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Material Waste and the Role of Augmented Reality

Updated on May 4, 2016
Michael F Brown profile image

Creative and technical Augmented Reality developer with over 20 years experience in technology.

It's no secret that companies exist to make a profit. These companies provide goods and services that most consumers not only want, but also identify with. Think of your loyal Apple or Ford consumer. The demographics would probably show two entirely different sets of people, but their emotional connection with the product is very similar. These particular consumers develop a relationship with the Brand's identity. They actually feel the highs and lows of a company's struggles and successes. They are the customers that every company desires.
In the early days of mass advertising, an incredible amount of money was spent in the, calculated, hopes of catching a specific customer in a broad net strategy. Although many of today's blue chip companies wouldn't exist without this strategy; we are now at the very beginning of a new age of highly focused, digital, and personalized advertising. Augmented reality is the technology that will deliver this advertising.
Often misperceived as a " gimmick", augmented reality will be as important to advertising as ink has been for the past 200 years. This seems like a bold statement, but there are many aspects of augmented reality that people do not yet realize. The ecological and societal benefits are monumental.
Imagine if I went to a printer and asked to have twenty 40 Sq.Ft banners to display on multiple buildings in a metropolitan area. This would require large amounts of vinyl (or polyester) and gallons of ink. More than likely this would be for an event that would only last a few days so at the conclusion of the event these materials would need to be either thrown away or recycled for new banners. Even though many companies understand the benefits of recycling materials, there is no guarantee that the customer will take the extra steps to ensure the material is disposed of properly.


While the banners are up, they become the new face of downtown... to everyone. Even if you're a fan of the event, these static banners can only captivate for seconds. Now let's take a look at the use of augmented reality in this scenario.
The augmented reality developer meets with the advertiser. During this meeting the developer determines the overall message of the event. The developer has a multitude of digital options at their disposal. Along with these tools the developer also has the advantage of time. All of the information that will be used in the campaign is dynamic, meaning the content can change at any given time. For example, depending on the budget, the event goer could look through their AR enabled device (phones, glasses etc) and see an animated model of each player on a sports team at different times throughout the day. Any digital content could be as tall as the venue or as small as a photo.
Inside the venue people could interact with AR games, movies etc. and because spirits are high at events, it is a great environment for the advertiser to establish a clear and informative connection with the customer. At the conclusion of our fictitious event, the campaign is "turned off", just like a television. The AR enabled device will no longer show the AR information for the event; but don't fret, the new AR promotion for the next event will probably take it's place.
So to recap; before the AR event: familiar downtown. During the AR event: Dynamic entertainment. After the AR event: familiar downtown and no vinyl, polyester, or other materials to dispose of. The typical print-oriented major event can produce thousands of pounds of wasted materials. By transitioning toward AR-oriented campaigns that waste is decreased greatly. Multiply that savings by the number of events worldwide and the long-term benefits become clear. With 2/3 of Americans owning smartphones and wearable AR devices on the market, it is obvious augmented reality is the smart choice for forward-looking, efficient advertisers.

Do you feel as though most businesses understand the environmental advantages of AR/VR?

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