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History of Content Management Systems and Rise of Headless CMS

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Dec 18, 2018 | Brent Heslop

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To understand how content management systems (CMS) first came on the scene and why there are different types, let's look back at how content has evolved on the web.

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Web 1.0 Managing Static Web Content

Web 1.0 is the term used to refer to the first stage of development on the World Wide Web that was characterized by simple static websites. The history of content management systems began in 1989 when Tim Berners-Lee proposed an internet-based hypertext system HTML and wrote the browser and server software in late 1990. HTML came from SGML, which stands for the Standard Generalized Markup Language, and was created at IBM by Charles F. Goldfarb, Ed Mosher, and Ray Lorie in the 1970s. The first websites were simple HTML text files. You used an FTP program to copy the files to a directory under a running web server. In 1993, Mosaic browsers began supporting images that could appear along with text, and static brochure-like sites shared company and product information.

In the early 1990s, the first step to managing content on a web page came with Server Side Includes (SSI). Server Side Includes let you keep portions of your site separate from the main content, such as the site menu or a footer. Around the same time, the Common Gateway Interface came on the scene that let you create interactive forms.

As early as 1990, Tim Berners-Lee said the separation of document structure from the document's layout had been a goal of HTML. In 1994, Håkon Wium Lie worked at CERN and using the Web for publishing was growing. However, it wasn't possible to style documents, such as displaying a newspaper-style multi-column layout in a Web page. Lie saw the need for a style sheet language for the Web. Later Lie was joined by Bert Bos who was building a customizable browser with style sheets. By 1995 the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) was up and running, and Lie and Bos worked together at the W3C on the first style sheets recommendations.

In August 1996, the first commercial browser to support CSS was Microsoft's Internet Explorer 3. The next browser to support CSS was Netscape Communicator, version 4.0. Netscape's initial implementation to support CSS was more of an attempt to stop Microsoft from claiming to be more standards-compliant than Netscape. Unfortunately, the Netscape browser would frequently crash when the page included Cascading Style Sheets. The battle for controlling standards between Netscape and Microsoft came to be known as the browser wars.

In 1996, ColdFusion added a full scripting language called CFML. Processing forms with ColdFusion or using the Common Gateway Interface and programming languages like Perl and Python became the norm. From 1995 to 1997, server-side scripting was the rage. During this same time, Personal Home Page (PHP) and Active Server Pages (ASP) came into play with server-side scripting for generating content sent from the server to the Web browser. Similar to ASP and PHP, JavaServer Pages (JSP) arrived on the scene later in 1999 and was built around the Java programming language and was also fairly popular.

In 1997, Microsoft introduced iframes that let you split the HTML browser window into segments, with each frame showing a different document that could be used to display content from other sites, and was popular for presenting ads and banners. The iframe tag brought with it security, navigation, and search engine optimization issues that eventually were addressed.

The DOM and Dynamic HTML Revolution

The turning point came in 1997 as dynamic content came into its own with the introduction of the Document Object Model (DOM). The DOM defines the logical structure of documents that lets you identify and programmatically control parts of a document. The DOM is an application programming interface (API) for HTML and XML documents. For example, the DOM lets you access and manipulate the styles of HTML elements like the entire body (body) or a division (div) on a page.

Dynamic HTML using Asynchronous JavaScript and XML, commonly called Ajax, was a revolutionary breakthrough letting developers request and receive data to update a Web page without reloading the page.

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Figure 1. A Timeline of Milestones for Web Content Management

Web 2.0 and the Role of a CMS

Dynamic content delivery brought with it new ways to present and interact with content on the Web, with an emphasis on sites being more social. The term Web 2.0 helped define what is also called the participative or participatory and social web. Web 2.0 also refers to the surge in user-generated content and the ease of use to make websites work with other products and systems.

As the web moved from being static brochure sites to interactive sites with dynamic content, the desire for collaboration and fresh, relevant content grew, and the need to manage content came to the forefront. Websites needed to be updated daily, with different people wanting to add and edit content. For example, then Marketing Department wants to update promotional material, Human Resources needs to post new jobs, the Public Relations Department needs to post press releases, the Docs Department needs to publish product documentation, the Support Department wants to interact with customers online, and so on. The role of a content management system was to provide the capability for multiple users with different permission levels to manage content for a website or a section of the content.

