In connection with its June 16 issue, which includes a “Summer Drinking Special” feature, Time Out New York has enlisted the services of augmented reality firm Metaio to fuse AR, mobile and GPS technologies to create a guide to drinking establishments in New York City that are offering special offers and discounts, accessed over a user’s smartphone.
“Our readers today are on the go and mobile,” Time Out North America digital business director Marci Weisler says in a statement. “By leveraging augmented reality technology, we add another dimension to our print and online content and make it available anywhere on the go.”
The mobile guide works when users download Metaio’s free junaio 2.0 augmented reality application (from the Apple App store or Android Marketplace) and select the “TONY Summer Drinking” channel. From there, the user points their smartphone in any direction in NYC and the technology provides them with details on TONY-featured bars in the area offering discounts, the ability to browse venue photos, access contact information, and get directions and maps.
“Basically, the junaio AR browser uses GPS and image-recognition to overlay digital content on top of reality, whether it’s on a print piece in a magazine or on top of a restaurant as you look through the viewfinder. Any content can be overlaid on a specific location or specific image,” Metaio/junaio product marketing manager Lisa Murphy says. “Specifically for TONY, we used GPS, compass, and accelerometer of the smartphone to enable these overlays, so as you point your phone, you see relevant bars near you, and where they are located right on the live-view of your phone.”
The accelerometer, according to Murphy, tells users the angle at which they are viewing the live view on their mobile device, specifically up and down directions. The compass tells users whether they pointed north, south, east or west.
Combining GPS with accelerometer and compass functionalities with visual recognition capabilities on the junaio platform make it so users can use the technology on their mobile phones, no matter where they are, independently of requiring a computer. Last year, Metaio worked with Bonnier Corp. to develop a cover for Popular Science that when held up to a computer’s Web camera an interactive image featuring wind turbines appeared on the computer screen. Once the image was activated, the user could make the blades turn by blowing air onto the webcam microphone.
Murphy says prices for developing customized programs similar to the “TONY Summer Drinking” channel depend on the particular project, although Metaio has an open API that allows publishers/advertisers to create their own app or channels within the junaio platform for free.