Imagine a situation where you walk into an empty house you want to purchase and you point your phone’s camera towards any corner of the house. You immediately see on screen how the house would look furnished, complete with paintings on the wall, rug on the floor and a sofa. Not only that, you can also move things around to suit your needs to see how it looks. Or a case where you attend a sporting event and you point the camera towards a player and all the statistics of the player appear on your screen along with real time updates.
All this is possible thanks to AR or augmented reality, a technology which provides a digital overlay on the real world using a tablet or a smartphone running an AR app. Bangalore based startup Arivu, is aiming to change the rules of augmented reality, something which is still in infancy in India by making it more mainstream. Arivu is presently targeting print media publications, an industry which suffers from the lack of consumer engagement, by creating AR campaigns for the publication as well as for the advertisers and in the process changing the dynamics of the consumer engagement with the brands.
Currently Arivu offers an Android app and an iPhone app is under work. The startup offers brands a unique opportunity to immerse their consumers by creating unique campaigns interactive campaigns and Arivu hopes to further this experience by incorporating m-commerce and targeting the urbane consumers.
But becoming mainstream is not as easy as it sounds. Apart from slow acceptance of the Indian audience to new ideas, mainstream availability of hi-speed mobile internet is also an issue. Though the AR apps can cache data when possible and can work offline, more often than not, an active connection is required for it to function. Unlike in the case of QR and barcodes, which can be read by any app, the same is not true for AR content. So AR content by a company would possible only via the app of that brand. But this means that all the AR campaigns created by Arivu irrespective of the brand would be accessible by it’s app. Though efforts have started to take place for a standard for a mobile augmented reality experience and Arivu hopes to support them, but the work is far from over.
Gaining traction is the least of the startup’s worries, AR is still a novelty feature atleast in India. With the previous failure of QR codes and barcodes to engage consumers, it is still a long way to see how AR fares in India and how startup like Arivu changes all that.