The Core Components of a CMS

There are two core elements of any content management system (CMS): The Content Management Application (CMA) and the Content Delivery Application (CDA). A CMA for website content allows for the administration of users and groups so that they can create, edit, and remove site content. The CMA also includes the front-end user interface that allows a person to add, modify, and remove content from a Web site without requiring knowledge of HTML, Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), or programming languages, thus eliminating the involvement of a developer. The Content Delivery Application (CDA) compiles that information and updates the website.

The Rise of the Monolithic CMS

It was apparent that a system was needed that would allow individuals and groups to manage and deliver content to the web. A monolithic CMS is a system that incorporates everything required for managing and publishing content to the Web. This type of CMS is a coupled system, meaning that it is an all-in-one content-management solution. We will take a more in-depth look into the difference between coupled and decoupled systems later in this article.

Founded in 1985, FileNet is considered to be the first system that was a real content management system. In 1995 FileNet introduced a complete integrated document management suite of programs with document imaging, document management, and workflow. Vignette came on the scene in late 1995 with the goal of making web publishing more accessible and more personalized, and is commonly credited for originating the term “content management system.” A year later Vignette introduced StoryBuilder. Many enterprise CMSs began to appear around this time including, Interwoven (1995), Documentum (1996), FatWire (1996), FutureTense (1996), Inso (1996), and EPiServer (1997).

Open Source CMS and Frameworks

By the early 2000s, content management systems dominated the web. Open source content management systems and frameworks began to appear. A framework is a programming library of pre-written code, such as the then-popular Zend framework written in the PHP programming language. OpenCMS, PHP-Nuke, Mambo, WordPress, Drupal, Plone, and Joomla all offered free alternatives for content management. WordPress gained popularity as an open-source solution focusing on blog content delivery and letting third-party developers add customizations and extensions. In 2006, Alfresco offered an open-source alternative to enterprise content management.

The Website-Building Platform Surge

Starting in 2003, easy to use website-building CMS sites offered premade templates for people who had no coding experience, such as WordPress (2003), SquareSpace (2003), followed later by Weebly (2006), and Wix (2006). While not pure content management systems, these building platforms provided a path to building a small, low-cost website that required no knowledge of HTML, CSS, and coding.

Web APIs, XML, and JSON

A large part of Web 2.0 was making websites work with other products and systems. A Web API is a Programming Interface that allows access to a system, such as a website through standard HTTP request methods. The data is typically wrapped in a standard format, such as XML or JSON to make it easy to read and work with.

XML stands for eXtensible Markup Language that is a data format. Like HTML, XML is a descendant of SGML, the Standard Generalized Markup Language. XML allows for transporting data through feeds and API calls because it's a platform-independent format.

JSON stands for JavaScript Object Notation that is a format of storing serialized data with key-value pairs and transmitting that data between a server and a web application. JSON feeds can be loaded asynchronously much more easily than XML and RSS feeds. Some sites, such as Twitter provide RSS feeds, which are easy to use on the server-side but frustrating on the client-side, since you cannot load an RSS feed with AJAX unless you are requesting it from the same domain on which it is hosted. JSON also gained preference over XML since it has a smaller footprint, is easier to use, and works great with JavaScript-enabled browsers since JavaScript automatically recognizes JSON.

SOAP and REST

To communicate object information back and forth for social and e-commerce sites, developers often use machine-based interactions, such as REST and SOAP. SOAP stands for Simple Object Access Protocol. REST stands for REpresentational State Transfer. REST is an architectural style, whereas SOAP is a protocol. An architectural style specifies guidelines that a developer must follow to be considered a RESTful API, including that it supports a client-server model, be stateless, cacheable, have a uniform interface, and be a layered system. A layered system is one where you can keep data on different systems, so your APIs can be on one server, data on a second server, and use a third server to authenticate requests.

Developed in the early 1990s, SOAP did not come into the mainstream until the early 2000s. SOAP is a standardized, extensible, XML-based messaging protocol that is language-, platform-, and transport-independent with built-in error handling. SOAP uses Web Services Description Language (WSDL), which is a service description language. SOAP uses Web Services Description Language (WSDL), which is a service description language used to provide web services over the Internet. The WSDL specifies the available functions, so a client program can connect and discover the functions offered by the web services.

