"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic" -Arthur C. Clarke, "Profiles of The Future", 1961 (Clarke's third law)

Friday, July 16, 2010

Moovision, and the future of digital clutter

Well, it's been out for "a while", now, Ben&Jerry's , the Ice Cream brand with the granola-crunchy, tree-huggy , greener-earth, fair-for-everyone appeal, has released "Moovision", in their Augmented Reality app for iPhone, "Scoop of Happiness". If you want, you can read about it here. (And of course, being a videophile, I have to post a demo of it, too):

Moo Vision

Now, don't get me wrong, I like Ben and Jerry's. I remember going to Vermont, to the B&J factory, and trying to share a "Vermonster" with my siblings in place of lunch...(we failed to finish it). I support their methodologies, and their ethics, and it's why I chose them for this piece, to soften my criticism of the near inevitable influx of "AR for the sake of AR". I can't help but be reminded of this video. Come to think of it, we need to have a "Spam" filter in AR's future. "Add company x to my AR block list".

Already, we've seen AR as the newest gimmick in advertising. ARTags, markerless AR (like Juniao's Glue). I have the "AR Edition" of Esquire,(which told me I needed a better video card), a handful of Avatar iTags,(which work just fine),  ect. Advertisers are blazing the trail for AR..and I fret about the direction, and it's implications.

Now, I know, "Hey, they paid for it, they should get what they want", which is fine. At the very least it will help distribute a more common awareness of AR in the general public (of whom which is still generally unaware). Problem is, is all they see AR as is an advertising medium, or a virtual game medium, or even a 'geek toy' medium, then the future and scope of AR is going to be really limited.

There are plenty of apps out there, but few, (if any) have risen to become the "must have" app. The Internet was a much quieter place before the "WWW" App came out. Again, it comes to standardization, and there's plenty of 'industry changing' changes coming down the virtual pipe, but right now, you may as well point your AR browser around, and view the Wild Augmented West. "Hey, look, those two browsers are having a dual at high noon!".

I suppose that with a greater influx of smartphones..(and not just the iPhone).. and agreement of the different archmages on a common set of parameters, when the dust settles, we can get a unified 'baseline' for AR, and develop from there. If AR becomes a "product x is the new product a", consumers will tire quickly, and move on to whatever shiny pixels the advertisers send at them next. And, with the general attention span of Mr. And Mrs. Average Consumer being what it is, it's about time someone really gets their interest, and educate them.

Since AR is (generally) a "view only" experience ( AR will never take out your trash, or wash your dishes) without the inclusion of telepresence or robotics, developers should take heed, else this technology will just be the next best way to watch Hulu " on the go", and we can already do that.

No comments:

Post a Comment