Prime Edition

Augmented Reality gains popularity in India
Prasid Banerjee  New Delhi | 18th May 2013

Any 2D image can be converted to 3D through Augmented Reality.

ugmented Reality (AR), a technology which bridges print and digital media, is gaining popularity in India, with its sales going up considerably in the last six months. Through this technology, a print advertisement or editorial content can be linked to various videos, 3D images, games, etc., using image recognition. This is done by using mobile apps that use smartphone cameras to click the images of the said editorial content or advertisements and direct users to the linked content. According to developers, most of the leading media houses in the country (both Hindi and English) are trying to take advantage of this technology. "All that one needs for this is a smartphone with an active internet connection and a camera," says Ashutosh Singh, business head at Adstuck, an augmented reality development firm.

Singh says that the company, which had sales of Rs 10 lakh originally, has seen a rise to Rs 2-3 cr over the last four to five months. Similarly, Shreeram Iyer, chairman and CEO of Prisma Global Limited, which has developed Snap2life, an AR based application for smartphones, puts the rise in the company's sales at 3.3 million euros in the last six months.

An application such as Snap2life, uses image recognition to, in a way, convert print content into digital content. Using this application, users can click an image of any of the firm's clients' logos or pictures and get videos and other digital content about them. Moreover, they can convert 2D images to 3D, making them more interesting. Iyer says, "For 3D, you need to scan an image, but for linking it to videos or other content, you need to click a picture. The software automatically recognises what to do with an image based on the programming... You give me an image and I can link it to whatever you want."

AR has just started gaining popularity in India, says Iyer. Prisma and Adstuck both confirm that they are getting clients from India. Singh says that AR is especially popular amongst car makers and real estate companies, while the FMCG sector is also taking interest. Users can get 3D real time views of houses or cars and how they would look in certain colours or arrangements, rather than looking at 2D representations.

AR also helps in print advertisements, "Marketers can link their television advertisements to a print ad," says an expert. An industry player, requesting anonymity says that certain national political parties are also trying to use this technology in their advertisements.

While linking to videos and other digital content is popular in India, 3D imaging, games etc., are popular in the West. Both Iyer and Singh though confirm that Indian clients are rapidly taking interest in such services as well. Companies such as Maruti Suzuki, Jaguar Landrover, etc., have taken an active interest in AR technology.

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