Augmented Reality Summit

Although there is a reference to Education on the website’s banner the main focus of the Augmented Reality Summit http://www.augmentedrealitysummit.com/, was on the use of AR in marketing. This was evident in the conference programme, yet I was still keen to attend, in the hope that I would find out how up to date my own knowledge of AR, develop a different perspective and identify who some of the key players were. I also thought I might be able to make contacts/attract guest speakers to the AR in Education event that we will be running in October.

The event attracted somewhere in the region of 200 delegates.  There were a lot of examples of AR that I had read about but not explored, including; Audi, Lego, Lynx, Virgin, Bacardi, Pampers, Angry Birds, Harry Potter Book and many more.

Inevitably some of the highlights for me had no relation to marketing and included:

  • Sander Veenhof new media artist from the Netherlands, who shared with us some of his amazingly innovative projects, which included an augmented gallery and an AR dance. See http://sndrv.nl/ to find out more about Sandeer’s projects.
  • Julian Harris from Qualcomm spoke about their involvement in the Science Museum’s latest AR app staring James May. You can find out more details about this here: http://www.slashgear.com/james-may-science-stories-qualcomm-ar-app-hands-on-25224606/
  • Luke Robert Mason, Director of Virtual Futures and Researcher in Technology & Cyberculture gave a thought provoking talk, titled Perceptual Augmentation; AR For Future Humans. Luke spoke about enhancing our 5 senses through AR and highlighted examples of what goes wrong when we trust technology too much. Luke’s talk from the 2012 annual AR Event held in Santa Clara this year can be found here: http://youtu.be/qZzMGzNFeAg.

There was a lot of talk around:

  • Standards (or lack of …) – Many people don’t know what Augmented Reality is and there was mention about the need to change the name. Layar explained the decision to brand their new software Layar Creator, in a way that better explain what it does. Another issue with AR is that you don’t always know that its there, unlike QR codes, there is no universal marker. Furthermore there are a number of different AR browsers that you need to download to view an AR experience.
  • It needs to be more than a gimmick – there is little application to demonstrate the use of AR in a manner that offers any practical application. Tomo OHNO Founder, Kudan, Japan, asserted that it is unlikely that an AR app is used more than twice. http://www.kudan.eu/ AR is not “about technology” but instead it is about “enhancing objective and value” and “enabling new ideas”.

The following was also touched upon:

  • Security – who owns the digital space?
  • Are Head Mounted Displays and Contact Lenses the future?
  • The need to become more ‘cloud’ base

Despite the unfortunate hash tag – #arsummit (as some of my colleagues were keen to point out to me) was a very valuable event. It has inspired ideas for future AR projects and as a result I have invited speakers to the AR in education event.

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