Manchester Digital: Augmented Reality

Marketing, Technology 2013-09-25

This month Manchester Digital hosted the event ‘Harder Better Faster Stronger’ at the Reading Room in the Northern Quarter. Featuring speakers from Matmi, Kudan and Realtime:UK, a breadth of topics in the digital world were explored, including Augmented Reality, CGI and Gamification. These inspirational talks offered unique insight into technology that is increasingly being used for digital marketing. Augmented reality particularly caught our attention, spectacularly showcased by Tom Ohno from Kudan, as being much much more than simply ‘image recognition’.


What exactly is augmented reality? It is a live view of a physical, real world environment, augmented by the use of a computer device. Be it sound, video, graphics or GPS data, these sensory inputs enhance perception of the real world to create a simulated one in real-time. The user’s surroundings become interactive and digitally manipulable, blurring the line between what’s real and computer generated. With its uses spanning from entertainment to military training and engineering design, augmented reality is the future.


This year, German design group Morphoria created ‘Deaf’, a magazine which uses augmented reality to teach readers sign language. With the camera and sensors in a smartphone or tablet, people connect to the digitally enhanced world and can affiliate information from lifestyle and society magazine.  Particularly, London-based production company Inition have made massive leaps in this technology, working with brands such as Jaguar, O2 and the BBC. Here, designing a system that augmented the Red Stag girls in the terminal departure lounge of Gatwick airport, they created an unreal experience of Red Stag, bringing the party to the airport and generating a significant brand interest.


Image source:


Recently working with award-winning architect Zaha Hadid, they augmented seamless  architectural models, integrating even the outside environment, thermal windflow and geographical location. Revolutionizing the planning system, this tool is a world away from abstract drawings of plans that architects use now.


As Tom Ohno described, old forms of digital marketing are becoming too static and users learn to ignore advertisements they are so used to seeing in emails and apps. This innovative new platform for digital marketing is fun, social, and above all interactive. As Ohno superimposed an image of an Audi R8 onto the floor of the Reading Room, it was a sure sign that augmented reality could hold the future of digital marketing and advertising, amongst many other industries.