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.
Apple is co-promoting Square’s NFC reader for SMBs. and selling the readers in Apple Stores. The $49 reader accepts Apple Pay, which significantly lowers the barrier for SMBs to get in the game. The move should boost Apple Pay, but there also may be much bigger ambitions to lock in market share in new areas.
With each passing tech revolution, response time diminishes while opportunity cost grows. Local media companies that were late to the consumer internet or the smartphone revolution already know this pain. With VR and AR, local startups will be more agile to experiment than larger incumbents.