Posted by Eric Ungs

Augmented Reality has been around for some time now but really created a hype in 2009, but I think in 2010 the kinks will be ironed out and it’s going to go from hype to implementation. By implementation I mean small businesses really utilizing this tool for mobile users and local search.

Augmented Reality (AR) has different interpretations but for the most part it’s taking reality, seen through a camera (mobile), and adding a computer driven layer that includes data and imagery by using the phone’s location-based services, and compass.

The future is now…

With the revolutionized geo location software capabilities already in play on our mobile devices and now augmenting reality with those same devices, makes the “futuristic” AR the next BIG thing for 2010.

For instance, you’re walking down Michigan Ave. and you’re in search of restaurants, whip out your smartphone and point your camera down the street. Not only do nearby restaurants start to appear, but by clicking on a particular restaurant their specials at that very moment appear, menu items, business information, ratings and reviews by other consumers, the latest tweets, etc. The app searches the internet for all relevant information on the restaurant so you can choose the best dining experience based on the data that’s drawn.

This is not only powerful for restaurants, but any small business; dry cleaners, carpet cleaners, auto repair, etc.

A lot of the AR apps available now are more directed towards tourism. For instance, one is viewing a historical building and wants to know a little background on it, just point your phone at the stunning architecture and tons of relevant information is suddenly at your fingertips; Wikipedia entries, tweets, blog posts, news articles, etc. Become knowledgeable of your surroundings instantly.

Smartphone and Touchscreen phone usage is on the rise and quickly…

These types of capabilities on smartphones is going to be around for the long haul. The usage of smartphones has skyrocketed in the last couple of years. ComScore, in November, released a study showing that in August of 2008 Touchscreen phone usage was at 9.2 million users (with a 153% change of increase) to 23.8 million users in August 2009. Smartphone usage in August 2008 was at a whopping 20.7 million users (with a 63% change in increase) to 33.7 million users in August 2009.

Below are a few examples of AR apps found on BusinessWeek’s Best iPhone AR apps for Business post:

Yelp
– The new Monocle feature is activated by pointing your phone at a building and it then compiles data driven from Yelp.com.

Screenshot below provided by Rachael King

Urbanspoon

– This application is based on ratings and reviews for restaurants. Point your phone at a particular restaurant, center it in the cross hairs of your scope, click on the restaurants name and you’ll be able to view the most recent ratings and reviews compiled from various sources.

Screenshot below provided by Rachael King

New York Nearest Subway

– This app allows you to look through your phone’s camera to locate the nearest subway.

Screenshot below provided by Acrossair

YelpUrbanspoonNew York Nearest Subway

Augmented Reality is quite fascinating and it’s going to be interesting to see more players get involved and also how the small business community is going to tap into this.

Have you used any of the AR apps? What were your thoughts?


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