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    3 Emerging Techs Show How 3D Will Outperform Photography in the Virtual Age

    dreamstime_xs_2731401_binaryroadIt’s fast becoming a digital world as yesterday’s sci-fi fantasies become a reality – or, at least a virtual reality. Surveying the emerging technologies, one can’t help but note how many are aimed at delivering augmented, simulated and digitally connected experiences – in most cases, right from user’s smartphone or tablet.

    With rich opportunities for product marketers and even real estate sales, it’s time to start thinking 3D. Simply put, 3D product images and objects position innovative marketers to leverage these new technologies where traditional photography can’t.

    Here are three such technological places, which we’ll explore in greater detail over our next few posts.

    1. Augmented Reality

    AR_AugmentApp_FurniturePreviewAugmented Reality (AR) overlays the viewer’s real time environment with digital information – or, in some cases, casts the viewer into a virtual environment.

    In our next post, we’ll dive into AR and some examples of how it’s already being used, including:

    • In-home product previews that let shoppers see furniture and other goods at actual size, placed wherever they want. See examples.
    • Animated instructions that overlay a gadget with assembly or use animations and text explanations to provide on-the-spot help and make how-tos much more intuitive. See examples.
    • Catalog demos and print campaigns that bring 3D prototypes to life right there above the printed page. See examples.
    • Product storytelling & brand experiences that turn product packaging or other surfaces into a virtual stage. See examples.
    • Self-guided virtual tours that revolutionize showroom, sales center and model home tours with “hot spots” that reveal previously unseen features, now visible through the mobile screen.

    All of these bring three dimensional virtual objects into the shopper’s reality to answer questions at critical decision points or to provide support post-sale – at times and in places where you may not be available or where increasing numbers of self-helpers prefer to go at it alone.

    2. Gesture Control

    Apple_GestureControlPatentWith gesture control, the device recognizes and interprets human gestures – typically through the use of the device’s camera or touch-screen.

    Soon iPad shoppers may be able to pull a 2D product right out of the screen and into the third dimension with pinches and spins of their fingers. But, just like the 360° Product Spinners this technology will follow, it will depend on 3D objects.

    3. iBeacon and Bluetooth LE

    Apple’s latest mobile phone and operating system use iBeacons powered by Bluetooth LE to define more specific geo-locations than GPS and longer-range communication than near-field technology. With Bluetooth LE, marketers will be able to deliver more targeted content to passers-by without requiring them to scan a code.

    Smart marketers will use the new technology to do more than bombard consumers with coupon offers. The cleverest content executions will undoubtedly invite passers-by into virtual experiences that are genuinely helpful in the buying process. Imagine passing by car dealership and getting an invitation to a virtual test drive. Or, driving through a new subdivision and getting an invitation to take a virtual tour of the model home. Or, receiving a product demonstration animation as you browse appliances in a department store.

    Ready for Whatever “Sticks”

    With a different technology garnering the buzz every few months, it’s hard to know what’s a passing fad and what’s here for the long-haul. What is clear is that with the trend toward virtual experiences optimized for the mobile device, 3D product assets put marketers in position to move quickly in whichever direction technology leads – even where it leaves photography behind.

    Next Post: Product Marketing’s Virtual Age: 12 Practical Uses of Augmented Reality

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    What are some of the new technologies you’ve got your eye on?

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