Smartphones not only help you interact with reality but they can also help you shape reality. No, I am not reciting out loud from a Harry Potter book or engaging in wishful thinking. The exciting new field of Augmented Reality (AR) ushered in by smartphone technology can open the door to an almost limitless world where you take data from the real world using your smartphone, pass it through an app which interacts with the Internet and cloud computing, and produce a new piece of information or experience.
Imagine the following scenarios and think about their impact. Scene 1: you are walking through a store and see a nice-looking item. It has a code on it. You scan the code with your smartphone’s camera. The scanning app checks the internet for information on the item and looks for special deals or discount coupons. Moreover, it looks for cheaper providers of that product.
Scene 2: You see a sign in Mandarin Chinese but, as luck would have it, you don’t speak Chinese. So you whip out your smartphone and capture the text. Your phone’s app returns the translation.
Scene 3: You point your camera at a friend and click an app feature. Now your friend’s face has anime toons around him or special photo effects. If you thought the three scenes above are fictional or wishful thinking about a brave new future, you are wrong. These apps and services already exist. Augmented reality is here. The great news is that this is just the beginning. AR can have a tremendous impact on your business. Here are just some possible ways it can impact your business.
Customer-interactive quality control
Whether you sell products or services to the public, you can include a special code on your inventory or on special cards after you have served customers. Customers can use these input-gathering materials and give you the most important resource your company needs to succeed and thrive-customer feedback. You can go even further. Instead of just feedback, the customer’s input can actually influence your inventory or even influence the configuration of the product or service you will supply the customer.
Placing codes on products in exchange for premiums or making the use of products dependent on code scanning can help you get information regarding the geographic distribution of your customers. This can help you fine-tune your marketing campaigns. More importantly, it can help you factor in geographical differences and tastes into your products and services.