SOAP is not as popular today and is being replaced with new APIs, such as REST and GraphQL. SOAP works well in distributed enterprise environments and is still used for B2B applications because you can define a "data contract" with it. However, in the web world, 70% of public APIs are RESTful APIs. When a RESTful API is called, the server will transfer to the client a representation of the state of the requested resource. REST uses multiple standards like HTTP, JSON, URL, and XML. A REST API uses a Web Application Description Language (WADL), and it doesn’t require the extensive processing SOAP does, so it is faster. It is also easier to use and more efficient and flexible than SOAP. RESTful web APIs are typically loosely based on HTTP methods to access resources via URL-encoded parameters and the use of JSON or XML to transmit data. JSON ensures reliable, fast, and easy data exchanges, so it is the most common data exchange format for working with RESTful APIs.

Going Mobile with Web 3.0

In the late 1990s and early 2000s Nokia Symbian, Palm, and Blackberry mobile devices provided access to the Web. However, it wasn’t until the introduction of the iPhone in 2007 and the Android smartphone in 2008 that mobile phones really had an impact on delivering web content. In 2010 smart tablets came on the scene. REST APIs and JSON data format were vital to delivering content to mobile devices. This megatrend of delivering content to mobile devices ushered in the mobile web era, which has also been called Web 3.0 to identify the shift from computers and laptops to mobile content delivery. By the beginning of 2014, mobile internet use exceeded desktop use in the U.S.

This rise in content consumption by mobile devices presented a problem for the monolithic CMS that was explicitly created for delivering Web content to desktops and laptops. There was no way to deliver content for both desktop and mobile devices reliably. To address the rise of mobile web usage, developers began creating both desktop and mobile versions of their websites, with mobile designs offering stripped-down versions of select desktop website pages.

The mobile sites were on a separate subdomain and called mobile or “m.dot” sites since the subdomains would end in “.m.” One problem that arose is that Google does not provide indexing of m.dot sites. Instead, Google only annotates the m.dot URLs to say the main website is mobile-friendly.

In 2010, Ethan Marcotte introduced the term “responsive design” that promoted a shift in thinking from the fixed design for desktop websites to responsive, fluid, adaptable layouts. To deliver on the promise of responsive design, the W3C created media queries as part of the CSS3 specification. A media query allows developers to ascertain the type of device and inspect the physical characteristics of the device, such as the screen size. For example, using CSS you can use the @media rule to determine what screen size is being used and include a block of CSS properties for that device.

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Figure 2: Worldwide Mobile Growth
Source: StatCounter Global Stats (http://gs.statcounter.com/)

The Paradigm Shift to Omnichannel

The word “omni” means “all things” in Latin, so omnichannel refers to all possible channels. Just as the mobile channel was disruptive to the delivery of web content, new channels, such as smartwatches, gaming consoles, voice-activated devices like Amazon’s Echo (Alexa) and Google Home are continually appearing that present content delivery problems for the traditional CMS. The paradigm shifts—from delivering content for a few channels to true omnichannel content delivery that is flexible enough to support whatever tomorrow’s channels may come on the scene—demand a better solution, which was the decoupled and headless CMS solution.

The Decoupled and Headless API-First CMS Solution

A decoupled system consists of two or more systems that can transact without being connected, similar to the separation of an HTML (content) file from a CSS (formatting) and a JavaScript (programming) file. A decoupled CMS allows developers to make changes to the presentation (formatting) and behavior (programming) layer without affecting the content of the site.

The term decoupled and headless are frequently used interchangeably, but there is a difference. A headless CMS does not have a front-end system or presentation environment. A headless CMS is API-first, which means it integrates content management tools via API. Separating formatting from content allows you to publish content to any device or channel. A decoupled CMS typically includes a front-end formatting system of templates. A headless CMS separates managing content from presenting formatted content; so in other words, it removes the interdependency of presentation and behavior layers from the content. Moving from a coupled system to a decoupled headless CMS opens up a new world of managing content.

The Content Hub Architecture

Key to the success of working with a headless CMS is the content hub architecture. A content hub centralizes all your content in one place using an API to deliver content anywhere. This content-centric approach accelerates and simplifies content management, letting your developers use the best-of-breed tools to create digital experience platforms (DXP) with omnichannel content delivery to help create more personalized customer journeys and more impactful digital experiences.

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Figure 3: The Content Hub Architecture

Integration and Frameworks

Not only does the content hub architecture help you with omnichannel content delivery, but using a content hub also gives you more freedom for integration. Using a headless CMS following the content hub architecture lets you choose the best of existing tools or services, such as marketing automation tools, analytics, a personalization engine, translation services, video delivery services, e-commerce platform, and AI extensions.

