Christmas is here ; Time to send some augmented cards!

Christmas cards

Tradition is one word that we get to hear a lot around this time of the year. Ahh yes, it’s Christmas season, folks! ☃️ and we can’t wait for Santa to arrive with some AR magic gifts 🎅 

One of the popular traditions in this season is , of course, sending Christmas cards to loved ones. Yet it’s a tradition that hasn’t necessarily been going strong for the past decade. According to a research by WorldRemit in the UK , 52% prefer to send out Christmas greetings using social media rather than physical cards. Guys, admit it, you were giving up on the traditional Christmas cards lately… 

An obvious cause of this decline is the lifestyle humans abide by today. In spite of that, we still shouldn’t let our lifestyles take a toll on our traditions because they already have survived years for a good reason. On that note, let’s take a look at how and why sending greeting cards became one of the most popular Christmas traditions ever.

It all began in Christmas 1843 when Sir Henry Cole, a man of immense reverence in the art movement in the UK at the time, wanted to show love to his many friends, including those he hadn’t been able to stay in touch with due to how busy he was.

He reached out to renowned artist John Horsley and together they created the first Christmas card in history. The response for Cole’s thoughtful deed was heartwarming as recipients of the card saw the innovation that went into Cole’s way of wishing them a blessed Christmas.

Ever since, as Christmas cards evolved and became more creative, one aspect remained consistent. The purpose behind sending them was always to put in extra effort and time to celebrate the special relationships between the senders and the receivers every Christmas.

If you ask us, there’s nothing more wonderful in the entire world. We believe this is the very reason the tradition has lived on for all these years. One person who agrees with us is dear Santa Claus himself. Last Christmas in an alley near a vintage Christmas bazaar, we stumbled upon a conversation between Santa and someone he called a “not-so-good kid” (who looked to be a 30 year older by the way) that was so nostalgic but took an interesting turn toward the end. It went like this:

Santa: So, not-so-good kid, I see you didn’t send any Christmas cards last year. Are you planning on sending some this year?

Not-so-good kid: Nope. I think I’ll just stick to giving out greetings online again this year. Facebook status and a Whatsapp broadcast message will probably do. Might even pull out an Instagram post as well.

Santa: Care to elabo-Ho-Ho-Ho-rate on why you’ve stopped using actual cards?

Not-so-good kid: Well, Santa, considering how stressful my life has been recently, the last thing I’d go for right now is a trip to the post office. Not to mention, the amount of time and thought that I gave the cards I used to send is a luxury I simply do not have anymore.

Santa: Let me ask you this. Didn’t you have fun creating those cards? Weren’t they a so-Ho-Ho-Ho-urce of happiness for those you care about?

Not-so-good kid: Yeah, I did enjoy creating them and my family and friends really liked my cards.

Santa: Then, don’t you think you owe it to them and to yourself to invest extra time and effort only once every year to sho-Ho-Ho-Ho-w them how much you love them?

Not-so-good kid: Guess you’re right about that. I have been not-so-good, but not anymore!

Santa: Splendid! Here are the Fo-Ho-Ho-Ho-rtnite codes you asked for this year and I’ve got someplace to go now. Take care, my child. *hops onto his sleigh and takes to the sky*

Not-so-good kid: Thanks, Santa!

Oh, wait! Santa last Christmas I sent my mom a video of me using her recipe to make apple pies. She loved it. How can I do that using cards?

Santa: Huh? Sorry, child. Didn’t catch that. I think I’m getting o-Ho-Ho-Ho-ld. Talk next year!

Whoops! That’s some trouble Santa has found himself in. Indeed the one perk of sending Christmas greetings online over using Christmas cards is sharing personal digital content.

