Augmented Reality

Tokyo N Building

Tokyo N Building

I attended a University of Chicago Consulting Round Table event last night and heard Tim Frick from Mightybytes speak on Social Media Optimization.  As part of his speech, he showed an example of what is new in mobile technology.  I thought this example was really cool and wanted to share it with you.

This is the Tokyo N Building.  The street-facing side of Tokyo’s N Building is covered in QR codes that can be read by a smart phone or mobile device that can read QR codes.  This includes shop information, tweets of the people in the building (located by GPS tagging), coupons, and reservations that can be seen through a dedicated iPhone app that’s available only by request.

The building’s developers explained their vision this way: “N Building is a commercial structure located near Tachikawa station amidst a shopping district. Being a commercial building signs or billboards are typically attached to its facade which we feel undermines the structures’ identity. As a solution we thought to use a QR Code as the facade itself. By reading the QR Code with your mobile device you will be taken to a site which includes up to date shop information. In this manner we envision a cityscape unhindered by ubiquitous signage and also an improvement to the quality and accuracy of the information itself…Our goal is to provide an incentive to visit the space and a virtual connection to space without necessarily being present.”

I love both the visual appeal of the concept as well as the marketing opportunities.  This is geo location marketing and permission marketing at its best.  The consumer can find the information they want and receive any special deals available.

The only thing I wish these applications / systems had (and it may already be coded in there and it is just not included in any of the news releases) is a way to know who the consumer is and make sure that the marketer knows if this is a potential new customer or one that has already shopped with you.  My biggest concern with the group buying sites that offer huge discounts (Groupon, BuyWithMe, Tippr)  is that the retailer takes the risk of giving a huge discount to an already loyal buyer.  Thus giving away margin they didn’t need to.  I would want these building specific applications to be able to recognize the consumer so the discounts and promotions could be appropriately targeted.

See something new and cool in the mobile world?  Please share it with us.  Thanks!

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