s this year comes to a close, the ar.rocks team looks back at all the groundbreaking augmented reality news we’ve covered. 

We’ve ranked our top 10 augmented reality experiences of the year, keep reading to see who is number 1!

10. Snapchat Launch New Dog Identifying Technology

Coming in at number 10 is Snapchat, with their dog identifying technology. Snapchat announced a new partner, Siwalu Software, who assisted in launching their AI-powered animal recognition technology within the popular social media app.

Snapchat released an in-app augmented reality filter which helps to identify dog breeds in real-time for all of those curious fellow pupper-lovers out there.

The initial technology roll out focused on identifying dog breeds, users can simply tap and hold the Snapchat filter while pointing at the dog of choice, with the results of the animal displayed directly in real-time.

Snapchat are pioneers in the augmented reality space, assisting to drive mainstream adoption of the technology, and it comes as no surprise that the company looks to incorporate technologies including Artificial Intelligence to deliver ever increasing complex and engaging experiences within the Snapchat app. 

9. Amazon Augmented Reality App Transforms Packaging Into Interactive Experiences

At number 9 is Amazon, with their AR product packing. Amazon developed an innovative way to entertain their customers with the boxes that arrive on their doorstep. The company has transformed their packaging which comes to life with the help of their Augmented Reality app. The free “Amazon Augmented Reality” app was developed so that shoppers could create interactive, sharable AR experiences which could be delivered wherever their shoppers are. 

One the app is downloaded, shoppers can simply hover their smart device over the QR code which can be found on the side of the Amazon box to launch the AR experience. For Halloween, Amazon designed a pumpkin which was on the side of their packaging, which shoppers could draw on, then through the AR app see their pumpkin designs come to life. 

It’s another way Amazon is encouraging shoppers to get creative with their packaging as part of the “Less Packaging, More Smiles” initiative. In the summer, shoppers were encouraged to scan QR codes and follow the instructions to make creations such as a robot costume or a cat fort. 

8. Golden Road Brewing Web AR Advertisement In The L.A. Times 

Coming in at number 8 is the Golden Road Brewing, with their AR print campaign. To celebrate the L.A. Dodgers’ World Series Win, the team’s sponsors, Golden Road Brewing, printed an advertisement in the Los Angeles Times. The ad featured innovative WebAR technology which brought the advertisement to life and promoted an offer on the L.A. Dodgers Blonde Ale.

The Los Angeles Times is the largest metropolitan daily newspaper, receiving a daily readership of 1.3 million and 2 million on Sunday, more than 30 million unique latimes.com visitors monthly and a combined print and online local weekly audience of 4.6 million. Combining AR technology with a classical newspaper advert was an engaging and interactive experience which transformed the way in which readers perceive advertisements. 

The WebAR print-based experience created by development agency Aircards for Golden Road Brewing, features eye catching vibrant print with the L.A. Dodgers logo and bright blue print which covered the entire page. A banner with “Raise a can to the champs” jumps out along with a graphic of the L.A. Dodgers Blonde Ale, brewed by Golden Road. Next to the can readers could see a large QR code, with instructions to “scan here to celebrate the Dodgers win, in Augmented Reality”. A Web-based Augmented Reality face filter was created for fans to play with and share on social media. 

7. Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit 

At number 7 is Nindendo. Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit, was launched in October, but the game wasn’t just another remake with more appealing sound effects or resolution. Nintendo took the classic Mario Kart game one step beyond the tv screen and brought the race straight into the homes of players with the power of augmented reality technology. 

To access the AR Mario Kart game, players connect their Nintendo Switch and set up various gate markers and map out a track in their environment. Players can customise the track with exact precision by driving the tiny car around and once complete, the race is controlled on the Switch. The augmented reality game still features various power ups and traps which the physical kart responds to accordingly. 

Mario Kart Live: Home Circuit is an excellent demonstration of how AR can be integrated with a range of different hardware and interact with the physical world beyond the game screen.

6. EE’s 5G Web AR Experience Featuring Rita Ora

Coming in at number 6 is EE. The company launched an immersive web-based augmented reality experience which features Rita Ora performing. 

It's one thing to watch the entertaining advertisement on the TV, but to experience it in your own home is a next-level marketing strategy. By clicking the link and following the simple instructions, Rita appears in Web AR, wearing the same gold outfit as the original campaign and performs to her hit single ‘Let You Love Me’. Once the performance has finished, a ‘Discover The Power Of 5G’ button appears which takes you to the EE website to find out more about the 5G coverage offered by the EE mobile network. 

The Mini AR Rita, was developed by leading WebAR agency Aircards, allowing viewers to see the power of 5G in their home. The web-based augmented reality experience, powered by 8th Wall, was launched across social media platforms including Rita’s own as well as across the BT and EE networks.

