- Virtual reality (VR) software company 8i released yesterday a mobile application called Holo that lets smartphone users add augmented-reality (AR) holograms to video recordings, according to a blog post by the company. It also announced a partnership with Sony Pictures to add Spider-Man holograms to the app before the premiere of "Spider-Man: Homecoming."
- The company has also partnered with Verizon’s Go90 video streaming service, Hearst’s Cosmopolitan magazine and AOL’s RYOT to create holograms, which include actress Debby Ryan, a Trump impersonator, MMA star Anderson Silva, comedian Flula Borg, Roc Nation talent and a real-life tiger named Lola, reported Variety.
- Steve Raymond, CEO of 8i, said hundreds of holograms will be available on the app. Each hologram is created in the company's studio in Los Angeles, and all of the content is free on iOS and Android.
AR is evolving beyond gaming apps liked Pokémon Go as companies like Facebook and Apple embrace the technology. Both companies have announced tools to allow developers to add AR effects to their apps. Raymond said the company plans to support Apple’s ARKit developer platform to the iOS version of Holo as soon as possible.
The marketing possibilities for holograms will multiply as they're used in mobile campaigns that include product demonstrations or characters from TV and film. A clear shift is underway in the use of smartphone cameras from a fun splash of entertainment or movie promotions to adding value to consumers’ lives and informing brands’ mobile marketing strategies. From the quick growth of image-sharing social platforms to last summer’s viral Pokémon Go, rising numbers of users suggest a major interest in engaging with the real world through a mobile device.
Ikea, the Swedish home furnishings chain with 393 stores worldwide, is tapping into this by developing an app via Apple's new ARKit to let smartphone users see how products look in their homes before making a purchase. The next logical step will be to transform those images into holographic objects that provide a 3-D view for customers.
Meanwhile, Sony Pictures is going all out in promoting the next Spider-Man movie with a campaign that includes more AR technology. In addition to having a hologram of the web-slinging comic-book hero, the studio is running a promotion that includes interactive digital billboards in New York City’s Times Square. Its mobile AR campaign features a "Spider-Man Scramble" game that allows viewers to control a virtual version of the superhero appearing on the outdoor ads by using their smartphones.