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Augmented reality – the next step for employee communications?

Lauren Heaven • 22nd July

Augmented reality is having a moment, but is it possible to tap into this success when it comes to communicating important messages?

It’s the phrase on everyone’s lips at the moment, thanks to the monumental success of Pokémon Go: augmented reality. AR is a blend of virtual reality and real life, that brings computer-generated content into your surroundings.

In case you missed it (but seriously, how could you?), Pokémon Go is the global mobile game that uses augmented reality to feel like you’re catching Pokémon in the world around you. It has been ridiculously successful, and here at Words&Pictures we’ve caught the odd Pidgey, Zubat and even a Clefairy in our studio.

Augmented reality success stories

Pokémon Go is a fantastic example of AR, but Nintendo isn’t the only company to successfully use this technology.

Augmented reality is great for museums and sightseeing, as it brings extra information to your surroundings. At the Natural History Museum in London, you can download their Skin & Bones app and use it to bring exhibitions to life in their Bone Hall. Whether that’s a bat skeleton flying around the room, or seeing skeletal bodies in flesh format – AR introduces another level to the museum experience.

The retail industry also benefits from augmented reality, and Ikea is a great example. In response to 14% of customers taking home furniture that wasn’t the right size for the intended spot, in 2014 they launched a catalogue app for shoppers.

This app let users pick products and model them in their rooms through AR; projecting virtual potential furniture buys into their room. It’s a clever augmented reality example that solves a shopping problem.

Augmented reality for communications

Does AR have potential when it comes to employee communications or youth engagement? We think so.

Augmented reality provides a rich user experience – ideal for engagement. Imagine an induction app, where new starters have information about their unfamiliar environment at their fingertips. A structured induction is vital so colleagues feel welcome and instantly engage with your company, and AR could guarantee that.

It could also work well for recruiting. Let potential employees see how your business impacts on the world around them, or build interactivity into your stand at recruitment fairs to excite and engage your visitors.

We’re big fans of gaming when it comes to engaging, and using augmented reality could give any internal game an edge, whether the objective is to share best practice or rollout new technology. There’s also the potential to personalise, with users creating their own avatar, or even uploading their own content to the game.

Personalisation makes users more likely to share, and interaction around communications is always a good thing. With AR, you bring unusual content into your everyday surroundings – and this novelty is a big factor in choosing to share, both internally and externally.

Pokémon Go has proven to be a revelation for getting users moving. SimilarWeb says players use the game for on average 43 minutes a day, which means the average male burns 1,795 calories while Pokémon hunting, and the average female burns 1,503 in a week. This suggests that AR would make a great format for employee health and wellbeing campaigns too, if you set incentives around your workplace and beyond.

Audience matters for augmented reality

The success of augmented reality in colleague communications depends on the demographic – as is the case with all campaigns. If you are considering integrating AR into your comms, it’s worth thinking about your audience.

  • Do they own smartphones to either access a micro site, or download an app?
  • Does your workplace have the necessary connectivity?
  • Are they the right age demographic to embrace this technology?

Do some digging, and try not to be tempted by technology if it isn’t right for your audience!

Augmented reality is undoubtedly an exciting and unique way to communicate messaging and encourage interaction with a technology-minded audience. Should it be your next step in employee communications? 

01943 854 800

Words&Pictures (Commercial) Ltd
The Editorial Design Centre
Wharfebank House
Ilkley Road
Leeds
LS21 3JP