2014's Technology Trends
• Pew Research reported that, for the first time, the number of Americans who own cell phones is over 90 percent, reaching 91 percent in May 2013. Of those 91 percent, 61 percent claimed to own a smartphone, meaning 56 percent of the American population owns a smartphone. Note that these statistics do not include tablets, most of which are also able to interact with AR features.
• Esquire Magazine was one of the first major print publications to add AR, releasing its first AR issue in late 2009. Since then, many large consumer publications have added AR features, including Inc. Magazine, Publishers Weekly and even Marvel Comics.
• AR is part of the functionality of Google's smartglasses called "Google Glass." The technology is used for making real-life storefronts scannable so users can access Yelp reviews and other data.
Uses for Your Business
Besides enhancing your print advertising, there are other ways AR can benefit your business. Direct mail and other marketing pieces are the obvious choice to use AR to promote your business (or a client's for that matter), but the technology can be used for hard goods as well. For example, a client can receive a discount on an order if it agrees to place on the bottom of all its cups stickers that say, "Want to use this cup to promote your own business? Scan me with the [AR app of your company's choice] to order!"
Meanwhile, Techcrunch recently reported that technology to make serial numbers scannable is underway, for the purpose of offering repairmen video tutorials for repairing complex systems. This scannability could be applied to promotional products that require assembly (say, a trade show booth), or could be used via a simple, small engraving that reads "Scan me with the [AR app of your company's choice] to order more" on the bottom of your products.