Is augmented reality the future of engaging with the community?

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Is augmented reality the future of engaging with the community?

Technology is continuously changing and keeping up with trends can be hard work, so now is the time to begin planning. Implementing a new piece of technology can be scary. You're opening doors to the unknown; anything could happen.
That's why planning is so important. In the words of Benjamin Franklin, "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail."

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The world revolves around technology. We have fast communication systems and the transport and infrastructure industry is continuously changing. Technology has opened many doors to engaging with the community around.

There are many types of communities. A community can be a local area or a global group of innovators. A community can even be a group of people who all have a passion for change

Technology has brought the world together. It lets us connect on platforms we wouldn't have thought were imaginable hundreds of years ago.

Augmented reality is the new innovative technology ready to improve the world of engagement, and is helping the world connect and continuously innovate. Although augmented reality is quite new, it's time to think whether it is the right fit for your organization.

Flash back to the Pokémon Go craze in 2016. People physically traveled to locations, finding and catching animated Pokemon characters on the app. The app engaged with people all over the world. Since then, a number of organizations have been inspired to give augmented reality a try after seeing the success this application had on communities. It drew people to local businesses to "catch Pokemon".

According to Business Insider's Matt Weinberger, Facebook is being rumored to create the next big augmented reality technology, as it has incorporated the concept of videos and interactive content.

In 2016, Mark Zuckerberg released his 10-year strategic plan for Facebook. The plan outlines within the next 10-years, virtual and augmented reality technology will be embedded throughout the entire Facebook platform.

What is augmented reality?

A useful article by the company, Augment defines augmented reality as "a technology that layers computer-generated enhancements on top of an existing reality in order to make it more meaningful through the ability to interact with it."

Many apps integrated augmented reality. Snapchat is another successful example of augmented reality. Snapchat uses "filters" as a form of blending in a virtual layer on top of the physical person's face. This creates a unique augmented experience for the user which they can share with their Snapchat community.

Governments and retailers are slowly beginning to consider jumping on the augmented reality wagon for new infrastructure projects taking place, according to Strategy+Business magazine.

With the help of augmented reality, a virtual picture of the future space can be created to give stakeholders an idea of the finished product. Augmented reality means better personalization, improved communication and deeper engagement with the community.

Should your organization consider planning for augmented reality?

Augmented reality is an opportunity to connect with the wider community. It's like creating a magic trick. You have the ability to make the invisible, visible.

Let's take a project for example. You want to construct a new park, and you need to determine where trees will be planted, where to put park benches, maybe even a cycle track. Augmented reality lets you take this physical space and add layers, and provides a virtual view of the proposed area.

You can then share this virtual world with the general community by letting your community visit the location and see the physical space. Then they can interact with the virtual world to see the proposed project come to life. Your community is an important asset. They can give you valuable opinions on a project. They can identify potential future errors with the plans or make suggestions to improve the development.

Use the community as a tool to improve projects

Give them an augmented reality experience of the space. Create a survey to get your community's opinion on the new space.

Dieter Schmalstieg and Tobias Hollerer wrote a helpful book called Augmented Reality: Principles and Practice. These authors talk about the evolution of augmented reality and what it will bring to the future world. "People are moving away from desktop computers. They want to experience the physical world as a new virtual experience," writes Hollerer.

Augmented reality gives people an interface to play with. They can enter a new enhanced physical world and experience a new virtual dimension. Augmented reality isn't something organizations can implement overnight. It takes careful planning and consideration.

Cost, time, an estimated outcome. All these questions need considering before your organization decides to plan for augmented reality.

How can augmented reality increase engagement?

We know the benefits of augmented reality. But how can you use the new technology to improve engagement with the community? Is it worth the time and cost?

If you choose to plan an augmented reality experience, get creative and choose to be unique with your experience. The community will be interested in your project, you just need to give them communication platforms to respond with their opinions.

For what purpose does your business plan to use augmented reality?

Don't add augmented reality features to your organizations just to keep up with trends. Give it a purpose. Use some time to strategically plan what you'll use augmented reality for. 

Will it be to develop a project? Or do you want to use augmented reality as a means of communicating a message? Once you have a purpose for creating an augmented reality experience, you can work how to make it a useful experience and start developing a plan. 

Your augmented reality experience starts now

If you haven't yet, check out Snapchat or Pokemon Go's augmented reality experience. Developing an app or software containing augmented technology takes time and strategy.

Do you think augmented reality is a tool Social Pinpoint should consider planning for? Would you use augmented reality for your upcoming projects? Let us know what you think below.

What are some other community engagement trends you predict? Join the conversation on our Ideas Wall!

2017-07-06T16:15:04+00:00

About the Author:

Jessica Goerke
Jessica is Social Pinpoint's experienced Marketing and Communications professional with a passion for all things community engagement.