Using Augmented Reality, you can craft your special cards, scent them in your favorite perfume, and then overlay all kinds of digital content onto them to amuse your loved ones. You can go as wild as you wish. So, yes, not-so-good kid, now you can send your mother cooking videos in your cards 🥞.  You can also create a 3D Christmas tree, decorate it exactly the way you and your father used to, and then send it to him to interact with it. 🎄

You can definitely send your siblings an audio file containing a karaoke medley of all the Christmas carols you adored singing as kids 🎤. How about that friend of yours who is spending her/his first Christmas as a parent and may be a bit overwhelmed? Augmenting their Christmas card will allow you to send them a nice supportive video to help alleviate any stress. 😄

So that’s a message to all the not-so-good kids or even adults of the world. You are out of excuses. There’s nothing like receiving a Christmas card in your mailbox. It’s a tradition that never fails to draw smiles to people’s faces. Any human being will feel appreciated and loved when special care is put into your way of showing him/her that he/she is in your thoughts. And there’s no better way to show that special care than using AR for your Christmas cards.

So do-Ho-Ho-Ho-n’t mention it, Santa! And from our family to yours, we wish you a very merry Christmas!

Creating magic using AR is in never  limited to Christmas cards only. You can leverage all the perks of using AR for your business and learn how to do so effectively right now through Augmania! Sign up to our AR platform here: https://creator.augmania.com/sign_up 








Interactive Ideas to Turn Your Next Event into A Memorable Experience

Interactive events

The event management industry is a booming one. In 2016, Statista reported that the industry reached a revenue of 30.3 billion USD. With that said, it’s a no-brainer that the industry is a highly competitive one. Event organizers around the world are always on the hunt for interactive ideas to get users involved in a memorable experience. As a rule of the 21st century, if you’re itching for new ideas, you must bet on technology.

Event management moguls are well aware of that rule and have been applying it neatly. Recently, we’ve seen incredible tech in events that enhanced check-in, security, and attendees engagement. 

To event planners, perhaps no technology is more convenient than Augmented Reality. AR is unique, interactive, versatile, and easily the most accessible tech around.

All these perks make AR the perfect source of interactive event ideas. It really is as if AR and event management are a match made in heaven. Though to be honest, the same could be said about AR and many other industries. Anyway if you’re an event planner and want to master using AR in events, Augmania has you covered!

The following is a compilation of brilliant examples of AR incorporation into different kinds of events:

Corporate Events

Corporate events vary in size, duration, and purpose. Yet AR has already found its way into corporate events aplenty (versatility, remember?). Even the most dull of corporate events have become all the more merrier with AR injections. Take meetings for example. There are some occasions when a virtual meeting will do and these are some awesome occasions. Other occasions, like when a big number of participants needs to be present, call for physical meetings.

These occasions are unavoidable. Likewise, the catastrophe of attendees staring at their phones throughout the meeting is just as unavoidable. However, AR can help meeting planners capitalize on that catastrophe rather than fight it. Gamifying meetings using AR will make attendees use their phones to go through the milestones of the meeting. Theming meetings as treasure hunts, for instance, has become a popular event idea to boost interactivity from attendees.

AR treasure hunts can also be used for events such as conferences, product launches, and trade shows. Such events usually require larger venues. With large venues, organizers devote major effort to making venue navigation smooth. That way attendees can reach their desired destinations easily. Creating an AR venue tour will make navigation even easier.

Surely easier than with the typical printed maps nobody looks at.

Using AR in product display is one surefire event idea to mesmerize attendees. The idea of displaying products in AR is especially handy with sizable products. In an outstanding product showcase, Ford allowed attendees of the 2017 North American International Auto Show to view the insides of 3 Ford cars using Microsoft’s Hololens. Attendees could even leave remarks on what they would change in the cars for Ford designers to review. Now that’s one way to listen to your audience.

 Ford Advanced Reality 2017, Youtube 

You can harness AR to generate interactive ideas for events that feature multiple speakers. Users can scan speakers’ faces to learn whatever info you’d like them to learn about the event guests. Take it a step further and enable the same feature for all attendees. It will make networking a great deal easier.

Finally, what is a good event without a vintage photo booth? Well, AR is a great fit for that too. An AR mirror would work best here. Attendees can add 3D props to their reflections and adjust shots with their hands before taking pictures. They will leave the event with pretty cool unorthodox pictures and memories of an extraordinary event.

                                                         Copyright Boaz via Viemo 

Concerts

Event ideas such as AR venue tours and photo booths work just as fine for concerts as well. Whereas tech is used in corporate events for efficiency, it’s used in concerts rather for flashiness. AR sure can get flashy, folks (versatility, remember?). Look no further than Coachella 2012. Fans couldn’t believe their eyes as they saw the legendary Tupac Shakur take to the stage live once again.

