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Adding augmented reality to existing apps

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The interest in the new augmented reality (AR) advances of the new iPhones launched this week has the internet buzzing. However, many digital professionals remain uncertain on how to include it into their existing offerings.
Local AR specialist, NMPi Labs can now offer unified AR experiences that can be included in existing apps, without any new downloads and across all platforms — opening the door for high-tech, high-yield festive season AR campaigns.
Companies looking to implement augmented reality into their existing apps, but which are reluctant to ask their communities to download additional apps can now turn to NMPi Labs for the Blippar software development kit (SDK).
“For many local brands, having an app was seen as a way to show they were engaging with their customers and embracing the mobile channel. However, far too many companies have forged ahead, building apps without a clear strategy. More than this, they have struggled to gain traction and have not connected their mobile strategy to their existing online and offline channels,” explains Johan Walters, head of NMPi Labs.
Walters says even those digital leaders who have built engaging apps with sizeable communities, may feel reluctant to ask their customers to download an additional app and experience AR on another platform.
“Using Blippar’s powerful, easily installed AR software development kit, mobile app developers can easily embed AR into their own mobile apps, giving them the ability to create a branded AR experience for users within their own app.”

Brands can still include AR for 2017 Festive Season drive
The benefits of AR in terms of adding new functionalities to apps are endless. Retail brands in particular stand to extend their offline world into a truly experiential digital experience.
Interactive storefronts are becoming common internationally and, with the Festive Season approaching, Walters says the opportunities of using exciting new technology to drive app downloads and sales are significant.
The global success for McDonalds in Europe in 2015 is just one example of how brands can break through the Christmas ad clutter.
The interactive Advent calendar allowed customers to unlock new promotions every day leading up to the main holiday, allowing McDonalds to reach their customers with something entirely new, every day, for 24 days. In Finland, the app made it to the number one spot on The App Store and Google Play in just four days.
Another good example of how AR can bring online and offline marketing together in a collaborative Festive Season drive was shown by London’s Covent Garden. Around 140 stores teamed up to provide shoppers with an interactive experience allowing them to unlock prizes and promotions. By working with Esquire, Elle and Cosmopolitan, shoppers who had no idea what to buy for friends and family were able to unlock advice from the top magazine style editors.
“The Covent Garden example is one of the finest when it comes to bringing online and offline campaigns into synch. With more and more online shopping around the Festive Season, driving foot traffic to bricks and mortar stores is a growing challenge for malls and stores everywhere. This AR campaign led to increased family outings to the venue because it had something for every age group. From kids who were enchanted with AR treasure hunts to otherwise jaded adults who were cajoled into re-discovering the fun of the season.”

Built for low friction, easy testing environment
A common misconception about integrating new tech into existing apps is the amount of time and pain required. Walters says the fact that Blippar has made things so simple gives brands the ability to test the functionality in a low-risk environment.
The Blippar SDK works seamlessly across Android and iOS ensuring companies don’t have to test in multiple environments. What’s more, it also allows organisations to ring-fence data usage so customers don’t burn through their own data when engaging with the AR interface.
Once the SDK is embedded in the app, this can also be extended to include the computer vision API.
“The Computer Vision API allows organisations to easily add automatic image processing and tagging to their applications. Blippar uses artificial intelligence and deep learning algorithms to help people make sense of their imagery data, quickly and seamlessly. This will open the doors for extensive customisation and new applications for every sector.”