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Augmented Reality Helps Consumers Find Local Shops

iphone-yell-140.jpgCertain consumer services have been around for many years, and yet manage to evolve with the times and stay current.

The Yellow Pages is one such service. When it began almost 50 years ago, it was a book that consumers could use to find local businesses. As the internet boom took off, became popular, and as mobile internet grew, an iPhone app was launched.

And now Yell has upgraded their iPhone application to include Augmented Reality, providing the most up to date way for people to find their local businesses.

One of Yell’s major assets is a great database of local businesses, their address, phone number, and often additional information about their products, services, etc.

This new iPhone app uses Augmented Reality to provide a simpler, more intuitive way to filter and access that information: you filter by where you are, and you access it in a graphical, real-life way.

It uses a combination of the iPhone’s GPS and compass, which together can pinpoint exactly where you are and can tell which way you’re facing. (For more information about Augmented Reality, see the box below)

yell-icon.gifThe app is extremely easy to use, which is one of its strong points – it is always too bad when an interesting new technology is presented in such a complicated way that it cancels the consumer benefit.

After downloading the app and launching it, you immediately see the world around you displayed on the screen. The app overlays small yellow boxes wherever it can identify a business, and it displays relevant information about that business such as phone number, distance away, opening hour, or website address.

Three additional features make this even more useful:

Shown at the top of the screen, this gives you a 360° view of all the businesses that are around you, and some idea which are closest.

This image also shows the information about presented about the Dolce Vita restaurant,

Swish your finger to the left and a scale appears that lets you set the distance that you want the app to “see”. This helps you reduce the amount of information on the screen if there are too many businesses identified.

The range can be set from 50 meters up to 5 kilometers.

yell-categories.jpgCategories Bar
If you swish your finger to the right, a display bar appears with icons for popular search categories such as Restaurant, Pub, Supermarket, Hotel, etc.

Touching one of these buttons lets you select which businesses should be displayed, thus allowing you to get to the information you want more quickly.

If you’d like to see this new mobile with AR in action, take a look at the video below.

[kml_flashembed movie="" width="350" height="288" wmode="transparent" /]

Matthew Bottomley, director of new media product marketing at Yell, said: “This is an exciting new way to advertise local businesses. It means any business can be found easily, even if it’s tucked away around a corner or in the next street. So as people get used to using this kind of technology, having a prime ‘high street’ location could well become a lot less important.”

Augmented Reality:

For more information about Augmented Reality, take a look at the following MobiAD articles:

• Mobile Augmented Reality Builds Deep Consumer Engagement

• IKEA Uses Mobile Augmented Reality To Engage Shoppers’ Imagination

• Mobile Apps Score At Wimbledon: IBM Uses Location, Twitter, And Augmented Reality To Create Amazing Fan Experience
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