Augmented Reality

Commonwealth Bank’s Property Guide iPhone application

Augmented reality,  the overlaying of data onto a real-time scene, is a term we are hearing more and more about. And though it’s not yet rampant, it is becoming more widespread. If you are an iPhone user, I’m sure you’ve marvelled at it at some point. Take for instance the now quite famous Commonwealth Bank iPhone application, which is designed for anyone buying or selling a home, or simply looking to keep on top of the property market. This is a great example of Augmented Reality.

The app uses ‘Augmented Reality’ to show rich data including past sales history, current property listings and recent sales. Best of all, it is mapped on to a real world view through the iPhone’s camera. Users have the power to switch to a list or bird’s eye view to pull in insights on properties matching their search criteria. Home hunters can then track their ‘dream house’ in their favourites, send to a friend and make informed decisions with access to detailed suburb profiles revealing demographics, median price, property hotspots and capital growth trends. Apps like this really demonstrate why Augmented Reality is such a popular technology amongst consumers.

So how do Augmented Reality and location intelligence fit together? Well, Augmented Reality is powered by two things – reality, and the technology which enables this reality to be captured and experienced in a real time 4 Dimensional basis by the end user. GIS is a key element of this technology.

 By its very nature, Augmented Reality is intrinsically linked and dependent on location intelligence. In the first instance, the whole concept of Augmented Reality starts with capturing and drawing a real time image of a location. This is then linked to a host of other information which provides users with a dynamic and interactive snapshot of “reality”. GIS provides the framework is present and link this information.

One area of Augmented Reality that I find particularly interesting is the commercial value it holds; the opportunities it creates for businesses. Augmented Reality, particularly when leveraged through mobile devices, is of particular interest to businesses as it allows them to come one step closer in delivering total customer satisfaction and meeting changing and challenging consumer demands. It also provides a platform for competitive advantage through virtual points of presence and connectivity that can greatly impact, influence and capture consumer behavior patterns. We have explored this in further detail in a previous post about Facebook Places if you want to go back and take a read.

But it’s not all about business obviously. As an iPhone user, I feel that apps with GIS-fuelled Augmented Reality are working to make my life easier. A perfect case in point is this video called ‘World Lens’ ($4.99 from the App Store) that demonstrates the power of Augmented Reality. It’s a new iPhone app that translates the language of any written word – so if you’re travelling overseas and aren’t sure what a street sign says, simply point your iPhone at the sign and it will translate it to your naked tongue (it only works for English and Spanish currently…). As you can see, the potential of this kind of technology is endless… and none of it would be possible without location intelligence.

– Alicia S.

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