Last Sunday the Best Buy newspaper insert contained a marker that launched the retailers first augmented reality (AR) experience. We worked with Best Buy to develop the concept, which we hope pushes boundary between traditional and new mediums. It actually connects the two in a new way, and that’s pretty exciting. I think it’s great that Best Buy is pushing the envelope and innovating; across many customer touchpoints.
See it at: www.bestbuyin3d.com
We used FLAR for the recognition platform. It uses a box-shaped marker to initiate the 3D experience. If it sees the marker, it follows the marker. It’s a cool platform that works well. You’ve probably seen it used on other AR sites like GE’s wind turbine. Anther cool element was the integration of live tweets pulled in from TwelpForce, Best Buy’s customer-centric Q&A service using Twitter’s micro-blogging community as the platform. Another example of Best Buy utilizing technology for useful touchpoints.
Augmented Reality is not for everyone. I tried to explain it to my neighbor and he was totally confused. “It does what? And wait, it comes out of the paper how?” It was like the old “who’s on first?” Abbott and Costello bit. But think of the tech-savvy who look to Best Buy for innovation and support. These are actually their best customers and this experience is a new and exciting way to interact with the brand. For now, AR is more about pushing into new uncharted territory, rather than refining the online experience. It’s about something new and different. Part of the entertainment value is the fact that you’re participating in an experiment, doing something you’ve never done before.
Who knows where the technology will go from here. Marker-less platforms using facial recognition or image-based technology are simplifying the experience. No need for a paper-based marker. The possibilities and adaptations will probably surprise us all. It should be a wild and entertaining ride.