According to MTV , the hologram cost between 100-400K USD and took four months of work. It certainly paid off as the amazingly realistic Pac hologram joined Snoop Dogg for an epic Hail Mary rendition. You can even see Snoop get emotional as he reunites with his friend in all his glory.

It’s truly one of the greatest Coachella moments ever…

Tupac Hologram Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre, Youtube

Perhaps inspired by the buzz hologram Tupac created, Rob Thomas created an AR experience for his fanbase in 2016. As a part of the VIP package for Thomas’ concerts, fans could perform duets with him. Kind of. Fans stood in front of a display that transported their hologram to a stage where Thomas was performing. After fans got the singalongs of their dreams, they received videos of the performances to brag with online.

Back to Coachella. This year, Eminem showed he was a tech geek as he unveiled Eminem Augmented. The app allows Em concertgoers to unlock exclusive visuals as he performs to complement the experience. Such visuals include a giant Slim knocking off helicopters a la Godzilla and Jason (from Friday the 13th) complete with a butcher knife and a chainsaw floating above the crowd; basically just a little glimpse of what’s going on inside Slim’s noggin. 

Eminem Coachella Live hologram, Youtube

Parties

For organizational parties, a lot of the previous event ideas have hopefully already provided some inspiration. But this next part is not for event organizers. It’s for those who just want to gather their loved ones and have a nice little party. Now if, lovely reader, you reside in Toronto, then you’re in for a special treat. You can hold a party in Battleverse’s gaming facility. The facility provides you with AR headsets and controllers to do battle AR style. The battle will be straight out of your wildest Sci Fi fantasies.

If you don’t live in Toronto, AR can still help you have killer parties. An AR game will be your best friend here. There are tons of AR multiplayer games to download right now on both the App Store and the Play Store. Of course, you could go for Pokemon Go, but that’s just too 2016. New AR games are available now that raise the bar higher.

Apple’s SwiftShot is an AR game that pits teams against each other in a slingshot war. It may sound simple, but it takes strategy and team camaraderie to win in this game. The game will also force you to move around a lot in order to perfect your shots. If your gang is looking for something more classic, you can try AR versions of Jenga and Beer Pong.

Hands-on with Apple’s Swift Shot augmented reality game , Youtube



But if you really want to go AR crazy, check out Night Terrors: Bloody Mary. Paranormal Activity’s Oren Peli is the mastermind behind this horror AR adventure. The goal Peli’s team had in mind with this game was to literally scare people of their own homes. That’s about as evil as it gets, but still pretty ambitious so props, I guess.

Night Terrors: Bloody Mary – Official Tease, Youtube

Ready to turn your next event into a bash? Sign up to our AR platform now and start creating AR experiences that will wow your attendees!



AR Portals Can Take You Places: Here are the 5 Best Portals

AR Portals

For years now, Augmented Reality has been clearing up problems for us left and right. It has made work, personal responsibilities, and the (at times, not so simple) task of enjoying things easier. Yet AR is the gift that keeps on giving. And speaking of gifts, it’s the Christmas season, isn’t it?

Well as a gift for this holiday, AR is giving us the benefits of travel but without paying a penny. It’s through the magical powers of AR portals!

There will definitely be those who managed to save for holiday trips. It’s an arduous process that requires some sacrifices. Congrats to all who pulled it off. More power to them! On the other hand, there are those (*raises hand*) who feel like 2018 was extra harsh on them. As a result, these folks have no budgets for travel this year.

Macaulay Culkin Christmas Movies GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

If “same” is the word coming out of your mouth as you are going this, lovely reader, then allow me to introduce you to AR portals. It doesn’t matter if you like traveling to learn new stuff or to get a thrill. AR portals will get the job done. Now hop along and let’s explore these 5 epic AR portals together!

Portal to Scottish Lore

Bagpipes, kilts, whiskey, and Angus meat may all pop into your head when Scotland is mentioned. But Scotland is one super awesome nation. Its centuries-long contributions to the world go way beyond. Telephones, TVs, bicycles, the Encyclopedia Britannica, penicillin, rock music, logarithms, and many other innovations we use daily originate in Scotland.

