Metaio's Lisa Murphy on the Latest Advancements of Augmented Reality


Lisa Murphy is the Product Marketing Manager for Metaio, a company that develops software products for visual interactive solutions between the real and the virtual world.

Metaio is responsible for some of the coolest augmented reality implementations and they recently partnered with Time Out New York Kids to bring P.S.22's famous YouTube video to your phone through mobile AR (via their Junaio browser). It's a brave new AR world and Metaio is one of the companies leading the charge.

1) From movie posters to Ben & Jerry's ice cream, augmented reality marketing is generating a lot of buzz. However, the usage and awareness of AR is still not very high. Is buzz the ultimate goal in AR marketing today?

Buzz is definitely a goal for brands and it sometimes is the ultimate goal. But for many others, brands are looking beyond the buzz to deliver an interactive brand engagement experience or help drive sales of their products. For example, LEGO, a partner of ours, created the LEGO Digital Kiosk installation at their retail stores. The LEGO Digital Kiosk allowed shoppers to see a 3D model of the actual LEGO toy with animations and sound right on top of the product package when held to the kiosk. ( )In this execution, LEGO not only created a buzz, a great brand experience, but also sold more products as a result of the experience.

2) Time Out New York Kids and Metaio recently partnered to create a mag cover with AR using the Junaio browser, similar to Esquire's AR cover some months ago. Now that AR is becoming a reality on print, do you think AR is going to become a trend in the print industry?

Print industry is a great fit for augmented reality. As we see a more steady push toward digital ebooks and wide consumption of articles online, publishers are looking for creative and innovative ways to engage their traditional magazine readers beyond just text in a magazine. We definitely see more publishers using augmented reality to create this mixed and interactive experience for their readers and drive more sale of the magazines on newstands. For Time Out New York Kids, having a feature cover and an editorial on PS22 definitely pointed out how talented the Chorus was, but to be able to connect the reader to a video of their performance is instant and engaging.

3) One of my favorite examples of AR is the Adidas Originals 3D Neighborhood sneakers. Where did that idea come from and how successful has it been?

The idea of creating an AR shoe that serves as a game controller for the Star Wars game came from Sid Lee Marketing Agency. They approached us with the concept and we jointly implemented the AR experience using our Unifeye software. The campaign has been very successful and generated much press coverage and buzz. I am not able to disclose any statistics regarding usage as they belong to the client. However, the campaign for the user was successful because it extended beyond just a simple AR campaign, incorporating interactions and social media features to make it engaging and fun. We have heard a lot of good feedback.

4) Apps like Tweepsaround (based on Layar) have been able to give us a hint of the integration of AR and the social web. Is Metaio doing anything in the social networking space?

Yes we are. Junaio, our augmented reality browser, has a social focus that allows users to leave “geo-tags” at locations to share with friends. For example, any user can create a “user augmented channel” and leave photos, comments, notes, or 3D objects at locations for friends to discover. Recently, I created a channel called “Lisa’s Adventures” and it's full of my favorite places to go in the city. My friends can tune into my channel and see my recommendations just by pointing their phone. We have also embedded features such as adding friends, news to create a fun and social experience for our users.

On the channel side, Foursquare and Youtube are some of the social networking AR channels that we make available for users to discover.

5) Going back to TONY Kids, what do you think this will do for PS 22, the YouTube sensation and Webby Award-winning fifth-grade chorus from Staten Island?

When we told PS22 about the AR cover, they were very excited. Part of the reason why they were so successful was their viral YouTube videos that garnered more than 2 million hits. Using augmented reality, we were able to connect those videos to the magazine article that allowed the readers to experience the magic as they were reading. More readers are able to see their performance.

6) It seems like kids these days are born knowing how to operate computers and smartphones. What about education? Is there an area in which AR could be helpful in the classroom?

Yes! Augmented reality is making books more interactive and fun to read. We did a project with Bertlesmann in 2008 where we turned a couple of pages in their Atlas to 3D AR pages.  The AR experience with visual, audio supplement allowed a reader to better understand the content of the book. Learning by watching a video or having a 3D construction of the terrains vastly improves the intake of information. Future is Wild is another example project.

7) Industrial AR is another interesting use case. Any examples of companies doing this effectively?

Yes, Peugeot, Opel, VolksWagen are some of the pioneers in factory planning and prototyping.

8) In what other ways could the world benefit from increased use of AR?

Augmented reality creates a simple interface to data and information that is available in the world. By a simple point of the phone, users can get information immediately. For example, if I am a tourist in San Francisco and looking for places to go, I can use AR to discover landmarks around me.  No more searching through a map or reading a guide, you now can get instant information that is relevant and location-based.

9) We've gone from webcam/printout examples of AR to all kinds of AR-enabled games and mobile applications. What's next in Augmented Reality?

The growing area is definitely on the mobile side. Everything that we have seen about AR can now be done on a smart phone.

What’s next is mobile AR games? Check out Zoombie Shooter.

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