Another example of creative use of Augmented Reality rears its head in the form of an online scavenger hunt with a chance to win an iPad 2.
The team at Metaio who created the Junaio Augmented Reality browser and German creative shop Kreativagentur Thomas have partnered to create a scavenger hunt where you can use Junaio to scan special images hidden around the web to unlock AR content and experiences. At the same time, you collect stars for each scan. Collection of these stars can get you in the running for a chance to win a free iPad 2.
How do you get in on the goodness? The instructions are detailed here, but in general, you download Junaio for Android or iOS, scan an initial barcode to launch the game channel (channels in Junaio are like mini-apps inside the browser), register, then start looking for special images and markers to scan out on the net.
Clues to find these scan-able images are found on Junaio’s Facebook page. You must “like” Junaio to be able to see the clues.
The app channel also provides a toggle for two different content views. One view is your typical “viewfinder” mode so you can aim your camera at specialized images or markers and scan them. The other is your “Christmas Room” view, which is a virtual 360 degree view of your Christmas Room, complete with a tree for the presents and stars you collect. You can also superimpose elements from this Christmas Room into pictures you take with your phone’s camera. You can then share these images.
This is a timed event meaning that it starts today (Dec. 6) and if you miss the clues today, you cannot access that content in following days to collect those stars. This creates a little bit of demand, I suppose.
What does this hunt mean in terms of the market for Augmented Reality experiences? Certainly, scavenger hunts are nothing new. And 2-D barcodes and image scanning get a lot of flack these days, partly because they are misused a lot from a strategic standpoint (a.k.a “hey, let’s just slap a 2D barcode link on our print ad at the last minute so people can watch a video”).
I think scanning codes and markers is still a viable concept especially when properly used as a tool to ease the call-to-action for mobile engagement. For example, when you scan a 2D barcode to directly launch an app download screen in the Android Market, you are achieving real utility and time savings by skipping the regular search procedure on your phone. The code effectively ties instruction in one format (print media or PC) to a function in another format (smartphone app download).
Similarly, in this example, the act of scanning both traditional 2D glyphs and special photos/markers becomes a tool of this campaign to help you achieve a goal. Therefore the action of scanning images actually adds value to the customer interaction and is not just a gimmick or novelty. But it is a bit more complex than a lot of “give-away” campaigns out there so we’ll have to wait to see if a lot of people catch on and get involved.
Metaio’s energies for this kind of creative venture are fairly well documented and expansive. But I had not heard of Kreativagentur Thomas until I got the chance to meet a few people from their team back in September. From what I have seen, they have a lot of creative energy as well and are quite adept at using Metaio’s advanced AR technologies as well as the tech of other AR providers. I expect we will see more projects like this coming out of this partnership in the future.