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PointRoll Takes A Marker From AR

Digiday:DAILY
John Gaffney
July 13, 2010

It has been an intriguing but hard to access technology for the past year. But now augmented reality may be on the cusp of a breakthrough with new applications from a partnership between Oddcast and PointRoll. The companies are teaming up on an AR solution that removes the "markers" that complicate it for consumers and advertisers.

PointRoll brings digital marketing, server side technology, analytics, and publisher relationships to the partnership. Oddcast brings the creative. Oddcast has developed a solution that integrates AR technology into display ads. Existing AR technology requires a printable image or a barcode to serve as a marker to activate the microsites and rich media enabled by AR via a webcam. For example, when Esquire published its AR issue in March, the reader had to hold a barcode in the magazine up to a webcam to get to the videos and other bonus content. Oddcast and PointRoll's offering allows the user's face to act as that marker.

"Our goal has always been to make ads more interactive," says PointRoll Vice President, Business Development & Strategy Max Mead."It's much more effective that way and this will make AR more accessible and increase the quality of consumer engagement when it's used."

Mead also points out that AR technology can have an upside in terms of driving traffic. While many brands have created microsites accessible via social media, search or display ads, AR allows users to go right to the site without requiring the brand to spending money on driving traffic. The traffic driver is built right into the ad. For example, a travel destination that wants to offer a resort tour can encourage consumers to activate the tour via the Oddcast markerless technology without printing anything, and without clicking on another website.

If AR can make ads more interactive and more engaging, why not use it for everything? For one thing, it is expensive. And it is still more complicated to execute even with this "markerless" technology. "It takes a lot of planning and is not for every campaign," says Mead. "I think it will be great for new product launches, maybe big seasons for particular companies or launching major initiatives."

PointRoll and Oddcast have not yet executed an AR campaign with the technology but Mead say some of the sectors that have shown interest are automotive, travel, retailers, entertainment and some pharmaceuticals.

"This is a significant new product for us and we've rolled it out with our sales team," Mead says. "We know that there's interest from some major clients."

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