Recently I’ve been speaking a lot about the Phygital world and how it will affect us all, in ways we couldn’t possibly imagine. Phygital is where the physical and digital worlds combine.
For many years Matmi have existed in a digital world. We have made many award winning digital campaigns that have benefited brands and consumers alike.
At first most of the access for our digital work was via a PC, this was when digital was in its infancy. We were one of the first UK agencies to focus on digital branded entertainment. Brands that worked with Matmi benefited from millions of users engaging with them in an exciting new way that not only built positive engagement, delivered the brand message but also spread virally, touching millions of people across the globe.
Since then, the rise of mobile devices has changed the way we interact with technology forever. People often feel naked without their connection. Mobiles are now the thing that people worry about losing the most. With this in mind the digital content should use the power of the device, whether its GPS, NFR, augmented reality, social, localisation etc.
For all its amazing benefits, the digital revolution has seen some casualties on the way. Walk down your high street and you will see many empty shops, partly the never ending recession is to blame but if you take a look at eCommerce sales then this paints a very different picture. We are upset about the death of the high street, but many of us go in shops, look at products, then go on our mobiles to find reviews and see if we can get it cheaper online.
We are all hypocrites. The shops understandably have tried to adapt with online stores but when it comes to the physical location they frown upon digital, as they know it can destroy them. Instead of being scared of digital they should embrace it. After all, shops pay rent 24hours a day but are usually open for 8. They have a window to the world, surely they can do more.
For example, shops could allow the users to see reviews in store, in real time with social connections to see if friends or celebrities have used that product. This could be shown on a screen in the store which talks to your mobile.
How about if a sports retailer has a big screen of projection in the window? On the screen is David Beckham, as you walk past he looks at you, he gets your attention. What if you could change his outfit? What if you could interact with him by simply moving your body or hands? You wave at him, he waves back, you can control him, make him play keepy ups, take part in a penalty shoot-out.
What if you could virtually step into the window and become the person you are looking at? You can try different outfits on by simply gesturing with your hand, you can post a photo of you wearing the outfit to social networks for your friends to see and vote on. You could appear in the photo with anyone you choose. The more views the image gets the more discounts you get. You can even buy the product through the window.
This all may sound far-fetched but it’s happening right now. Matmi are currently working on these Phygital solutions that hit the sweet spot where the convergent technologies collide. Augmented reality, GPS, NFC, social connections, gaming, eCommerce, digital wallets, mapping, facial recognition, gamification combine to deliver socially integrated Phygital experiences that will change the way we work, live and play forever.
Kids can look into a mirror but the reflection they see is their favourite character from a game, they can move the character by moving themselves. By visiting stores they can unlock characters in games. This essentially creates loyalty schemes with a digital payout.
Soon the high street will evolve to be a more social space. Shops should and will open later; small retailers will have online stores with shops acting as warehousing and retail. Global brands will focus on retail parks. Stores themselves will become more like a cafés or bars, with live fashion shows, live music or augmented entertainment streamed live through global stores.
Something Matmi has learned from experience is that bringing the physical and digital world together produces amazing results. We first saw this when we created Optathlon for United Airlines in 2010. The app was advertised in the airport, so while people waited for their flights they could download the game, play on it and win travel options on the spot, such as discounts and free flights. So if a user played in the airport (which millions did) they could win an instant upgrade to the flight they were getting on. Winners were shown a certificate which the gate agent could scan to authorise. This helped customers to engage with the product United Airlines were trying to sell.
This woke Matmi up to Phygital. We are now producing campaigns that lend themselves to the physical world in a completely new way. We understand that content should not belong to a device or PC but should belong to the users, no matter what device they are using.
Our recent work for Alton Towers is another example of the benefits of Phygital. We were tasked with producing a campaign that raised awareness of the new roller-coaster, The Smiler; creating anticipation and excitement in order to drive traffic in to the park for the ride’s opening. We also wanted to create something to keep people entertained whilst queuing.
In the game users have to ride the roller-coaster and keep it balanced on the tracks, upgrading and modifying the ride throughout by spending in game currency. That seems simple enough but how was this going to drive traffic in park? How could be use the game to entertain people whilst queuing for the ride?
Although users could upgrade the track in the game, not all the upgrades were available. We added images around the park and in the queue line around the actual roller-coaster. They could then use the in-app augmented reality scanner to make the images come to life and unlocked upgrades that were not available to non-visitors. So this meant that only those who visited the park could complete the game.
The campaign was a combination or advergaming, gamification, augmented reality and proved the power of Phygtial, as 12% of users who played the game visited the park and scanned the images in the queue helping them complete the game.
It’s only a matter of time before Phygital is all around us. Of course there are certain barriers we must overcome along the way, such as privacy. But if our high streets are to survive, this interconnected future is essential.
If you like what Jeff’s saying and think that your brand would benefit from getting Phygital, then get in touch!
Phone: 01625 560771
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