A lightbulb moment: how the LuminAR will change marketing

In this guest post, Justin Baird shares a new invention in media technology and wonders how brands will make use of its potential.

There’s no doubt that new technologies transform advertising and marketing. The LuminAR is one such development, a project developed by MIT’s Media Lab, an invention which combines a projector, camera and wireless computer in a radically different replacement for the light bulb. This self-contained system can actually make any surface – from a wall to the back of your hand – into an interactive digital channel.

It projects information and connects to the products and media around the user, ensuring the content it delivers is always relevant to its environment.

In a world where relevance is critical, the LuminAR gives us an idea of what the near future will look and feel like in terms of our connected digital lives. It opens up a whole new level of communications for brands.

The possibilities are almost limitless. The LuminAR could be applied in a retail environment to enhance our shopping experience. Imagine looking at cameras on display in a shop. The LuminAR recognises when you pick up a particular camera and then projects relevant information, specs and reviews so you can compare each in detail. It could also advertise camera cases, lenses, flashes, photography classes – anything else related to the purchase that might be useful for the customer and trigger a further sale.

In the fashion industry, LuminAR in the change room of a fashion retailer could suggest shoes, jewellery, bag and accessories to match the outfit you’re trying on.

In the home, it might sense that you’re watching a particular program and offer you linked information. For example, if you’re watching a sporting event, you could be presented with stats on the players and teams, see team merchandise or buy tickets to the next game.

A recipe used on a cooking show could be projected by the LuminAR along with a list of ingredients and directions to the local shops that stock them. It could provide the name and artist of a song featured in a program’s soundtrack and let you download it instantly.

Essentially, LuminAR can link in with and enhance existing media and make people and brands more connected than ever. It is digital technology that brings new life to offline media and takes advertising and communication into just about any environment you can imagine, while always maintaining relevance.

This is just one example of what is possible in the realms of technology and communications. By educating ourselves and our clients, we can prepare for what lies ahead.

Justin Baird, who worked as an innovationist at Google, is now group innovation director at Jumptank



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