Friday, January 08, 2010

Augmented Reality in 2010, 3D View of News

I have been reading a lot about augmented reality this year. I first learned about it through the Layar app for Android and later found a great article in Wired explaining some of the pitfalls and benefits of the technology players. This is life-changing technology if done correctly.

Potentially, someone who is standing in any city or even a block can use the application to gain information about that area. For instance, the user could hold their Android or iPhone up and on screen would appear floating tags giving information about the direction and distance to public transportation, or a restaurant, or user-generated photos of the area, or real estate for sales, or any data that is available via EveryBlock or similar services.

There are any number of tactical and practical uses for this technology. However, I found the vision of Metaio to be extremely provocative. Metaio allows users to also place animated avatars on maps.

According to one Wired interview, one possible use is for "game developers to use Metaio’s and Earthmine’s technology to create realistic, non-gimmicky games that take place in real-world cities starting in 2010. An ad-supported model for AR gaming is easy to envision: local businesses could pay to have the game send players past their storefronts."

This short comment opens the door for an endless number of uses for the augmented reality for commercial purposes. For instance, maybe a local store could place special messaging in the augmented reality, such as an animated avatar outside their business that includes the announcement of a discount or coupon or sale.

In a breaking news event, users could see avatars of each other giving perspective and location to their views of the event. Near real-time reports and photos could be shared in the 3D environment allowing users to experience an event from many perspectives.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Jarvis: Bankruptcy May Be Best Bet for Old Media

Thanks to Steve over at LR for pointing me to this interview with Jeff Jarvis. Jeff argues that old media must reduce their cost structure to survive and suggests that there may be no way to really do this outside of bankruptcy. Jarvis, is speaking from the same hymnal as Michael Rosenblum. I previous touched on Rosenblum's comments. He recommended burning TV to the ground and restarting. In both cases the point is well made -- the old media is burdened with incredible costs structures that prevent it from remaining profitable in the long term.

While Jarvis and Rosenblum both recommend starting from scratch after shutting down the legacy business, I would argue that old media can start the new businesses in parallel, shielded from the management of the old media businesses. Yes, the new businesses will be parasite for a period of time. The key arguement for approaching change in this manner is the time it takes to cultivate a new media business -- it is a process, not an event.

Jim Thompson was good enough to point this out in a recent post. Local TV stations are excellent at covering events and often not very good at process. What needs to happen with online and mobile businesses is cultivating audience and product over a period of time. Web entrepeneurship is a process of iteration -- concieve, implement test, start over -- where you perfect over time. The later is what is required when building a New Media business. Not every business can be Google or YouTube or MySpace or Facebook. If it was easy to create those 'jackpots' every time, every one would do it.