This year I once again had the privilege to attend WPP’s Stream, an unconference event hosted by Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP Group, and Yossi Vardi. It was a month earlier than last year, which resulted in tropical weather. This contributed nicely to the event.
I like Stream because it is a very relaxed atmosphere where everyone is in shorts and flip flops, the egos are left at the door, and everyone is very open, willing to engage and share. For me it’s great to get an idea of what’s going on in the world of digital advertising. Almost all of WPP’s digital directors and managers are there, which is a lot, as WPP is one of the world’s biggest agencies. Next to that they bring their clients and partners. I get to talk to all parties in this ecosystem and learn from them.
A day at Stream has two parts. The first part, the daytime, is when workshops and discussions take place. I hosted a discussion on AR (see below for the learned insights and used demos). The second part is the evening program. Here everyone gathers in the Big Top (the main tent) for various entertaining activities. On Friday night it was time for the Ignite talks.
Ignite talk: Augmented Reality is the Great Equalizer
The format for the Ignite Talks was originally thought up by Tim O’Reilly. It’s a format where all can climb the stage and share an idea or vision, anything basically, as long as they adhere to the format: 15 slides that automatically forward every 15 seconds.
It was great to use this format to challenge myself to fit our vision about why Augmented Reality will be an important part of our life in the coming years, and what the effect will be, into only 5 minutes and 15 slides! Plus, the added pressure of being in the midst of other presenters like Esther Dyson, Andrew Keen and David Rowan. There is only one remedy for these situations, and that is to practice… and practice and practice (which i did). The presentation went well; people liked it. Anyway, the slides are below. Go here to see the transcript in a separate post.
The main insight that I gained from Stream is that Augmented Reality is about to break though with Vision. As soon as people see how it works, just holding a phone over an object or magazine page, they realize the potential. Readers, users, consumers, publishers, advertisers—everyone. As soon as they see it they get it, and start coming up with use cases themselves.
For Augmented Reality to break though, it’s important that large media titles as well as brands start adopting it in their work. That’s the way for the public to get acquainted with it. They will help and show that it’s worth doing by offering a valuable experience. I especially think magazines and newspapers will play a big roll initially. They know content and also have a great existing channel and audience.
Another learning, and advantage for publishers and brands to use Augmented Reality, is its short lead time and no need to change original assets. Packaging doesn’t need to be altered to add an experience on top of it. The Augmented Reality experience can be added later and much more quickly than it takes to produce the packaging itself or the article. For example, the poster campaign mentioned below was developed in less than a week.
Layar Vision Demos
I brought several demonstrations with me in the form of posters as shown below. If you have a beta build (Android only) of the Layar Browser then look for “Stream11” and hold it over the poster to experience it.
For those who don’t have the beta: with the girl you can try out several pick-up lines to get her attention. You see this when you hold your phone up to the poster. You can scroll though the pick up lines and try them out with different results.
The Lolcat poster had a lot of success. Everyone likes them 8-). In this demo you again just hold up your phone over the poster and see several options: share the cute cat love with your friends on Facebook and Twitter, watch a cute cat video, donate to a cat cause and… (yes the best one is the last) give the cat laser eyes!
Many thanks to WPP, the Stream team and all who were there. It was a great weekend!