Augmented Reality is not a silver bullet for visitor engagement…yet

Professional Forum
Keir Winesmith, USA

Augmented reality (AR) could go either way, it could end up as a failed vision of the future – as is the case with Virtual Reality – or it could become a technology of real utility within contemporary society. How the public engages with the technology over the coming years will decide its outcome. How content creators, such as museums, use the technology to engage with audiences will influence how AR is perceived and the rate it which it is taken up.

Augmented reality technology has been democratised by products and platforms such as Layar and Aurasma, where the only barriers are access to a smartphone and an internet connection. Over the last 5 years museums have begun to engage with AR technologies with serious invention and some success; primarily as it is possible to create compelling interactive experiences at a relatively small expense.

This professional forum will look at some successes and failures in the way that museums are engaging with AR as a way of charting future experiences.

NOTE TO REVIEWERS: If this sounds interesting let me know and I’ll follow up with Margriet Schavemaker from @Marschave about http://mobileappsformuseums.wordpress.com/2011/08/05/is-augmented-reality-the-ultimate-museum-app-some-strategic-considerations/, Dan Collins or Paula Bray from the Powerhouse Museums about (http://www.powerhousemuseum.com/layar/), I’ll ask Jake from Local Projects if he can send someone to talk about Explore 9/11 (http://localprojects.net/types/page/5/?type=mobile) and I’ll talk about the MCA experience with AR in newspaper, books and bus shelters (http://keirdotnet.net/content/augmented-reality-projects-at-the-mca/) as well as an augmented heritage project for Sydney Harbour that is under way.