In the course of working on my digital magazine, I recently came across an app for smartphones and iPads called Blippar. Normally I avoid daft names that give you no clue as to their meaning like the plague, but despite it’s uninspiring title, it caught my attention. The company that makes this app provides the following explanation on its website, Blippar.com :-
Blipp v. & n. blipp-ed, blipp-ing: the action of instantaneously converting anything in the real world into an interactive wow experience.
Now despite my appearance as a boring, middle-aged man, or, perhaps indeed, because of it, anything that offers to convert my real world instantaneously into an interactive wow experience is definitely worth a try.
The essence of the trick is that if you point the camera of your smartphone at a blipping advert, the software adds animations and links you to the internet whereby you can partake in promotional offers etc. So, for example, instead of just being reminded of how good a KitKat bar would taste right now, I can ‘Blipp’ the advert and immediately get the chance to vote for my favorite KitKat Chunky Bar flavour.
Without doubt, a truly wow experience.
The buzzwords behind this concept are ‘Augmented Reality’ which is a phrase that has quite an appeal on a wet February afternoon and sets my mind racing at the thought of which areas of my life might benefit from a dash of augmentation.
For starters, I’d like to ‘Blipp’ my Council Tax bill, allowing me to vote on which one of the dustmen that launches my wheelie bin across the road at 6am every Monday morning, should have his own reality augmented.
I could also get quite enthusiastic about ‘Blipping’ my bank statement for an instantaneous wow experience of playing the game ‘Banker’s Bonus’ which would offer me the chance to augment my balance and pension fund using only artificial intelligence.
But I think limiting Augmented Reality to adverts seen only through the small screen of my smartphone is short-sighted, particularly when I can’t find my glasses.
What would, without doubt, be a wow experience, would be the ability to ‘Blipp’ the counters in the local Post Office so that more than two are open at one time, or ‘Blipp’ the cheap chocolate offer in petrol stations that transforms unwanted sweets into affordable fuel, or best yet, ‘Blipp’ white van man such that Plod instantaneously appears when the selfish, inconsiderate swine disregards all other road users.
Now we’re talking.
At a personal level, I would definitely ‘Blipp’ my bathroom scales and shaving mirror so often that not only would I like to augment reality but I’d aim to completely lose touch with it. My office would certainly benefit from a regular ‘Blipp’ and anything that can turn Brocolli into a wow experience would get my vote.
Clearly the possibilities are endless and I would regularly seize the opportunity to point my phone at everyday irritations followed by a quick ‘Blipp that Mutha!’ Now that’s what I call a killer app.
The only concern I have, is that on the rare occasion when there is a simple misunderstanding, someone instead aims their smartphone in my direction and … Wow!