Can your business use Augmented Reality to reinvent your product?

While the summer of 2016 will be remembered for the Rio Olympics, it will also be known as the summer of Pokemon Go. Personally, I saw more people flicking a finger on their iPhone to launch a Pokeball than I saw athletes throw a javelin. I definitely threw more myself, (I’m terrible at javelin).

And while the craze seems to have abated in recent weeks, (my previously worshiped Jolteon is now starved for attention, since I’ve realised how difficult it is to hold a PokeGym for 24hours) augmented reality (AR) is definitely here to stay. It certainly revitalised the tired Nintendo brand and now other businesses are looking to capitalise on the opportunity.

What Pokemon Go was particularly good at was breathing new life into an old idea and popularising it for a younger generation. You may be thinking, sure, that’s great for a game company who just updated their old product for a new platform, but how does that apply to me and my small company?

Meet the Augmented reality app set to revolutionise the greeting card industry & reengage younger customers.

Well, this summer also saw independent greeting card company Paperclip Penguin take their traditional paper cards to the next level. By launching an augmented reality app they brought their products into the world of smartphones and into the hands of a younger consumer.

The collaboration between greeting card publisher Paperclip Penguin and AR specialists Suchworks Ltd is set to transform the way we interact with greeting cards reengaging a young generation that are more likely to say happy birthday over Facebook than send a card.

Here's how the AR app works

With the app running, you point your phone or tablet at an existing greeting card and watch it transform into a 3D, fully animated version on your screen, bringing it to life and adding another dimension to the experience.

In the last few years augmented reality technology has evolved from requiring special recognition markers to being able to detect almost any complex image in an environment. The beauty of this app is that no changes were required to any of the original cards. Once the images had been processed and the models designed, the two are married up allowing the app to instantly the cards and bring the 3d versions to life.

This has been made possible due to the vast improvements in phone hardware as well as some very clever image processing techniques that companies can now use.

Steve from Suchworks says:

“It's amazing how fast augmented reality technology has progressed. The fact we're able to easily track 10 cards simultaneously with no lag on a handheld device would be unthinkable a few years ago. Check out the demo video to see it in action!”

Paperclip Penguin's Jess Neal adds:

“Greeting cards are a big business in the UK although with easier options of communicating people are less inclined to send cards. These days we use our phones for everything, and now with this app we have a modern way of interacting whilst keeping the tradition of sending greeting cards alive.”

Effectively what they’e done is to enhance the appeal of their traditional product to a segment of their market that was seeing sales eaten up by new digital forms.

Do you have a product that has seen a downturn in sales, particularly among younger buyers, that could be easily adapted to an AR platform? It worked for Pokemon, it worked for Paperclip Penguin, it may work for you.

The PaperclipPenguin AR app is now available for free from the Android Play Store or the AppStore.

By Paula Stanbridge-Faircloth on 27 Sep '16

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