KISS – or Keep It Simple Stupid – isn’t an acronym naturally associated with Augmented Reality and the television industry.
But you know what? It fits rather well.
Allow me to explain.
TV studios are already seeing the potential of AR as a way of adding valuable content to their shows. Take the use of graphics in the coverage of sports, for example. A flash of colour and movement can easily explain play-by-play narratives.
In the UK, Match of the Day has been doing this for some time, while in the US American Football and ice hockey broadcasts are awash with graphics that explain defensive and offensive plays.
Nobody likes the look of the Halo in Formula One. But, it certainly gives a good basis for on-screen information about ERS and KERS levels. Whatever they are.
And weather forecasters have been using AR for years to add information to anything the presenter says. The Weather Channel in particular is adept at producing incredible AR content that explains all manner of stormy conditions.
But you know what’s commonplace about all these successful applications? They’re simple, straightforward and don’t ask anything extra of the viewer.
So if we’re looking for the next step in the application of AR in TV and even film, that’s where we need to start.
As part of that, we need to acknowledge that second screening is already a habit that we’re all guilty of. Who hasn’t looked for Youtube videos of Susan Boyle’s debut while watching Britain’s Got Talent? Okay, just me then. Or even looked at Facebook on their smartphone when they’re sat at a computer… with Facebook already open in front of them?
Again, the common factor with second screening is simplicity. These habits take nothing more than a few taps on a mobile phone screen while your cup of tea goes cold.
Ben Smith, CEO of Laduma, believes simple, second screen applications could point the way for AR in the future.
He said: “In years to come, what is going to be really interesting is seeing how Augmented Reality can enhance that second screen experience at home.
“We’ll have people holding up devices to the TV to trigger new content or to understand more about an area of the story that they really like as a fan. It’s a huge potential growth area.”
Alex Kunawicz, VP of Strategy at Laduma, expects Augmented Reality to be joined by Virtual Reality in the move towards the straightforward expansion of original content.
He said: “With immersive technology, it’s the simple ideas which are the best. This includes short VR films, or pieces of AR that can bring your brand to life and expose it to social media.
“Those are the sort of pieces that I think TV and video companies are looking for when they’re looking to use immersive technology to promote their content.”
Expansive AR and VR that adds real value to original content doesn’t have to be complicated, or even difficult to understand. The average viewer won’t move than a few taps on a phone screen to use it.
It has to be easy to access and above all, simple. Let’s keep it that way.