One of Scotland’s latest innovations ingeniously educates people on Scottish innovations and Scottish history. The country shows its forward-thinking ways once again with Portal AR. It is an app that invites users to experience Scottish culture while in the comfort of their homes. The app opens 4 portals of different disciplines: Visit, Live & Work, Business, and Study. Each portal unlocks unique destinations for users to travel to.

These destinations include the Edinburgh Castle, the North Coast 500, the UK’s highest mountain Ben Nevis as well as many iconic university campuses, headquarters of tech companies, and vintage whiskey distilleries. Through Portal AR, the Scottish government aims to boost tourism and establish leadership internationally in the tech world. The job was done well, I’d say.

Portal to Marriott Paradise

Since 1927, Marriott has been soaking visitors in its world-renowned luxury. Its impeccable hospitality has brought about an equally impeccable reputation and over 6500 hotels all over the world. To maintain this storied status, Marriott is always evolving in lots of areas. One of these areas is, of course, technology.

This past June, Marriott Caribbean & Latin America launched an AR app, Portal to Paradise. Marriott developed the AR portal in response to travelers’ change in perception of travel to the Caribbean following Hurricanes Irma and Maria last year to ensure them that plenty of beautiful places were not affected.

The app opens AR portals to 8 majestic Marriott resorts in the region. Users can explore the resorts in all their glory as each comes with 6 unique sites. So the app is your chance to take a walk by the beach, jump in a virtual spa, or witness for yourself the unparalleled coziness of Marriott rooms.

Marriott became one of the first brands to utilize AR portals as a canvas to sell its services. Other brands who have joined the club include Lufthansa. The company launched an app that opens portals to popular touristic cities such as New York and Hong Kong.

Portal to the NBA Finals

Last season, the NBA allowed its diehards to watch the finals on demand in a whole new way. On its app, the league assembled over 20 AR portals! Each portal allowed users to watch the game from a different perspective. This created unprecedented immersion for fans who watched from home. The portals also let users be a part of team huddles, introductions, and celebrations.

The NBA’s tech team is currently working on user data to see which features resonated most. That’s hopefully a sign of more AR portals to come from the NBA later on. With the success of NBA’s AR portals, there’s no reason to think that other organizations like the NFL and FIFA aren’t working on portals of their own. So it’s a pretty exciting time to be a sports fan with different sports leagues competing for your attention.

Portal to the Moon

Imagine you’re at the mall and you overhear a couple having this bit of conversation:

Partner 1: Honey, before we go, I want to check out this furniture store. I know furniture is not your thing. You can wait outside if you’d like. I’ll be back in no time.

Partner 2: Sure, babe. I’ll go for a walk on the moon in the meantime. I’ll be back in no time too.

Ouch, right? Is there any way what Partner 2 said doesn’t lead to an instant argument? Is there any way Partner 1 wouldn’t take it as a sarcastic dig done in bad taste? Yes, there is one; if Partner 2 goes moonwalking via an AR portal. Alright, I’m sorry. I just can’t help but think of such scenario every time I see the portal in action.

Just watch that portal user walk on the moon like he/she was walking down a shopping aisle. The user takes a look at the stunning view of good  Earth from there. Then he/she heads back to the mall. It’s so casual.

So exciting to try. So AR portals, if you ask me.

Portal to the Upside Down

Any Stranger Things fans here? If you are one, you probably know of the AR portal I’m about to go through right now. The portal to the Upside Down! To celebrate the premiere of season 2, Netflix collaborated with Snapchat to create a world lens that let users into Joyce Byers’ infamous living room. Fans could interact with everything in the room and unlock secret easter eggs.

Shazam was also a part of the campaign. If Snapchat was open, it would detect if the show’s theme was playing and open the AR portal. The nice people at Ads of The World published some incredible stats on the campaign. It turns out the campaign reached 45 million users who lived in the Upside Down for 22.5 million minutes.

Developers have been using Snapchat’s world lens to create portals to other fictional realms, including my personal favorite. An AR portal to the Rick and Morty multiverse. Wubba Lubba Dub Dub Y’all!