The world of technology is constantly changing at a rapid rate. There is always a new way of capturing and delivering customer data better, faster, and cheaper. Integrations with a headless CMS with a content hub architecture makes it much easier to be agile and switch to new tools and services without disrupting your content or content delivery.content-spoke.png

Figure 4. Integration and the Content Hub

Security and CMS Solutions

Most headless CMS offerings fall in the Content as a Service (CaaS) category, meaning the service is centralized and hosted on the Cloud. As with any CMS, you put your trust into your CMS vendor. This trust applies to any third-party applications that you integrate into your CMS as well. The benefit of using a reputable company with supported integrations that you can trust minimizes risk and ensures a safer more secure site.

Scalability

Using a traditional CMS to handle increases in traffic is a typical solution to add multiple servers running the CMS. This is time-consuming and expensive. A headless CMS has the ability to scale and additionally avoid database bottlenecks that you are likely to encounter using a traditional CMS. Scaling is much easier to do with a headless CMS since most headless CMS offerings are Cloud-hosted, so it is possible to automatically adjust your Cloud infrastructure to match demand.

Another important technology for being able to deliver content fast and on a global scale is the Content Delivery Network (CDN). A CDN is a network of servers spread around the globe. Static assets and dynamic content of your website are cached and saved on all the CDN’s servers. When a person requests a page, the website retrieves cached content from the nearest CDN server and delivers it to the client. Having a CDN-enabled headless CMS vastly improves the performance of delivering content around the world.

The Digital Experience Platform

Gartner defines a digital experience platform (DXP) "as an integrated set of technologies, based on a common platform, that provides a broad range of audiences with consistent, secure and personalized access to information and applications across many digital touchpoints. Organizations use DXPs to build, deploy and continually improve websites, portals, mobile and other digital experiences." The headless CMS approach is quickly becoming a crucial component of the new generation of Digital Experience Platforms (DXPs). DXPs go significantly beyond web content management to create rich, engaging experiences for audiences addressing a multitude of channels. This ties in nicely with the content-hub architecture to enable any type of integration needed to deliver content to any channel.

The Importance of Personalization

Personalization is key to building an effective Digital Experience Platform. Personalization means understanding your visitors’ interests and tailoring content to fit their needs and preferences, providing them with an experience they find relevant. The more relevant a person finds your message the more you increase customer loyalty and revenue. Personalization is a mission-critical marketing activity. Using a headless CMS, personal data is made available via APIs, web services, and open data standards, so you are not tied down by data stored in a pre-built system.

Personalization tools and services, such as Optimizely, Monetate, One Spot, Evergage, Salesforce Commerce Cloud, and Adobe Target all help you track and act on a visitor’s behavior, location, profile, and other attributes to create a dynamically personalized, highly relevant experience. By creating a more meaningful experience for your visitors you’re also generating better business results.

Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

In July 2018 at a Town Hall meeting in San Francisco, Google CEO Sundar Pichai called artificial intelligence “one of the most important things that humanity is working on,” saying that it is “more profound than electricity or fire.” Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) are ushering in the next era of digital transformation. All major tech companies are following this mega-trend. Google offers TensorFlow; IBM, Watson and AI OpenScale; Adobe, Sensi; SalesForce, Einstein; Amazon Lex and Amazon Rekognition; Microsoft Azure Cognitive Services; and Facebook announced it is expanding its AI-research division to roughly 170 scientists and engineers.

AI and machine learning are already having a significant impact on content management. Integrating your content hub with AI and machine-learning tools and services can help you discover hidden opportunities, speed up processes, and most importantly, offer relevant digital experiences to customers. Personalization engines are using AI and machine learning to deliver smarter, customized, and predictive customer experiences. In addition to the personalization services mentioned in the previous section, some examples of using content management with AI and machine language services and tools such as SEO optimization with CanIRank, MarketBrew, and BrightEdge; content creation and text analysis with MonkeyLearn, Acrolinx, Automated Insights, and Narrative Science; and translation services with KantanMT, and SYSTRAN.

The Headless CMS Solution

There will always be disruptive technologies that will change the CMS playing field. There is no doubt that AI and machine learning are going to play a huge role in the future of content management. The primary goal is to build the best digital experience platform with omnichannel delivery that is secure, scalable, and as future-proof as possible, such as Contentstack. By allowing you to integrate with new technologies and applications as they come on the scene, a headless CMS is likely to be the longest-lasting solution in the history of content management systems.

