Are You Ready for Augmented Reality? by @KristiCasey

Imagine this: You’re in a crowded convention center and aren’t quite sure where to go next. You hold up your phone and see signposts appear, pointing out what will be going on next with speaker ratings.

Or this: While flipping through a magazine, you see a hotel that looks interesting. You scan that page with your mobile device and a video plays, giving you more information. Then a series of buttons appear. They allow you to download a schematic of their meeting space, schedule an appointment to talk with a sales rep and do a quick virtual tour.

Well, these things — and more — are already possible, thanks to the “magic” of augmented reality.

Augmented reality is like a QR code that interacts with you. Like a QR code, you unlock hidden content with a mobile app. Unlike QR codes, augmented reality content can be tied to an image or a location and contain multiple calls to action. Augmented reality also allows for a richer user experience.

The augmented reality content you unlock can include interactive 3-D animation, videos, photo overlays, links to websites, calendars, emails and social networks — or any combination of the above. What’s more exciting is that relatively inexpensive platforms exist where non-techies can drag and drop the experiences and content they want users to experience into templates that automatically code everything. These web-based dashboards even give you analytics about user behavior and interactions.

So if you know how to click and drag a mouse, you can start encoding conference brochures with enriched sponsor content, a welcome video from your key stakeholders, links to exhibitor’s Facebook and Twitter pages — and then give them a report of how many views and clicks occurred afterwards.

Don’t worry if you’ve gone totally green and no longer print brochures. You can still use the technology. Once an image is tied to augmented reality content, that image will still trigger the content no matter how it appears, whether in an email, on a website, a hotel leaderboard, conference signage, the side of a bus or in a digital brochure.

Want to learn more? Join me in New York City  Aug. 13 at PlannerTech or Aug. 22 at PYM LIVE and I’ll break down how it works, and how you can use it to engage your attendees and create a new revenue stream for your events.

Want to start playing with the technology? Download the free PYM+ app for Apple or Android devices and scan embedded pages in our 2013 Plan Your Meetings Annual Guide (our table of contents for augmented content is on page 6). If you want a print copy to play with, subscriptions for meeting/event planners are free and available by filling out this quick 2-min. survey.

Plan well and prosper, friends! Let me know if I’ll see you in New York by tweeting @PYMLive (I have special discount codes for each event).

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