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Five from Five: More Deals Fuel Mobile AR; Games Spur Activity & Interest

Topic: Mobile Marketing | Author: Peggy Anne Salz | Date: January 11, 2011

robert riceRobert Rice — author, serial entrepreneur, futurist and mobile Augmented Reality (AR) expert/enthusiast — is the second in our series of five innovators stepping up to offer predictions for 2011.

Robert is also the CEO of Neogence Enterprises, the company behind Mirascape, a location-based mobile platform that connects people, places, and things. The company is low-key but Robert’s Skype profile gives us a glimpse of how disruptive he intends to be. It reads: “Mobile Augmented Reality. I’m going to change the world :)” I greatly look forward to following developments at Robert’s company — and I’m certain the impact will be seismic. Check out Robert’s bio here.

His five predictions:

1)     More major venture capital deals in AR. Watch for venture capitalists to invest in AR and a knock-on effect as other investors follow and jumpstart startup activity.

2)     AR hype is replaced by genuine interest and growth. It used to be that AR was a novelty – delivering apps with little value. But this will change as more apps like Word Lens are released (apps that are practical and executed well).

3)     Expect to see more AR games on multiple platforms (smartphone and other platforms). Small and simple games will whet our appetite for more. This activity and interest from consumers will show the industry (and marketers) that there is a revenue model and a market for AR.

4)     Increased adoption of augmented reality for “engagement marketing.” More marketing agencies will realize that the potential and power of augmented reality goes way beyond a flashy, one-minute “experience” on a webcam or Web page. Marketers will do more than experiment; they will spend money to find the magic mix and harness AR to deliver an experience that increases engagement and boosts brand awareness and loyalty.

5)     Lots of independent hacker projects. Watch for garage and “hacker” projects that make the connection between AR and connected devices such as Xbox Kinect, Playstation Move, and make use of projectors and Arduino kits. The outcome will be projects that spark the imaginations of other developers and lead to new products.

By way of background, Arduino is an open-source electronics prototyping platform based on flexible, easy-to-use hardware and software. It’s intended for artists, designers, hobbyists, and anyone interested in creating interactive objects or environments.

As Robert sees it, mobile AR is on the cusp of something big. Right now AR is a new technology with more novelty than practical value. “Most apps feature AR instead of using AR to enhance or augment something else,” Robert observes. “But potential for AR is undeniable.”

There’s a lot for the industry to gain — provided it gets down to work. Efforts must be made to advance the technology, create new tools and unify some standards.

As Robert sees it: “2011 will be exciting and a key year for these advancements, maturing AR significantly and moving away from the fad and novelty labels. Personally, I am going to be looking for interesting mashups between augmented reality and other areas like social, education, or even agriculture. The world is wide open.”

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