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Sep 14, 2022

How to have difficult conversations with your CFO

I've heard CFOs described as executives who are "exceptional at finding the smartest way to say no." While there may be some truth to that, CFOs are also motivated by the smartest reasons to say yes.When that clicked for me earlier in my career, my approach to CFO conversations shifted. It wasn't about drowning them in data or trying to convince them my idea was the one; it was about painting a picture.That picture should tell a simple story: where the organization is now and where it could be if we make a change. As Chief Digital Officer of Dawn Foods Bob Howland said in a recent episode of the People Changing Enterprises podcast: "Everyone wants to be part of success. Everyone wants to be part of the future."Given the economic environment, many of us are having more conversations with finance than we're used to. So, I thought I'd share some of my strategies for fruitful CFO conversations here.Face Issues Early and Head-OnDawn Foods' Bob Howland calls this: "Be the bringer of bad news." Howland joined Dawn Foods in 2019 to propel the 100-year-old baking ingredients company into its next 100 years. Before Howland, orders were only taken by hand. His "bad news" was that their future wasn't bright if they didn't become an agile organization. Digital transformation hit the baking industry, too.And he told the CFO that within his first few days on the job. Talk about early. But he also came up with a solution: to release a beta ecommerce site in six weeks built on composable architectures and get some results. That eventually became a full-blown solution in 22 weeks.As Bob said, "If something is broken, tell the people that should know right away. Then figure out what's the action and who should take it?""Broken" to a CFO typically boils down to one of two things: something is costing us (or will cost us) a lot of money with no return in the long run or competition is eating our lunch. Know what the problem is going in and get rid of the noise around it to focus your conversation with the CFO. Noise can be anything from emotion, to office politics, to vanity issues that don't get you closer to the heart of the problem.Find a Common LanguageThere's a reason I'm CEO and David Overmyer is Contentstack's CFO: Finance is not my area of expertise. But, here's the thing. We share a passion, which is scaling high-performing organizations in sustainable and purpose-filled ways. So, when we talk about allocating money, the underlying question isn't how much it will cost, but where will that spend take us?We focus on a few key metrics for business-as-usual meetings. Those include ARR, CAC, gross margins, and customer retention. When new opportunities arise, we agree on the overriding KPIs together and then dig deeper.Come up with a common language upfront. Don't risk derailing a meeting with jargon. Once questions like "what does that mean" start springing up, you've lost your way.Let me challenge you with one additional perspective on common language: It doesn't have to be about words or numbers. Values can take the lead.When March 2020 hit, a lot of companies responded with layoffs. Since David and I agreed when we first started working together that taking care of our people was our highest priority, we came up with creative solutions — executive pay cuts, investing in training and development — to pandemic problems. For us, brains and heart matter.Find (or Make) an AdvocateIf you're as lucky as I was with David, you may make an ally out of your CFO. I would go so far as calling him a mentor. But for most people, that's out of reach. In the podcast, Howland shared the golden question that opened the door toward marketing/finance partnership and transformation: "Who is the most trusted person on your team?"Howland turned that person into an e-commerce expert and an advocate. It took time and education. Mostly, it took enablement — sharing information and allowing him to come to his conclusions. Author Bernard Desmidt called this mindset "win with" vs. "win over" in CFO Magazine this year.Allowing this slow journey to unfold builds trust, which improves the relationship and, ultimately, the organization in the long run.I was lucky early in my career to participate in Crucial Conversations training. A lot of that training is reflected in this piece. In Crucial Conversations, opinions tend to differ, and the stakes and emotions are high. Conversations with finance are often like this.But if handled properly, these conversations can create breakthroughs that unlock the potential of people and organizations.

