The other day I wandered out to my mailbox (yes, things still come via snail mail) and was delighted to find the newest IKEA catalog. Now, I know an IKEA catalog isn’t very medical or healthcare but I want to point out a new component that IKEA was using. In their newest catalog, IKEA introduces an augmented reality feature that allows users to take their smart phone and gain access to extra content like how-to guides, product models, and other informational videos. The idea of augmented reality got me thinking about how this type of technology could be integrated into healthcare marketing.
After digging around the internet for a bit I came across a company based out of the UK called Autonomy Corporation. Autonomy Corporation has created a piece of free software called Aurasma that can read a static pre-trained image and overlay secondary content with the use of a smart phone. The user has to “train” the program to make it aware of an image, and then they can upload a video or picture to pop up on their smart phone in response to that static image.
This kind of technology would be great for a variety of print based medical marketing techniques or even for daily use in your medical office. Take a healthcare marketing brochure for example. After you and your marketing team have spent an extended time planning and preparing the document, using augmented reality, you can take that marketing tool to a whole new level. Maybe on the back of the brochure there is a picture of your staff. With the Aurasma software, a patient can scan that static-image and a video will pop up with a bio or welcome video of the staff. Perhaps a patient is contemplating a procedure and you have given them literature about it. With augmented reality, the patient can take a picture of the static-image and video will pop up about the procedure, or maybe a before and after photo of the procedure. Maybe you were at a healthcare community fair and handed out information to potential patients with a picture of your practice. With a quick scan of that picture, your potential patient can be whisked away of a virtual tour of the office.
Technology like Aurasma is currently being used in a variety of print, promotional, and e-commerce, educational, non-profit, and event sectors around the world. Would you use a piece of software like Aurasma in your medical practice? Do you think the extra level of content is something patients would engage in? How would you incorporate this type of augmented reality technology? Leave a comment below, send us a message on Twitter @MDWebPro, let us know on Facebook, or on Google +. We’d love to hear from you.