Is Augmented Reality the next “red button” ?

Remember the fuss about the digital TV “red button” ? You press it while watching a commercial and hey presto! you’re whisked to a rich media advertisement featuring video, text content, interactive web pages, etc.

Problem is, nobody wants to actually do that. It took broadcasters a few [expensive] years to recognise this, and now, as far as I know, there is no interactive advertising on any of the networks.

So just another example of the “new tech v human nature” conundrum, or “possible does not necessarily equal popular“.

So is Augmented reality (AR) the next Red Button? Promising so much, and delivering well, not much at all?

Don’t misunderstand me. AR is great in some contexts – i.e. that virtual 10 yard line in American Football, or the Hawkeye feature at Wimbledon, or even the restaurant reviews visible on your iPhone when viewing a city centre crossroads… And now some commentators see it as the possible saviour for newspapers and magazines. They suggest that we will hover our smartphone over the print ad or article, to see video clips, news updates, reviews, images, downloads, etc. This sounds good, but I fear it may be yet another novelty, and not really represent AR’s true, long-term potential.

And anyway, aren’t print publishers embracing the world of tablet (iPad) news anyway?

Apart from my usual sceptical/paranoid thoughts about AR (like Recognizr, the new Swiss application that allows you to instantly access all online data about a person once you’ve captured their face on your smartphone) I see the potential slightly differently…and believe me, it does have a huge potential.

What do you think? How can AR shift our habits to really benefit media or content owners…?

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