Instead of three French hens, our neatly wrapped offering to you this Christmas contains a bit more tale and a little less…tail.
In this article, we’re covering three Christmas tales with a touch of tech. So sit back, get comfy, and have a cup of coffee as we present these augmented reality (AR) stories that are sure to serve you Christmas spirit. We hope you find them as enthralling as we have.
Augmented Reality on Harrods Storefront: Christmas Feel with a Twist
Augmented reality and retail are no strangers to each other. In recent years, big brands like L’Oréal with its Signature Faces line, IKEA with its AR-powered furniture app, and even Etsy with its virtual home have exhibited some form of interest in augmented reality technology.
This trend had started going mainstream around the time Pokémon GO began amassing a large user base. And years later, augmented reality was pushed further into convention when the pandemic disabled face-to-face engagement.
In our first augmented reality x Christmas story, luxury department store Harrods partnered with Visualise AR & VR to offer passersby an entertaining exhibition. Without downloading any applications, anyone can view the festive animation using their mobile device’s browser.
The animation is triggered if a curious pedestrian raises their phone camera to the storefront. In doing so, they will witness a robotic character dancing to Swan Lake on their phone screen. Seconds later, they’ll see the same robot jamming to ‘80s club music.
The festive performance seems like a nice little greeting card from Harrods — and is a pretty smart way to market their store in a timely fashion.
Westminster’s Augmented Reality Public Initiative (with AR Elves, No Less)
From retail to large scale, we now move on to the explorative side of augmented reality. Westminster City Council launched an AR project called “Westminster Elves”, encouraging people to visit four locations.
In these four locations — Hanover Square, Marble Arch Mound, Piccadilly Circus, and Soho Square — visitors could experience a white Christmas like never before. Each location has a QR code that, when scanned, leads users to a website revealing to them the elfin world.
There, they can start “throwing snowballs, sharing a magical moment with Santa’s reindeer, glimpsing inside Mr. Claus’ workshop, and seeing Santa himself”, all through the power of augmented reality technology, a report on Westminster City Council’s website says.
It’s reminiscent of Heart of London Business Alliance’s AR initiative in the middle of 2021. Scattered about London streets were AR renderings of art pieces accessible only on their mobile devices. Except with Westminster Elves, the experience is a tad more immersive.
It’s unclear until when Westminster Elves is available to view, but in the same report, the council said the winner of its “selfie” competition would be announced on December 28. To participate, visitors have to take pictures posing with the elves to get the chance to win a £50 voucher.
Christmas Tale as AR Trail in Ipswich
Now let’s travel some 80 miles to journey toward our next destination — Ipswich.
We’ve seen augmented reality inspire Christmas spirit in retail and through adventure. But for Ipswich, the magic begins and ends with a narrative.
Ipswich Borough Council paved a trail in Christchurch Park, giving visitors the objective to “track down 11 Christmas animals” using augmented reality technology. These AR animals are hidden in the area. Visitors’ goal is to decide which of them gets to be on Santa’s sleigh team, a report on the council’s official website says. But of course, there’s more story behind this seemingly simple task.
Just like the Westminster elves, those who wish to experience the trail will need to scan QR codes. And by the end of their journey, after finding all 11 animals, participants will receive a free ebook revealing the story’s conclusion, says the report.
We hope you enjoyed these stories that serve to remind us there is no limit to the ways in which we can celebrate this wonderful season. Happy holidays from NarraSoft!