Digital Signage and Augmented Reality: How A.R. Aides D.o.o.H.

Posted by on Sep 26, 2012 in Uncategorized

Pert’ near any digital out-of-home installation can benefit from an augmented reality (AR) implementation within the campaign. “Augmented reality” has become a online buzzword in mobile marketing, dooh and Internet advertising. This post will cover a few different aspects of AR. First, I will go over what augmented reality is and how it can be integrated into digital sign campaigns. Second and finally I will outline what the advantages and disadvantages are of using AR in an out-of-home campaign.

What is augmented reality and how does it work?

Simply put, augmented reality is LIVE content used on a digital display (this display could include a mobile phone, a personal computer, an Apple iPad, or a industrial digital sign) which is enhanced or augmented by virtual computer-generated imagery. The reality part of AR comes from the fact that the content is coming at you in real-time. AR could include computer vision or object recognition wherein a virtual object is inserted onto a digital screen which is in part fed from content from the real world. Simply put, AR is the application of live, computer-generated imagery which expands the real-world with the virtual world.

Generally, AR utilizes cameras, head-mounted displays, sensors, actuators, and digital displays to integrate the real-world with the augmented world.

How can augmented reality integrate with digital signage?

Digital signage and DOOH were meant to have augmented reality as part of the family. Because augmented reality’s greatest future focus for potential revenue is advertising, digital out-of-home advertisers have started to push into the realm of AR. DOOH involves a digital display. AR needs a digital display to operate properly. Both are focused on ads. If you cannot see the symbiosis here, you’re probably a bit dense. Defined separately, digital signage and augmented reality technologies go far beyond advertising. However, when you bring the two together, their applications may not be limited to advertising, but the greatest potential ROI will be through advertising dollars.

Scheduling, proof-of-play, audience measurement/tracking and other ROI measurement technologies already had in digital signage software can not only be implemented into AR for out-of-home, but will most certainly be necessary for generating enough revenue to pay for the cost of running an AR Out-of-Home campaign.

Advantages and Disadvantages

AR is not all peaches and cream. The technology is so bleeding edge it’s mostly never performed on a generalized scale and only done for PR, blog hype and big venues. However, as I have said before, interactivity does a couple of things for OOH campaigns. First, it promotes longevity of dwell time. Second, it increases propensity for brand recognition. AR is certainly a killer at performing both of these functions.

One of the greatest disadvantages of augmented reality for advertising purposes is the cost. Unless AR is installed in a highly trafficked venue, obtained an ROI is sometimes too difficult–even if the install is only performed with one brand. AR is even more bleeding edge than digital signage itself and requires a justifiable means before it can be installed. One final disadvantage is that the software itself can be complex and cumbersome. I’ve seen some demonstrations of the software and it certainly is not ready for mainstream users.


Augmented reality and digital signage have a come a long way in their progression cycle. And using AR in DS is yet another way we can show that digital signage is much bigger than some may have initially anticipated. Unfortunately, there remains more work to be done before integration of the two technologies fully blossoms. And the separation between companies performing OOH media buys and those creating AR apps needs to be closed in order for augmented reality to come full circle in DOOH.

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