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Mobility force in Hong Kong

Stefan Hammond and Teresa Leung | Oct. 4, 2011
Hong Kong leads the way in developments like mobile advertising and AR.

The app--winner of the best marketing smartphone apps (technology) award in the 2011 Hong Kong Marketing Smartphone Apps Popularity Contest--will also display one of the five interactive Hennessy Mix 3D AR visuals showing different ways to enjoy Hennessy VSOP when a user points the viewer to a coaster or a Hennessy bottle.

For Hennessy, this app isn't just about re-branding and increasing sales but also helps reach the spirit drinkers in Hong Kong. "This is a niche market in Hong Kong--there are just about 70,000 [spirits] drinkers," said Chiu. "In three months after the app became available, users have collected 200,000 Hennessy Mix virtual stamps--this is a CRM boost for Hennessy."

Another one of the firm's mobile apps ties into the 39th Hong Kong Art Festival. Dubbed 'Hong Kong Art Festival on the Go', the app is simple but allows 15 people to plan when and what to see during the event and users to share their planners to Facebook, Twitter or via e-mail, said Chiu. The app--winner of Best Marketing Smartphone Apps (Creativity) Award in the 2011 Hong Kong Marketing Smartphone Apps Popularity Contest--supports motion-based navigation and provides the most updated seat availability charts, videos, photos, and other program information, Chiu added.

AR still pricey

The cost of building an AR-based mobile app ranges from HK$200,000 to $5 million, according to Chiu. An app supported by AR browser technology like Discover Hong Kong City Walk-- built for the Hong Kong Tourism Board--costs about HK$200,000 while a complex betting app for the Hong Kong Jockey Club costs HK$2 million, he said.

According to De Passorio, AR browser technology that only allows you to overlay information onto the screen is inexpensive and easy to do, but AR vision that allows you to point your camera to recognize visuals is more costly. De Passorio pointed out that the entry cost of AR vision-based apps must drop to around HK$ 100,000 before they become widely adopted on not just mobile platforms but also on the Web and other environments like information kiosks.

"As feature-rich smartphones like iPhone and Android phones have only been available two or three years ago, we are still two years away from an AR-based mobile app uptake," De Passorio said.

He estimated that AR will also be deployed for e-commerce and m-commerce in the future. "For instance, retailers will deploy AR tech to allow consumers to see how they look with different styles of eyeglasses, jewelry items, or hats online or via smartphones," said De Passorio. "There are already companies deploying these technologies in-store in Hong Kong--this can be redeployed to mobile platforms."

Green Tomato

"Mobility's potential in the enterprise solution space arrived when the iPad came onto the scene, taking tablet-computing mainstream," said Sunny Kok, CEO of Hong Kong-based Green Tomato, winner of Red Herring Global 100 and Red Asia 100 awards, as well as Computerworld Hong Kong's Tech Company of the Year for 2011. "The early adoption in enterprise use has been for point-of-sale purposes: communication with consumers at the point of contact. This is happening at the retail level, and hospitals use [similar technology] in diagnostic sessions as well."

 

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