Last night I had a dream that I was in a local theme park, ValleyFair, but it had melded with a video game. I was collecting digital coins as I was going down roller coasters and I was partnering with my teammates to unlock elements that would help me later in the game. I woke up thinking about the potential of integrating augmented reality and virtual reality into existing businesses.
Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are still in their infancy and innovators have already begun to create 4D amusement parks. Read my article on 3 theme parks that are use VR and AR to differentiate themselves within their industry. True, there are more than 400 amusement parks and attractions in the United States that they will be competing with, but these new technological experiences will give visitors a new experience.
But my dream made me question why create a new theme park? Why not heighten existing amusement park infrastructure and experience by integrating virtual reality and augmented reality? Google has proven that geo-location based AR games like Google’s Ingress are possible and highly popular (over twelve million players around the globe).
Using similar tactics, traditional amusement parks could easily adapt their parks to include similar technology with a lower economic burden as the infrastructure already exists. Following the same line of thought, digital and brick and mortar businesses could integrate themselves into Augmented Reality worlds like AXA Insurance did with Ingress or use augmented reality to showcase their product in a new way like Lego did with their new app Lego X.
We have only begun to scratch the surface of the potential of Augmented Reality marketing, but with developers already creating geo-location based AR games like Google’s Ingress it’s just a matter of time before businesses will need to choose if they want to write their own story like Lego, integrate their brand into a story like AXA Insurance, watch as their story is hijacked like Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum, or be ignored within the story narrative. Although the Smithsonian may have experienced a spike in traffic from being featured in Ingress, only two of these four options leaves businesses in control of their own destiny, allows them to be innovators and differentiate themselves in the market. What will you choose?