ARCHIVES: This is legacy content from before Marketing Dive acquired Mobile Marketer in early 2017. Some information, such as publication dates, may not have migrated over. Check out the new Marketing Dive site for the latest marketing news.

Toshiba mobilizes fan-going experiences at Staples Center via augmented reality

Toshiba is bringing a mobile focus to basketball fans? experiences at Los Angeles?s Staples Center by rolling out an augmented reality application that curates true-to-life pictures of team players with game attendees, allowing guests to enjoy a memorable photo opportunity.

Toshiba America Business Solutions has introduced the PictureMe app to bring basketball enthusiasts even closer to some of their favorite Los Angeles-based players, including Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. After snapping virtual images with the sports stars, consumers can then share photos across social media, suggesting that there may be an open seat for augmented reality apps in stadiums and arenas.

?Sports fans are a high-passion audience, and tend to feel a close connection with their favorite teams and players,? said Omaid Hiwaizi, president of global marketing at augmented reality platform Blippar, London. ?However, these days fans can't really get close to the action or the athletes.

?Augmented reality offers the perfect chance for sports teams to keep fans engaged and excited about their teams, extending the fan experience,? he said.

?By embracing AR, the Clippers are allowing fans to get close and personal to their favorite athletes -- with the ease and proximity of the devices they carry with them constantly -- before, during and after games.?

Putting mobile courtside
Toshiba?s PictureMe app, which is available for iOS and Android devices, will develop true-to-life photos of players from the Los Angeles Clippers and Dallas Mavericks teams ahead of the tip-off game set to kick off the 2015-2016 NBA season.

Fans attending the game at the Staples Center may have their own likenesses superimposed next to those of the basketball superstars.

The app will work in tandem with Toshiba?s 65-inch vertical touch screen display, and will project a digital display of the chosen player within the consumer?s smartphone. Staples Center guests may choose to take virtual photos with Clippers members including Chris Paul and Blake Griffin, as well as Los Angeles Kings star An?e Kopitar and National Hockey League Hall of Famer Luc Robitaille.

After consumers snap their picture, they may share the image across social media or upload it onto one of the LA Interactive high-definition displays, with help from Toshiba?s onsite ambassadors.

To provide an even more personalized experience, guests also have the ability to auto-tweet directly to the Kings? and Clippers? official Twitter handles.

LA Interactive?s fan engagement zone is an area where attendees can view exclusive content from the Kings and Clippers, such as team photos, video highlights and game statistics.

The introduction of the PictureMe app will likely bolster the fan-going experience for Staples Center guests, and result in greater brand awareness for the home teams. For example, if a social media user spots a virtual photo of a friend with a Clippers member, he or she may be prompted to purchase tickets for an upcoming game.

Spotlight on augmented reality
An increasing amount of companies are acknowledging the power that virtual and augmented reality offer when it comes to boosting their mobile profiles.

In a reflection of image recognition technology?s growing role in mobile shopping and mcommerce, augmented reality application Blippar and Chinese ecommerce company Alibaba recently revealed plans for next-generation solutions that promise to bring the real-world and digital experiences even closer together (see story).

Meanwhile, GE and vehicle manufacturer Mini are transporting New York Times subscribers into fully immersive brand experiences as sponsors of the publication?s first virtual reality film, which is being released via a smartphone application (see story).

?Many industries are beginning to realize that augmented reality offers huge engagement and communication opportunities, and the sports industry is no exception -- bolstering engagement during and between matches, on and off season, and creating new monetization opportunities,? Mr. Hiwaizi said.

?As mobile becomes a more pervasive element of the brand experience, it?s critical that brands develop mobile and social strategies that both grow their customer base and retain brand loyalty,? he said.

?For example, for this year?s Rugby World Cup, Blippar activated tickets for the event, which users could blipp to access exclusive content, take selfies with themselves holding the match ball and even see the view they would get from their seat, fostering excitement and enthusiasm for the upcoming game.?

Final Take
Alex Samuely, staff writer on Mobile Marketer, New York