible using other technologies.”
“This allows for better communication between consumers and businesses.”
Perhaps the greatest usage of AR has been in the education sector.
Students are learning more dynamically, and with remote instruction, they can now be taught from rural parts of Australia and even overseas. A beer qualification, like the graduate diploma, could be taught by remote instruction from a classroom in Sydney to an apprentice brewer based in far-north Queensland.
Hoang, who has been working with AR for 10 years, said that the technology has only recently come onto the mainstream market because of major manufacturers like Song, Google and Apple, making it readily available and affordable.
He said that people are starting to realise the potentials of AR.
Phil Winning of Winning Media described AR as an alternate visual experience, that adds another layer or another level of experience to something that is traditionally two dimensional.
“AR is a potentially, totally immersive engagement… It gives creative a different life cycle, it’s essentially another touch point.”
Winning said that businesses might shy away from emerging technologies like AR because they feel it’s cost prohibitive, they don’t understand it, or they’ve seen it used somewhere else and they don’t relate to it.”
He said that for any company wanting to incorporate AR, not just a brewer, it’s understanding what it is their clients need to know that they can’t deliver easily.
“So, AR gives you the opportunity to really expose lots of different initiatives, like video, competition-based scratchers, forms for any purpose, or launching a website.”
“It just depends on where a brewer might want to start.”
“In most cases, it really is a promotional exercise.”
Winning uses augmented solutions to try and engage clients from a brand perspective.
“Instead of just offering an augmented solution, we’re really trying to encourage clients to take that step a little bit further to remove the gimmicky aspect of AR,” Winning said.
“We want to really launch and find value in exposing their brand in a more consolidated, more marketable sense.”
“We’ve seen some beautiful campaigns – AR has really inspired companies.”
Winning said that AR can “unfortunately fall off rapidly if it doesn’t have a consolidated marketable campaign that is all about user engagement”.
“There needs to be a good reason why that customer is going to retain something past that gimmick.”
“I think some companies have done it well and are doing it well, I think it’s capitalising on that and understanding the value behind a well-crafted campaign.”
“AR can be a very simple technology to implement, and where AR is heading – not only from Apple’s perspective and Google’s perspective in the way they are introducing AR to standard web view and using the camera that exists in a native sense – that technology is expanding tremendously and it’s really putting it in the hands of the mainstream in the next probably two to five years,” Winning predicted.
For businesses to capitalise on this technology now, Winning said it’s a matter of really understanding the purpose of a campaign and knowing exactly what the end user is going to get out of it.
He warned that if businesses don’t capitalise on this technology well, then it can be “a massive pit of money”.
“Some of these campaigns can take a little bit of work, some a considerable amount of work, others can be launched simply and rapidly, but at the end of it, the client is going to sit back and ask what they actually gained from it.”
Much of Winnings’ work is about gaining and measuring client data.
“The data can be anything from user preferences, their habits, why they prefer the product over someone else’s product, competition data, location-based data, it could be anything.”
Winning said that in just a few years time, breweries will be using this technology all the time.
“But it shouldn’t just be a knee-jerk reaction because the technology exists.”
Multi-Color ANZ is one company that has looked to integrated AR into packaging design. Its Label Motion AR app creates an augmented reality experience for brands, bringing labels to life. Users download the app and can then access the integration.
AR technologies are readily available to the brewery industry but are not yet being widely utilised.
Hoang has said that he is definitely open to partnership opportunities with the brewing industry. He is part of a research team that’s looking at how consumers interact with AR technologies and how they can impact different industries.
“We are always looking for industry collaborations,” he said.
“The students work with industry people to explore opportunities and challenges in the industries.”
“We have an industry manager who is tasked with engaging with the industry to organise capstone and research projects.”
“We’re very keen to work with industries and businesses on common problems and issues.”