AR (Awesome Reality)

Whether you were envisioning what that coffee table would look like in the living room with IKEA’s Place app, adding dog ears to your selfie on Snapchat, or chasing Pikachu through a parking lot, you may have experienced augmented reality (AR) before. But what exactly is AR? And how is it going to improve the stadium and arena experience?

The Difference Between AR and VR

Evolving faster than its cousin VR (virtual reality), AR is seeping into the crevices of business, entertainment, and all-around personal use. The difference between AR and VR is simple: VR is a computer-generated 3D reality, usually seen through a headset (think Oculus Rift, Samsung VR, and the HTC Vive); AR, on the other hand, overlays the existing environment with holograms that are usually viewed through a smart device, like a tablet or phone. Basically, it projects images onto whatever you’re already looking at. So, when visitors with a venue’s app are within the geo-tagged area or are pointing their phone at a specific graphic, they’re able to access special AR experiences.

Game Information

AR can help enhance the game day experience by providing fans with additional information that they wouldn’t be able to access otherwise. With AR, fans have the potential to focus their smart phone on a player and view the player’s stats and information. AR could help fans see the first down marker or the trajectory of a home run ball. Fans could have all the information they want at the tip (or top?) of their eyeballs.

Bonus Entertainment

From displaying song lyrics to shooting off virtual fireworks after a goal, AR can be used to enhance the atmosphere with graphics and special content. Artists like Eminem and U2 have already started pairing AR with their performances. Eminem incorporated (slightly terrifying) AR graphics into his Coachella performance that coordinated with the lyrics of his songs. For sports venues, AR opens up the possibility of holding virtual “on-field” games during lulls in the action – allowing more people to participate at once.

Advertising Opportunities

AR allows companies to reach consumers in new ways, whether it is through dynamic banners or special experiences only found by scanning certain products or signage at the venue. Advertisers can make a big impact on their audience by incorporating 3D graphics to complement their existing print or video advertising.

Although consumer-ready AR has a lot of challenges ahead of it, the industry is making leaps and bounds in its technology and availability. Paired with awesome WiFi coverage, the potential for AR in stadiums and arenas is vast.

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