Aug 19, 2022

How Your Business Can Market With AR

Augmented reality (AR) is a set of technologies that superimpose digital data and images on the physical world. AR technology is used by businesses in many different industries and has a wide range of applications.  One of the most popular applications for this technology is in marketing. Businesses today can use AR to increase awareness of their brand by creating a variety of immersive and memorable digital experiences for their customers. As technology advances and powerful mobile devices become more ubiquitous, more businesses are beginning to incorporate AR into their marketing efforts, and the benefits of AR marketing are gaining greater recognition.  If you’re looking to grow your business in new ways, AR can be a highly effective and accessible tool, but it’s important to understand exactly what AR marketing is and how AR technology can fit into your branding.  What is AR Marketing?  AR marketing is defined as the strategic integration of AR experiences. It operates alone or in combination with other media to achieve overarching marketing goals by creating value for the brand, its stakeholders, and societies at large.  There are many content and marketing tools available to modern businesses, but not all are created equal, and it’s important to use methods that will fit well with your brand identity. The versatility of AR allows you to create fully customized digital experiences for your target customers and share them through a range of different mediums. Brands today are constantly exploring new applications for AR in their marketing, such as simulations that allow customers to “test” products virtually before they buy, or interactive virtual shopping assistants that can provide customers with more information about products. It’s critical to consider your brand goals and target audience when determining the optimal AR marketing tactics for your business.AR vs AI: What’s the Difference?  While augmented reality (AR) and artificial intelligence (AI) are commonly mistaken for one another, these two terms refer to different concepts and are far from interchangeable. AR deals with integrating digital content into real-world settings and AI refers to the simulation of human intelligence in machines.AR technology is typically geared at fostering interactions between people and computers, while AI is meant to help machines make decisions and solve problems without human assistance. Understanding the different applications of AR and AI can help you determine the best way to incorporate these technologies into your marketing. Which Should Your Business Use?  While AR and AI are very different technologies, there’s no need for your business to choose between them. Both technologies can be used as part of an effective content management system (CMS), but it’s important to understand their distinct functions.  AI is also useful for devising and planning effective marketing campaigns. Implementing AI into your marketing can help you more accurately analyze consumer behavior and predict which types of content will resonate with your target audience. AR technology is generally used to engage consumers directly and provide them with more exciting and immersive experiences.  These technologies can often work together in marketing, as AI can be used to improve the functionality of augmented reality applications. For example, integrating AI-driven data analytics into a virtual shopping assistant tool can help the program generate more personalized product suggestions for individual consumers.  AR and AI are both highly versatile and can benefit both traditional and headless content management systems, but the best way to apply these technologies in your marketing depends on your business's unique goals and brand identity. Where Can Businesses Use AR to Market?  When deciding on a medium for your marketing strategy, it’s always essential to consider the type of content you’ll be creating. Certain platforms are far more suitable than others for augmented reality marketing: The Metaverse  The Metaverse is defined as an integrated network of 3D virtual worlds that can be accessed through a virtual reality headset. It’s commonly associated with interactive multiplayer gaming but is also used to host virtual events like concerts and viewing parties for sporting competitions.  Because it’s accessed through virtual reality, the metaverse is ideal for supporting AR marketing. In this virtual environment, it’s far easier for brands to create fully immersive experiences for consumers. Some common AR marketing tactics for the metaverse include creating virtual venues where customers can gather and offering digital goods or collectibles that relate to your brand. AR Portals  AR portals allow you to create detailed virtual environments that consumers can access by scanning a code with their mobile devices. These portals are represented by physical doorways and can be placed in retail stores or other public spaces. Once they’ve “entered” the virtual portal on their phone, users can freely look around the environment as if they were physically standing there.  In marketing, these portals can be used to create virtual showrooms where consumers can preview your products in detail before they buy. They also provide people with a fun and interactive experience that helps familiarize them with your brand. VR Platforms   Several other virtual reality platforms can be effective mediums for AR marketing. Similar to the metaverse, these platforms provide immersive virtual environments where players can interact with each other using 3D character models. Using these platforms, businesses can create virtual locations where they can engage in real interactions with consumers. Some of the most popular standalone VR platforms include Oculus Mobile SDK, Tethered, SteamVR, PlayStation VR,  Open Source Virtual Reality (OSVR) and Windows Mixed Reality. These platforms can all be effective mediums for AR marketing, but not every platform works for every business. Choosing the right platform for your brand can help ensure that your content reaches your target audience and conveys your intended message.Is AR the Future of Marketing? Augmented Reality has quickly become popular in marketing because of its ability to combine traditional advertising methods with immersive experiences powered by new technology. This rapid growth has led many people to wonder about the role of AR in the future of marketing.  While there is some concern to be had about technologies like AR and AI replacing traditional jobs in marketing, these technologies also have the potential to make a positive impact on the industry. By providing businesses with a new way to engage people, AR can help marketers obtain key insights into consumer behavior and enable them to create a wider variety of exciting content for their brand.

