Will Pokemon Go Make AR a Reality?

Posted by Jen Neumann on Jul 13, 2016 8:40:45 AM

You've seen the hordes in the parks, on the trails, skulking around your business or neighborhood. PokemonGO landed square Screen_Shot_2016-07-13_at_8.36.05_AM.pngin the middle of society and has caught on like a California wildfire. If you need a little refresher on what Pokemon Go is, you can read our overview blog here.

But what does that mean for the business world - and what can we predict from it?

Beyond the immediate 9B jump in Nintendo's stock, the craze has been a great opportunity for B2Bs to capture new traffic. The best examples are companies that are welcoming Pokemon Go players in and connecting them somehow to their own products and services. The worst are the ones that say "Stay away," effectively telling a generation that their way of interacting isn't welcome. Notably, a national museum - which has petitioned to be removed from the game, instead of figuring out a way to educate people who otherwise might not ever step foot in the memorial. That's a wasted opportunity. 

But it's more than just foot traffic. This maybe the boost that augmented reality (defined as the integration of digital information with the user's environment in real time) needs to become a bigger part of life for smart phone users. A close cousin to QR code readers and the like, augmented reality, has been slow to be adopted and has hovered on the edge of mainstream for several years. You may remember a few years ago when the Corridor Business Journal tried to implement AR into their publication - an idea that came from de Novo, as a way to make the publication more interactive. Adoption and usage rates were abysmally low. Not because it was implemented poorly, but readers didn't have enough motivation or incentive to download a proprietary, unknown app, and use it. AR is best implemented when it catches the curiosity of the user, and the content is something new that they can't experience any other way. You have to give the consumer a reason to want it.

Trends such as QR codes and their related scanner apps also dwindled for similar reasons. Android and iOs never made a QR code reader native in our devices - which would have propelled usage rates far higher. Instead, if you want to scan a code you have to open a separate app, or download it, and then scan the rather unattractive little box. Additionally, many QR scans sent users to pages that weren't responsive. This breaks the  #1 rule of mobile marketing: don't make your users work to get to your content. 

Expect to see more apps that combine a smooth interface with consumer nostalgia or needs. While the PokemonGO craze may fade within the next month or so (remember "Angry Birds?") it has opened our eyes and showed the world how Augmented Reality can work. And a few Millennials got some exercise in the process. 

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