Augmented Reality – the manifesting of virtual 3d objects into the real world via cameras or projectors – is probably one of the biggest buzzwords among digital creatives at the moment with the examples of Boffswana and GE’s Smart Grid site definitely inspiring the imagination and offering up a new tool with which to play.
However, if Augmented Reality is going to be more than “the next PaperVision” and liberally applied in inappropriate places then it is worth considering as one element in an overall movement – the move away from screens.
As Russell Davies as pointed out – screens are boring. People are used to screens and digital creative is definitely not “new media” anymore. It has to compete with the production values and impact of film and PS3 graphics. Creating a great website these days is the norm, it is the raised bar we need to all sail over. But when we land on the other side we can often face audience indifference. It is still a site on a screen – be it desktop or mobile – it is still in an expected context.
Digital experiential, or real world digital, or digital installations, or whatever you want to call it, is a great leap forward in our approach to brand experiences. Whether it involves playing Snake on the side of a building, a virtual skateboarder in the streets or giant shadows in Tokyo, interactive experiences in a shared, real world context offer the potential for digital creative to equal and surpass the “watercooler effect” and shared experience of TV.
- Changing from Graphical User Interface to Tangible User Interface transformed gaming and opened up a new, inclusive audience. New ways of interacting means new people interacting. Even 3D gaming now offers a more solid and imersive experience.
- We can break out from behind the screens to create shared experiences in unexpected places. It has the watercooler effect that mass TV once had.
- Live experiences have immediacy and a sense of unrestricted/unfiltered connection and control, they don’t feel as fake or manipulated as traditional marketing. Even in the case of the Saturn installation at Wired NextFest in 2006, a product demo – what would normally be a carbooth at a trade show – becomes an immediate and imaginative experience.
- As Arthur C. Clarke said, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic” – we need to bring back the wonder of the early days (70/80s) where things felt new, not old and jaded.
Digital experiential work embodies what is best about interactive creative – its ability to bridge the gap between engagement, entertainment, demonstration and learning, its need to create new experiences and ways of doing things, its ability to draw together skillsets from art and product design to create objects of value and beauty that can be fun like the McLeod mirror.
- We need to offer a shared, perception changing experience; offer an experience that people can participate in, use and break out into the real world.
Back to…2009 Interactive Trends