Below are a few tips we think you should keep in mind when doing your research on mobile augmented reality apps, the design of your own mobile marketing initiatives, and, for you futurists, your predictions about the Mobile Internet & Smart Phone Tsunami . . .
- Nearly everything you see today that is being called Augmented Reality is a mashup of 2 things: the GPS (or non-GPS location identifier like WiFi or cellular triangulation) on the phone and 3rd party data APIs (e.g., Wikipedia, Google Maps, Yelp, eBay). From now on, we’re going to refer to this set of mobile applications as AR Lite apps.
- The use of the camera (or open video stream) is currently mostly about style and interface. Some mobile phones (iPhone 3GS and some Android handsets) are using compass capabilities to provide a general sense of perspective in the app – that’s what separates an LBS enabled mobile app from this newer set of AR Lite apps.
- The compass is what tells the AR Lite application where the user is “looking” – not the camera.
- If you want a granular sense of perspective via the camera, you should use image recognition. Like the AR Lite apps, a full-blown image recognition enabled mobile app is not magic (although it is magical and full of science), so you should learn more about this topic on its own. Pongr is happy to help.
- There are major wireless network and video compression matters that need to be fully addressed/rolled-out before mobile application developers will be able to utilize an open streaming camera view for the purposes of search (whether general purpose or vertical specific). From a practical perspective, it doesn’t make sense to rely on high-quality streaming video for search just yet. It will in in a few years, though.
- We are likely to see a bifurcation among the AR Lite apps and image recognition based applications before we see them blend into a fully-functional, mass marketed video type of search. The blend will occur only after the major carriers (or even just one) rolls out 4G/LTE networks. Even then, it remains to be seen what the data capabilities will be.
- It is possible, if not likely, that carriers will have a heavy hand in controlling this next generation of mobile search because the consequences to their network assets (and profitability) are significant. We may see alternative data infrastructure providers/sources, but that’s another topic altogether. And, of course, in the U.S. and other countries, the network neutrality issues will greatly shape what happens with mobile video based search.