Whether you observed Valentine’s Day with your beloved, or cynically reminded your single friends of “Singles Awareness Day”, or completely bypassed what @badbanana on twitter referred to as “…a Hallmark tax on the married,” or some combination of the three, Greeting Card giant, Hallmark Cards, Inc. is sitting back in satisfaction after launching and implementing one of the broadest (analog to digital) cross-media initiatives in its company’s history (a campaign that coincides with the company’s centennial anniversary); at the campaigns’ center– augmented reality.
Along Comes @whurley
Months ago, you couldn’t swing a “painting BMW Z4 roadster” or “USPS flat rate parcel” without hitting the Evil Genius of Open Source, William Hurley (@whurley), speaking on his latest technology fetish–the present and future application of augmented reality. Despite the buzz about the technology on the social networks and around the blogosphere, whurley’s presentation at the Austin Technology Council Rave in November was my first meaningful conversation on the subject. It got me thinking about communication, brand extensions, SMB markets, and some variant of Moore’s Law. (More on whurley.) Time marched on, and with it, a new technology was in the process of being delivered to tens of thousands of people, from young and old, to newbie and Gates-Geeky, across the globe.
“Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours…”
Fast forward to the recent past: a relatively quiet Valentine’s Day in Austin, Texas. I woke to breakfast and my gift from @cynthiaisgr8 : a jar filled with hand-made forget-me-not’s and reminders about who loves me (and why and how). But I digress… A year ago, yesterday, Cynthia gifted me my first Hoops&YoYo™ Hallmark™ card (admittedly, I love these guys). It was only fitting that this year, Cynthia continue the tradition. But this year my valentine card had the stuff of geek love… enclosed inside, instructions to get online and head to http://www.hallmark.com/extra (pictured here) for an online radass surprise. (Notice, the words “augmented reality” do not appear.) So, of course, I headed online.
I pointed my browser to the Hallmark Card, Inc. augmented reality page (someone on their interactive team no doubt knows a thing or two about SEO/SEM as the url headlines are peppered with the phrase,) and to my surprise, Hallmark has its stuff together…the whole experience was a piece of cake. Here’s what I found:
Then, enjoy the comedic styling of Hoops&YoYo™ (all apologies on the AV quality; I shot this myself and in the interest of time.)
The Future of Augmented Reality?
As development costs associated with AR technology decrease, more and more social tools will come to market fostering augmented reality’s second wave of social augmented experiences. These tools will empower entrepreneurs, SMB, and community managers and change agents within enterprise to address customer service, communications, operations, processes, and training needs in real time. Couple this with the development of new hardware, not unlike Apple’s iPad, and the world could very well be on the cusp of a paradigm shift. In the mean time, me and my valentine are cool with Hoops&YoYo™, unicorns and love.
Note: I should add that if you’re not familiar with whurley, I highly suggest you check out what will probably be his Opus, Chaotic Moon Studios (facebook fan page). Last we spoke, the shroud of mystery and the web site are weeks if not days away from unveiling. But based on what he has told me, whurley’s working”MIA hiatus” (read: not speaking in front of people ever other day spreading the gospel of open source) will invariably support entrepreneurs and enterprise with a menu of digital voodoo, pixel hoodoo, products and services…augmented reality included. He’s literally killing himself over a production kanban that integrates everything he and his partners have learned about crowdsourcing, imobile development, interactive, technology and the open source community for 30 new clients, including some of the biggest brands out there. In short, observe and learn; once whurley comes up for air, introduce yourself, engage him and he’ll no doubt share the story of his new baby and how one might apply that story to their efforts (operative phrase: “once he comes up for air”)).