Augmented Reality Continues to Gain Popularity

The most recent wave of Augmented Reality (AR) applications has provided some of the most impressive and innovative uses of this technology to date – and is sparking greater conversation about the unlimited potential AR has to promote products, educate consumers and even create advertising revenue.

In Business Week’s recent article, Augmented Reality Helps Sell the Product, several examples are cited ranging from a Cheez Doodle band targeted to tweens to an application launched on Facebook to promote Kia Motors.

Home Depot jumped into the world of Augmented Reality this holiday season by launching the first interactive gift card. The card allows the recipient to browse featured products, build a shopping list and ultimately redeem the card online.

The most innovative and high-profile use to date is the December issue of Esquire magazine.  The experience begins with the cover as Robert Downey, Jr. leaps to life on your screen to promote everything from the contents in the issue to his soon-to-be-released film “Sherlock Holmes” – including a clip from the movie. The issue contains several other AR symbols allowing you to interact with a Lexus Car ad, listen to music, look at photos and watch actress Gillian Jacobs tell a joke.

This issue creatively does something that has never been done before – seamlessly launch the print world into an enhanced interactive experience.  It shows the possibility of these two mediums accenting each other in a way never before imagined and captivates the reader in a one-on-one brand focused experience that is both entertaining and memorable.

Click the links below to read more and to visit Esquire’s AR site where you can download the player and experience the magazine first hand.

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Social Media or Email?

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The debate over social media replacing email is one that continues to gain momentum. While many, including the Wall Street Journal, claim that “email no longer rules,” others disagree and are offering their own studies to back their conclusions.

Like most things, it’s really all in how you look at the numbers – and both sides have compelling arguments.

Social-networking supporters point to statistics published in a recent Nielson survey that social site users have passed the 300 million mark (fueled largely by the ridiculous growth of Twitter 1,382% and Facebook 228% which combined represent 72 million) in comparison to only 276 million email users. While email faithful are quick to point out the social growth represents dozens of network sites while email is, well, simply email.

WebProNews recently published a compelling top 10 list of why social media is not replacing email. My personal favorite being “email notifies us of updates to our social network sites.” Tough to argue that one. Conversely, Mashable posted a story that claims, “social media member community growth has exceeded email” – by a whopping 1.7%. But wait, there’s more. Exact Target just released a survey claiming consumers use email more often than both social media and texting.

Confused yet? Me too. The fact is both platforms will continue to evolve. And supporters of both platforms will continue to offer statistics that favor their theories.

As for me, I offer this simple question… If social media is truly becoming more powerful than email, then why do I see a spike in my blog statistics every time I send an email notification of an update? Hmmmmm….

Oh yeah, did I mention Business Week’s article questioning if Google Wave could replace both Email AND Facebook? Here we go again.