5. Snapchat Transforms London’s Carnaby Street Into An Augmented Reality Experiment

At number 5 is Snapchat. Snapchat launched the new feature, Local Lenses, which was one of the first large scale, persistent and collaborative uses of Augmented Reality to date. The concept for the innovative technology was first brought to light in June, and promised to transform towns into digital canvases. The concept was brought to life, launching in the area around London’s Carnaby Street.

The first of what we can imagine to be many Local Lenses has been named City Painter. The idea is simple but effective, by using the camera on the Snapchat app to view Carnaby Street, City Painter allows Snapchatters to spray great fountains of red and blue paint above Carnaby’s shops, decorating the bricks with predesigned graffiti murals. Anyone on the street can see others spraying their paint, and users can battle to cover the shops in their colours.

To create City Painter, the whole of Carnaby Street had to be mapped in 3D so that users are able to paint from any angle. Visual data was then extracted from a multitude of different resources, including  analysing public Snaps of Carnaby Street shared by users. Another innovative feature of City Painter is that the experience is shared, Local Lenses are persistent and synchronise with other users so that they’re able to see fellow Snapchatter’s works of art. 

City Painter represents a basic example in the development of Augmented Reality, with an ideology that every wall, building and street can have a digital copy, which could be utilised by every industry from gaming to advertisement.

4. Pot Noodle Augmented Reality Careers Fair For Students

Coming in at number 4 is Pot Noodle. Pot Noodle partnered with Gradbay to launch the Pot Noodle Virtual Careers Fair. The Aircards development team worked to create an immersive, virtual replacement of their canceled live careers fair event within Augmented Reality.

The experience features booths from a range of custom developed 3D booths that feature graduate employers, including the likes of GradBay, VitaCoco and FruitLab. Students on mobile devices could place the 3D careers fair scene within their own environment, transporting them to a fully interactive virtual experience.

Students were able to walk around the experience like they would any normal careers fair. Looking through their phones, students were able to explore each employer booth and watch an introduction video from the virtual TV screens on each booth. The Pot Noodle virtual careers fair also features an animated DJ booth with music playing, along with a variety of other fun animated features. On each employer table, students can tap the stack of application forms to apply for graduate roles. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced a reassessment of events and conferences globally, with forward-thinking brands looking to immersive technologies to fill the gap left by the cancellation of most physical events. Instead of shutting down operations, innovative companies like Unilever see the benefit in continuing to deliver valuable, brand-led experiences to users at home. 

3. 2021 Mercedes S-Class Will Feature AR Enhanced MBUX Infotainment System

Just squeezing in to the top 3 is Mercedes-Benz. The Luxury vehicle company Mercedes-Benz are known for their love of immersive technology, and have incorporated augmented reality technology into a collection of new improvements to the advanced MBUX infotainment system for the 2021 S-Class for enhanced display, projecting key navigation information directly to the driver's eye line including speed, directions and distance to the desired destination. The AR technology improves safety while driving, removing the need to look away from the road by displaying street names and arrows indicating which direction to turn will be displayed directly on the front window.

The AR technology integrated with the luxurious Mercedes-Benz S-Class, creates a futuristic vehicle that any car enthusiast would want to get their hands on. 

2. Samsung Life Unstoppable 

In the runner up spot is Samsung. The Samsung Life Unstoppable live event launched a myriad of new products to market, including the Galaxy Fold2 and their brand new G9 curved gaming monitor. Samsung took the live stream attendees on a virtual tour of the Samsung House which was created using Unreal Engine.

At different points within the virtual house, viewers could interact with the live stream by scanning an on-screen QR code. Once scanned, full 3D animated digital twins of the new Samsung products were dynamically spawned within the attendees own environment.

This innovative and engaging twist meant that viewers could get hands-on with the new product ranges, get a closer look at the design and altogether create a more immersive event experience. That’s what made the event so exciting - it wasn’t just a static live event. Instead, viewers felt part of the experience, and Web-based Augmented Reality was a key technology for making that possible.

The creative agency behind the overall event, Smyle Creative provided an impressive mix of talent to enable the seamless launch, working in collaboration with Aircards to provide the cutting-edge Web AR elements.

1. Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold Transports Consumers To Yosemite With WebAR Portal Experience

The Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold brand created a unique AR experience with the Yosemite portal which transports consumers into the beautiful Yosemite landscape. 

The experience was created by leaders in WebAR technology, Aircards, to deliver a unique and immersive experience for the Michelob ULTRA brand. The Yosemite experience featured a 3D Augmented Reality Portal, which invites consumers to walk into the portal, which comes in the form of a white tent with a green door. 

Once through the portal door, consumers can explore the beautiful Yosemite landscape, complete with flowing waterfall, campfire, park bench and, of course, an ice cold pack of Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold.

The Michelob ULTRA WebAR experience is a glowing example of how brands can use Web-based Augmented Reality to engage consumers and drive brand awareness and sales, through experiential marketing campaigns and this is why it ranks number 1 in our augmented reality experiences of the year. 

Dec 21, 2020
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