Well, where are you planning to spend your next holiday then? There’s no shame in spending it at home with family, playing around with AR portals or even creating your own through Augmania.

How to Keep Your Brochures Away From Trash Bins

Brochures in trash bin

A brochure is often known as a brand’s silent salesperson. Why so, you ask? Well, simply because it comes with a plenty of perks! So it is important to keep it away from trash bins.

Brochures’ small size drives brands to create a smooth flow of the delivered content. It usually starts with eye-catching identity-reflecting visuals which direct readers to the story of a brand and/or a product before presenting a call to action.

This flow encourages prospects to both read and pass on the brochure. In addition, a brochure is highly versatile. Its means of distribution range from handing out during events to delivering to mailboxes. This versatility grants your brand remarkable opportunities at targeting a variety of interest groups effectively. And last but not least, brochures are relatively economical, especially when produced in bulk.

Brochure

Now all these lovely perks are certainly conditional. As mentioned, the first step in this cascade is a brochure capturing your prospect’s attention. But what if that never happens? Well, thanks to the era we live in,  the chances of your brochure, no matter how exquisite it is, to provoke potential consumers are getting slimmer.

If career and self-improvement thoughts are always bombarding your customers, then expecting them to give your good old brochure even a tiny bit of their time is wishful thinking. These customers already have a plethora of brands other than yours marketing their products to them. Considering all that, you really shouldn’t take it personally if you find your loyal clients throwing your brochures in the ummm trash bin.

Brochures been thrown in the trash bin

Of course, seeing your brochures go to waste is not a fun experience. It’s especially not one if you’ve devoted a sizable chunk of your campaign’s budget to printing. Another issue with brochures is their limited functionality compared to other tools that can provide analytics among other functions. These reasons have caused many brands (perhaps yours included) to rely less on brochures. Said brands have gone even to the point of totally excluding the use of brochures from their marketing strategies.

All that into perspective, it’s not hard to imagine a world where brochures have gone extinct. But not if Augmented Reality has something to say about it!

Man approaching: AR has something to say about it

Using AR, you can make readers unlock exclusive bonus content as they scan your brochure which means that the silent salesperson is silent no more. It’s rather a charismatic rock star who has the power to do all the talking for your brand.

AR have the power to keep brochures away from trash bins with Augmania

The sheer array of AR content you can utilize is endless. You could use hands-on demos of your products, a tell-all history of your brand, interactive games, and stirring short movies. You could go as creative as you want to. Yet again keep in mind that AR as a tech is regularly amidst exponential growth. So there are no limits to how far you can go with AR to engage your audience. Yes, that same audience that rejects traditional brochures will find itself helpless in front of your AR brochures.

Knowing that you have chosen them to witness this exciting new form of marketing and seeing the modern tech you’re using only to earn a minute of their time, they are much less likely to throw away your brochures because they understand they possess something valuable. They are more likely to give it to people within their circles as well because your brochure will serve as a way for them to brag.

Video Brochure GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Yet we are only getting started here with the magic powers of AR content when integrated into brochures. So far we have only discussed AR’s role in persuading your prospects to merely check out your brochures. But how about AR’s role in persuading your prospects to convert? That’s when things get mighty interesting.

According to a research published in Psychology Today by Pamela Rutledge from the School of Psychology in Fielding Graduate University, “AR is adept at facilitating the decision-making process”. With its nature, AR merges real with virtual and as the researchers discovered. This greatly influences both our conscious and unconscious cognition. This is a paramount discovery for unconscious thinking has been known by psychology experts to be the determinant of 95% of our daily decisions.

The cherry on top of all this is that augmenting your brochures can offer you incredibly detailed metrics. These metrics allow you to monitor the success of your brochures from knowing how many people scanned them to how many people converted after receiving them. Using this data, you can modify your distributing strategies all you want to develop the perfect marketing model that works best for your brand.

Learn more about how AR is disrupting the printing industry for brochures, business cards and more here: https://www.augmania.com/arprint/

Top 5 AR experiences of 2018

Build Awesome Experience with Augmania - The first AR platform for marketers,augmented reality

2018 was a year full of interactive AR experiences.

