Spoiler note. The iPhone app I’m about to discuss has no augmented reality functionality.
So why am I discussing it? Because if it did, it’d go from adequate to awesome. Every year nerds from around the country descend on Gen Con to revel in unabashed geeking-out. Why do I know about Gen Con? When I was a youngster, I started a D&D club at my Catholic grade school, which lasted as long as it took for the nuns to realize we were one dice roll away from Satan worship. The club was quickly disbanded, which was probably for the best, or the probability of getting a date in high school would have had a very high THACO.
Back to the app in question. It gives convention-goers a tool for everything they might need (except deodorant) like: event listings, conference maps, city maps, live chat, access to Facebook and Twitter, news update and a host of other options. This app, even without AR does a lot of nice things, but add the spatial awareness of AR and it would become a must have for any iPhone user at the convention and become an event on its own.
This kind of application doesn’t just apply to nerds on their yearly pilgrimage to the Mecca, but can work for any convention (*cough* ISMAR and Immersion Tech Summit). Many times when people at a convention walk by each other, the only thing that might draw them together is a cool t-shirt or the happenstance of staring at the same booth. Using AR would help highlight similarities between, what was once, random interactions of people. Now, two people walking by each other might realize they both have the same interests, be that playing their favorite strategy card game for Gen Con or experimenting with papervision and art for ISMAR or Immersion Tech Summit.
Essentially, conventions for hobbies or business are all about bringing together people with like interests to celebrate and educate. Using AR to visualize the similarities as well as geotagging the booths for easier location would enhance the experience.
Next year, I’m planning on visiting a number of conventions like ISMAR10, Immersive Tech Summit, Gen Con, E3, Comic Con, to name a few. I hope there will be an AR app at each location waiting for me.