Apple’s relative inaction on VR/AR thus far could either indicate that the company is missing this next tech shift (which I’ve speculated), or that it’s playing the long game. The latter could involve a deliberately late entrance to VR and AR, just as it did with previous technologies.
Foursquare has gone from check-in darling to an under-recognized data powerhouse. But in that transition, it’s more successful than ever. And its primary emphasis has remained the entire time: real-world consumer behavior. Meanwhile, the ad industry’s hunger for location data grows.
Apple just entered augmented reality, without anyone really noticing. Though the iPhone 7 was met with a collective ‘meh,’ the real impact is below the surface, where the world’s biggest company collides with tech’s biggest opportunity.
Soon, graphical overlays to the physical world will amplify everything from retail shopping (store navigation and product info), to finding a restaurant (ratings & reviews) to buying a home (values & specs). Utility will lead; marketing departments and jargon police can follow.
The lesson from the phenomenon isn’t for local tech companies to try and build the next Pokémon Go — but rather to build a similarly justifiable value exchange for sharing location. Advertisers and ad networks should likewise work with apps that have that higher likelihood of user opt-in.
The outcome could be the biggest step towards local ad attribution we’ve seen yet. And Facebook’s sheer scale will force more advertisers’ hands — especially those still not doing more to measure activity where $7 trillion in U.S. consumer spending happens.
Google’s counter-attack to the world of apps can be seen in several places. In fact most Google moves are to drive mobile behavior through its front door. This principle underpinned nearly every announcement at Google I/O.
The trillion dollar question is if this emerging chatbot technology will annihilate the phone call. Though I’m bullish on messaging and chatbots, the answer to that question is likely no.
Bots could displace apps just as apps displaced search. “Search started with consumers typing into a box,” Pingup’s Ron Braunfeld said recently. “[AI] is all about knowing where you are, time of day, what’s in your refrigerator; and giving you the right information without having to search.”
Most beacon scenarios require users to jump through a set of compatibility hoops. But Google has been quietly working on an antidote: The physical web. To sidestep some of the opt-in friction, it positions the browser as the beacon interface and it transmits beacon content using URLs.