Brands and leading firms have realized the importance of investing in AR and they’ve been doing it intensively lately to stay ahead of the game and secure their customers’ satisfaction.

Here are our selected top 5 AR experiences of 2018

1. Weather Channel – Hurricane Florence AR Experience

What’s the best way to warn residents of an upcoming hurricane and raise awareness about such a dangerous phenomenon in a way people will find entertaining?

Apparently, the Weather Channel has already found answers. So far, it is looking very interesting. This happened last September when the destructive Hurricane Florence made landfall on North Carlonia.

In order to inform people about it, the Weather Channel has created some terrifying yet amazing interactive graphic illustrations of the storms and the water surges that are expected to immerse the city using augmented reality. Besides the powerful AR visuals, the weather reporter appeared to be in the middle of the storm while things were falling and water levels rising around him. This made the whole experience seem too realistic.  The video of the AR experience went viral and it marked the success of the Weather Channel at getting people interested and warned about the real dangers of the Hurricane.

      Credit: The Weather Channel / YouTube

2. Coca-Cola – Scandinavia AR campaign

Augmented reality is not news to a huge brand like Coca-Cola. It has been killing it with AR campaigns already since its Arctic Home Campaign back in 2013 to its recent 2018 World Cup AR experience.  In fact, in 2018 it invested heavily in creating more interactive AR experiences all over the world.

Augmania was part of Coca-Cola’s journey into creating immersive experiences as it was deployed to build a Fanta Flip challenge campaign. The experience succeeded massively at boosting consumers’ engagement.  

Coca-Cola’s recent AR campaign at the Mall of Scandinavia was by far its major 2018 hit. It brought life to the coca-cola cans and bottles that were all over the place in an attempt to persuade people to interact with it by collecting it and disposing of it. The campaign was very engaging and people had a lot of fun tossing the cans in creative gestures into the garbage collector. After all, the campaign ‘s goal aimed at highlighting the importance of recycling and keeping the environment clean. Amazingly, people were more than willing to join the cause and be part of the disruptive experience.

    Credit: Coca-Cola / Youtube

3. New York Times – AR Halloween Edition

New York Times took the Halloween celebrations to a whole new level this year. A more frightening one. It included some scary surprises for its readers when browsing the pages of the magazine. This was ensured by a new feature it added, ‘Monsters That Live on You’ which displays augmented visualizations of the most terrifying parasites that we usually avoid seeing at any cost.

So by scanning the QR code, readers will be face to face with their worst nightmare; A huge spider crawling in the screen, a giant cockroach laying in their house floor, bed bugs in their pillows and much more.

new-york-times-halloween-edition-uses-augmented-reality-bugs-scare-educate.w1456
Image by Palladino / Next Reality

To make the experience more exciting, the New York Times included a fun fact related to each parasite to add a little humor to the petrified scene.

4. Nicorette – Augmented Reality Storytelling Campaign

Nicorette is your one-way ticket to quitting smoking. It is a Swedish brand that is providing a nicotine replacement therapy through a wide range of products. It strives for helping people overcome their cigarette cravings.    

Recently, it showcased the great cause that it is advocating for through an awesome AR campaign. It took place at the Kings Cross station in London. Basically, it told the story of David, a smoking addict that succeed at quitting and acquiring instead a better habit; slacklining.  The storytelling style using AR was so intense to make people feel what’s like to be in David’s shoes. They got to see the life he lived and mainly the challenges he overcame during his battle with the smoking habit.

Through this campaign, Nicorette was trying to influence people to replace their smoking habits with more interesting ones. Let’s face it, what a better way to do it than through an immersive AR experience?

Credit: Nicorette/Youtube

5. National Geographic – Augmented Magazine Cover 

Just like Coca-Cola, National Geographic has been doing AR campaigns for a while now. The good thing is that it is getting better each time.

Just this month, it launched an interactive augmented version of its paper edition. With the 3d visuals and impressive animations, people would be able to see athletes swimming in the cover page and more objects coming to life by simply scanning the images.

It is looking cool and people are liking it. Interactive AR magazines might just be the next trend to engage more readers!

Building a better athlete

What was your favorite AR experience of the year? Leave us a comment below or better, make your own experience using the Augmania AR platform.