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Augmented Reality and Digital Billboards Match Made in Heaven

Want to try new makeup without buying? Sephora lets you do that.

Be a part of your favorite TV series - during your morning commute. Like these Austrian bus riders.

How is this possible? Through the collaboration of OOH advertising and augmented reality.

That's right - augmented reality doesn't just belong to special event setups and the expensive goggles otherwise known as smart glasses. It can be accomplished with most any digital display (provided it has the right software and hardware, of course).

Augmented Reality: A Description

An article in Live Science defines augmented reality as "using technology to superimpose information on the world we see."

The article is also quick to point out the difference between augmented reality and virtual reality: "Virtual reality means computer-generated environments for you to interact with, and being immersed in."

So the Walking Dead campaign in Austria was especially indicative of augmented reality: the displays integrated images of the surrounding area with the "zombie attacks" - even going so far as to use the images of passersby. This was accomplished through combining a feed of the actual street with studio-shot images.

Using Augmented Reality for Promotions

Possibilities for different brands to use augmented reality in their promotions are endless, considering the number of displays available through street furniture, video walls, and bulletins.

  • Customers can try on clothing and jewelry if their exact color or size isn't available in store
  • Hair salons can let customers experiment with new colors or cuts before committing to a service they might hate
  • Build anticipation for a product launch by letting customers experience how the product will change their lives
  • Get customers thinking about their next vacation by changing a familiar city street into a famous exotic spot
  • Introduce customers to your restaurant's renowned service and ambiance by "showing" them to their table

Applying Augmented Reality to Real Life

Marketing campaigns aren't the only way to use augmented reality and digital displays. These two technologies can also potentially make training and education easier.

Researchers in South Korea put together a system using augmented reality and digital signage to teach people how to prepare for disasters, whether natural or manmade. The system not only provides the imagery and sound effects for the training - it also evaluates the response of those watching.

Many people focus on smart glasses and other augmented reality headsets. However, the problem is with the headgear itself. Smaller choices have limited range of vision while the larger headsets are, well, larger. They require a significant investment, too, depending on how many you need.

While they're also a significant investment, digital displays can provide the same augmented reality to multiple people. They can provide a wide viewing area, maybe even alter the view to match your line of sight.

The Perfect Couple

Whether you want to do fun things with advertising or decrease the amount of time it takes to train new employees, you need to consider augmented reality delivered through digital displays. Augmented reality is becoming a bigger part of our actual reality - and is proving to be a very effective one.

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