Augmented Reality + QR Codes = Business

by Chris Challis on 27.04.2012 03:47
Once in a while two technologies come together to produce something of business value. With powerful smartphones and tablets now prevalent, here is an example of such a combination.

Augmented Reality

Sports fans watching TV will have seen cricket pitches with the sponsor’s logo superimposed on the pitch. Coverage of swimming galas often shows a moving line across the pool level with the lead swimmer or to denote the world record. These are two examples of “augmented reality”, where some computer-generated graphic is superimposed upon a picture of the real world.

In the world of mobile apps, apps are available where the user points the smartphone’s camera at an object or scene, and the app superimposes useful information. This includes tourist information about a scene, ratings of businesses such as eateries, and even naming a person by matching against their social media photo. Here is an example for golfers, providing information about the course ahead:

QR codes

You will have seen an increasing number of the square barcodes called QR codes on posters, in magazines and on products. By using a QR app on a smartphone/tablet and pointing the camera at the barcode, you can be directed straight to a specific web page for further information. Further details are in this article

Combining Augmented Reality and QR codes

Harmony, a British company, has just launched an app system called OnVert which takes QR codes to another level.

By putting an OnVert QR code onto an advertisement, either on a poster or in print, the OnVert app on the smartphone or tablet can do three things:
•    Superimpose images on top of the advert to create a 3D image
•    Play a soundtrack
•    Include a web link

Here are some examples including one advertising a stage musical, which plays one of the show’s songs and provides a link for booking:


Commercially Harmony appears to be adopting a freemium model:
1.    The app is free to use by the end-user
2.    Businesses can create a basic OnVert for free
3.    There will be a chargeable premium version  with enhanced features

Whilst OnVert can come across as gimmicky, used well it can make an advert more interesting and potentially more effective. It’s a matter of imagination.

If you use QR codes in your business, or thinking of doing so, the OnVert beta certainly looks worth trialing to see how well customers respond.