One of the future trends identified in the PhoCusWright mobile research was the use of mobile devices to augment reality. Layar a browser available on the Google Android platform has announced the opening of its API to a select group of developers. As mentioned in the TechCrunch article other AR browser players include:” Tonchidot’s Sekai Camera and Mobilizy’s Wiki Tude. Even IBM is playing around with mobile AR apps.” The Layar video uses a real estate example, but the value to the traveler should be very obvious.
In recent speeches to airline and hotel executives I have been emphasizing how mobile is a new platform for developing appplications that never existed before. Developing AR browser based applications for travel is a great example of this opportunity. The ability for the traveler to view a real world structure and augment that with various types of data such as historical information, services (e.g. restaurant reviews) and special interest subjects (e.g. architectural design) are just a few examples on how AR browsing can enhance the travel experience.
The mobile platform is much more than a phone as it is truly a sensor of the physical world. Already it is common place for travelers to tweet, blog or upload pictures about their current destination. AR browsing takes this one step further by enhancing your surroundings with data that you find relevant.