The QR Code’s Punk Rock Little Brother is Gonna Shake Things Up

by Ken Mueller on June 8, 2012 · 23 comments

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Autonomy's new visual browser app #Aurasma (Photo credit: geofones)

Yesterday after speaking to a group of marketers and others at The Standard Group’s “Do More With Less” Workshop series, I had the chance to witness something pretty cool. I had the pleasure of meeting Jeffrey Dowd, a Business Development Manager with HP, who showed me a relatively new technology that really ups the game for mobile marketing and interactivity.

Last year Hewlett Packard purchased a software company called Autonomy for more than $10-billion. Nestled away in that purchase is an augmented reality division called Aurasma.

This is where it gets fun.

Right now people are using their smart phones to scan QR Codes which allows them to either download information, or be taken to a web page of some sort. I happen to love QR codes, when they are used strategically. But this new technology adds several new dimensions.

A lot.

Rather than scanning a code, Aurasma’s software, which is a free downloadable app for smart phones, recognizes images. The company actually describes it as a “virtual browser”, but I’m not sure that terminology does it justice.

When you see an image that is accompanied by the company’s “A” logo, you know that you can scan it. Once the image is recognized, it takes you to an augmented reality experience that brings that image to life, and allows you to interact with it.

a large The QR Codes Punk Rock Little Brother is Gonna Shake Things Up

 

This video gives you and idea of how it works.

After seeing the video, I began to come up with all sorts of applications for this, both in terms of marketing, and every day life. And my thinking is still very much in the box. I can’t even begin to fathom where this could go.

  • Scan an image in a kids’ book and part  of the story comes to life on your tablet or smartphone
  • Scan a text book image to get a video tutorial of the circulatory system or any other lesson
  • Scan an image in an instruction manual for a how-to video for a product
  • Scan a baseball card and see video of that baseball player in action
  • Scan an image on a promo piece from a musician and get a sample of their live performance
  • Scan an image on DVD packaging, or in an ad, to see a movie trailer
  • Scan an image on packaging for an action figure and see a “scenario” unfold
  • Scan an image in a museum exhibit to see a video about the artist

Yes, you could theoretically do some of these things with QR Codes now, but with this new product, the possibilities are literally endless. And these augmented reality elements are customizable and can be interactive with clickable links.

The scannable, recognizable images could be placed on products, packaging, point of purchase displays, signs, ads, clothing, or just about anything you can imagine. You can even create your own “auras” to send as greetings to friends.

And that’s just with the technology that is available at the moment. I imagine the folks at Aurasma are working on things that would blow our minds.

Maybe some day those augmented reality experiences won’t be confined to the screen but will rise up above it, like a hologram. Can you say,

“Help me, Ob-Wan Kenobi”?

Wow.

What applications can you envision for something like this? How can you imagine using something like this for your business?

 

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23 comments
privatestorm
privatestorm

@kmueller62 we had a demo a few months ago & it is definitely something we're thinking about using for future museum exhibits

AllisonTrenholm
AllisonTrenholm

@kmueller62 I agree w/ u on the strategic use of #QRcodes but uptake still isn't 100%. Though very cool, what makes this different?

RichardHarrison
RichardHarrison

Wait til the speed dating folk get hold of this  :)

C_Pappas
C_Pappas

My first thought was to say wow but looks like everyone is thinking the same thing :) So, Wowza!!! I continue to be amazed by the ways in which technology is enabling brands to really engage audiences. We look at something and may say 'that's cool' or 'maybe Ill check that out' but to have experience something come to life that we are enchanted by is just wowza!!

StacyWR
StacyWR

Wow again! This is amazing. How cool would it be for an ad in a print publication to use this and have real life video of customer testimonials supporting the advertisement?

lizreusswig
lizreusswig

 @KenMueller Double Wow - very, very awesome...does it really work that seamlessly? Something tells me that Aurasma is no punk little brother...maybe more like the really super cool big brother that all the girls fall in love with!!  ;)  And yes, I agree that something like this could be a big boost to print media!!  I'm downloading this as I type....

RandyGreene
RandyGreene

Wow - do you think this could provide fuel for a resurgence of print? Magazines, newspapers, and direct mail could become hot-button items again with this technology!

 

As with every other technology, though, I guess it all depends on the adoption rate of consumers.

jimstoltzfus
jimstoltzfus

When I first read the description I thought this would mimic google goggles, but this definitely raises the bar. Now off to download the app, thanks for the tip!

kmueller62
kmueller62

@AllisonTrenholm this just really allows for more creativity

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

 @StacyWR that's definitely an interesting use of this technology!

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

 @lizreusswig There are so many possibilities, but then again, this could fizzle. So many possibilities, but a lot of the right things have to happen for it to work well.

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

 @RandyGreene I'm not sure about a resurgence, but it's definitely something they should adopt to improve the experience, and hopefully push for consumer adoption. if they use it properly, and provide interesting content, not just a "novelty", then consumers will want it.  Think if ESPN's magazine started using this with ESPN archival footage. How cool would that be? Makes you think of the newspapers in the Harry Potter movies!

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

 @jimstoltzfus The big thing now is that not many are using it. But hopefully we'll see more of it popping up all over the place.

KenMueller
KenMueller moderator

 @RandyGreene There was actually a great discussion yesterday over at Spin Sucks about the future of newspapers, so @Gini Dietrich might have some thoughts on this.

jimstoltzfus
jimstoltzfus

 @KenMueller I agree. This seems like another cool tech that people will use if developers make it worth their while. As always there's the what's-in-it-for-me factor, even if the only investment is time and space to download the app to their phone.

RandyGreene
RandyGreene

 @KenMueller  @Gini Dietrich Not to berate the discussion that you all had yesterday, but Mashable had an article today about Forbes magazine's new business model, which I found fascinating. Basically, they're trying to merge the blogging world with the world of journalism - and they're somewhat successful at it.Lewis D'Vorkin was quoted as saying: “Quality in a magazine is different: it’s about beautiful pages, great writing. It’s very well fact-checked and edited, you can’t fix it [once it's in print],” says D’Vorkin. “Quality in the digital space is about timeliness, relevance, community. When things need to be repaired online you can do that.”

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