Aug 19, 2022

How Augmented Reality Is Changing Our Lives

Augmented reality (AR) is a digital experience that combines real-world surroundings with computer-generated sensory input, like sound, graphics or video. AR differs from other digital experiences, like artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR), in that it doesn't create a completely separate digital world. Instead, AR enhances real-world surroundings by adding digital elements like computer graphics, interactive experiences and information.AR became popular in the 2010s with the release of devices like Google Glass, Microsoft HoloLens and even smartphones with sensors that could track the user’s position and orientation, allowing them to view digital content layered on top of their real-world surroundings. This could be anything from a map overlay to an animated character that interacts with the individual.Since its inception, AR has found several applications in fields like marketing, entertainment and even education. Let's take a look at some of the ways AR is already changing our everyday lives.How AR Is Changing Our Personal LivesAugmented reality is affecting our personal lives by giving us digital experiences in the real world and changing the way we interact with technology.In the past, if you wanted to use a digital device, you had to sit in front of a computer or hold a smartphone in your hand. But with an AR headset, digital content can be overlaid onto the real world around you, so you can interact with it naturally. For example, you can use AR to see turn-by-turn directions while you're driving, or get information about the products you're looking at in a store.These experiences are not only more convenient but also more immersive and engaging. And as AR technology continues to evolve, you can expect to see even more ways that it will change your life.Social InteractionsActivities such as conducting meetings, attending classes or playing games with friends are all now possible through AR, giving people new ways to bond and make friends from all over the globe.AR technology can also be used to create more immersive experiences at events like concerts, sporting events and even theme parks by giving attendees the ability to see interactive digital content that enhances their surroundings.How We Consume MediaAR is also changing the way we watch television and movies. For instance, the popular show “Stranger Things” has used AR to let viewers explore the show's setting, and the movie “Ready Player One” features a number of scenes that take place in an immersive virtual world.As AR technology continues to develop, you can expect to see even more movies and TV shows that make use of it. How We Purchase ProductsConsumers are also using AR to get more information about the products they're interested in. For example, IKEA Place is an app that lets users see how furniture would look in their homes before they buy it.This type of AR experience is not only convenient but it can also help people make better purchasing decisions by allowing them to see how a product will look and fit in their space.Other retailers are also starting to experiment with AR shopping experiences. For example, Sephora has an app called Sephora Virtual Artist that lets users try on makeup by using facial recognition technology.Augmented reality can be used to track consumer behavior, which can help businesses better understand how buyers interact with their products and services. This allows businesses to customize and maintain content through content management systems based on the information they collect from AR.These new shopping experiences made possible by AR are likely to change the way you shop in the future by making it easier to purchase products.How AR Is Changing Our Professional LivesAugmented reality is not only changing businesses and consumers but also the way we work. AR will affect many professions and create new opportunities for fields related to marketing, data analysis and technical support.AR MarketingAs businesses try to engage with consumers in new and innovative ways, AR provides a unique opportunity for marketers.One way is by changing the strategies marketers use for content marketing and traditional advertising. For instance, rather than using TV or radio commercials, businesses can now use AR to create interactive experiences that allow customers to try out products before they buy them. This gives customers a more realistic idea of what they're buying and can help increase sales.AR also changes the way marketers view their job. Traditionally, marketers have been responsible for creating ads and other promotional materials. With AR they can also create interactive experiences that help customers learn about products and services. This means that marketers need to be more creative and have a better understanding of how technology works.Understandably, some people may worry that with artificial intelligence, jobs will be replaced by computer software or machines. However, with AR, this is not the case. There will be more opportunities for marketers since businesses will need individuals who can create unique AR experiences for their customers.Data and Product VisualizationsAs AR technology develops, it will become increasingly important for data analysts and product managers to be able to visualize data in new and innovative ways.AR provides the ability to view data in a three-dimensional space, which can help people better understand complex concepts. AR can also be used to create simulations that allow people to test products before they are released. This can help businesses save time and money by identifying potential problems early on.Increased Tech Literacy Demands From EmployersThe advancement of technology like artificial intelligence (AI) and augmented reality (AR) is increasing demand for workers who have strong skills in using technology to do their jobs.With the rise of AR, it is more important than ever for workers to be able to use technology to its full potential to keep up with the demands of the workplace.