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An industry ahead of the rest

13 Mar

Contextually rich communications. Advanced technological applications. Early adoption of emerging technologies. Augmented reality.

Does any particular industry come to mind? How about the Health Care industry?

Augmented reality (AR) has applications in the diagnosis as well as the treatment of disease, and has assisted in the professional medical community for over 10 years.

AR’s interactive imaging helps doctors accurately visualize their patient’s insides – and I mean their patient’s actual insides. Various scans can be combined with each other and then be projected onto their patient to allow doctors and surgeons a completely non-invasive look inside.

AR is also applied to medical communications and education. Genzyme, a biotech company used AR to demonstrate the risks of taking calcium-based binders. Schools are now also using AR to help students visualize the systems of the body, and understand their functions.

I could talk about the exciting marking, branding, and advertising opportunities in medical communications, because you’re right, there are many. But the opportunity that excites me the most is the chance to make the lives of patients and caretakers a lot less stressful, and maybe a little more fun.

AR on the patient level could provide additional support on administering drugs or treatments and injury rehabilitation. As patients we are often bombarded with more info than we’re capable of retaining (I know I struggle to remember even a quarter of it just a little while later). AR markers added to medical product packaging, informational brochures, and patient starter kits would provide instant follow-up demonstrations, instructions, and support for patients and caretakers.

The organization that can also infuse some entertainment (read: fun) into the experience, as well as some subtle-but-effective branding wins all the prizes.

Are there other ways we can create shared-value with customers using AR? Where are the opportunities for businesses and organizations in Victoria?

(photo courtesy of Medical Augmented Reality)

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Tunnel tourism: the next big thing for Victoria?

19 Feb

Victoria’s entrepreneurial management of its historical assets lies at the heart of the city’s success as a tourist destination. We do a lot with a little.

Tourists tend to move from the Inner Harbour down Government St. to Chinatown, then back. Small strip, but there’s a ton of history packed into those 6 or 7 blocks.

Of course that’s only the history you can see. There’s a whole different level of intrigue going on below the surface. Literally.

The Tunnels.

Tunnel tours

Whether coal chutes from the harbour up through Market Square, escape routes for opium users in Chinatown, or discreet connections between the Empress Hotel and the Union Club, everyone’s heard a story about the tunnels – and there is plenty of fanatical interest. Yet no one really knows the entire network for certain and the City sure isn’t telling.

I was personally introduced to one by the owner of the Pacific Design Academy on Wharf Street who stumbled upon it in his basement while doing renos.

Imagine the financial potential of upgrading those tunnels and creating under-city guided tours: Victoria’ amazing history told through the city’s original town planning.

People love tunnels. Think of the success of the Catacombs in Paris, or the Cu Chi tunnel systems in Vietnam. When managed well, tunnel tourism can be huge business. Seattle has been exploiting its own tunnel history since 1965 thanks to the efforts of legendary historian and promoter Bill Speidel. So the model is already there.

Victory’s history could be even more sensationally brought to life via an Augmented Reality app that you use when you’re on the tour.

Tunnel tourism would make a heck of a viability study for the Entrepreneurial majors in U Vic’s Gustavson School of Business, don’t you think?

Tunnel tours

Raising the dead with mobile technology?

5 Jan

Staking a vampire through the heart

Mobile technology was supposed to be the final stake through the heart of print media.

Mobile devices let you pull unlimited content to you anywhere you are. The printed magazine and newspaper were going to twitch and grimace a bit but ultimately succumb to the inevitable.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the graveyard.

Thanks to this brilliant new mobile technology, the so-called dead media have risen. Here are a couple of examples.

1. Print media supporting the technology

Magazines about Androids

Magazine titles around mobile devices, apps and operating systems have exploded. The very technology that was supposed to put the media 6-feet under has provided a rich vein (sorry I AM going to stop with all the vampire gags now) of content.

iPhones, Blackberrys, Androids .. there’s a mag for that.

2. Print media using the technology.

Augmented reality not only showcases sexy new dimensions to print media, but it also ushers in new ways for these publications to create advertising opportunities. Ad sales are going to turn a corner when this technology hits its stride.

Check out some of the cool applications of augmented reality in print media.

The Future of Mobile: Augmented Reality!

10 May

What happens when mobile technology, motion sensor, GPS and coupon platform converge with the hottest technology trend Augmented Reality? A powerful mobile implementation!

Created by Japan’s Mobile Art Lab, the innovative free iPhone application iButterfly transforms the habit of collecting targeted promotional coupons into a fun and entertaining game using Augmented Reality and the mobile device’s GPS functions.

By looking through the app on the iPhone, users can find virtual butterflies flying around in the Augmented Reality world where this application is available. By shaking the mobile, users will be able to catch them physically. Once caught, users will then able to retrieve one or more coupons related to the location, beneficial information or content linked to the butterfly.

The app can also be used as butterflies collection album to be shared with friends via Bluetooth.

What do we love about this application?

  • The butterfly represents an “innocent” element to be collected by the user and some butterflies can become instant rewards as they include coupons from participating businesses.
  • It is a fun game that integrates a game-system such as Nintendo Wii: the physical-action of catching the butterfly! The user is required to raise the phone, spot the butterfly in the augmented reality, wait for the virtual butterfly to fly into the square, line up their target, then swipe their device through the air to “catch” it.
  • The app allows social sharing. The users don’t have to trade all their coupons, but they can choose to share, exchange or trade their butterflies with other friends.

iButterfly is a strategic platform which demonstrates how innovative usage of existing technology can transform mobile phones into personal media space in an engaging way.

I can’t wait to see other variations or creative ways businesses could use Augmented Reality to engage with their customers!