Mobile advertising solutions company TELiBrahma recently partnered with Times Home Affairs, the real estate supplement of The Times of India, to include 23 augmented reality print ads in a special real estate feature that ran over last weekend. Among the ads that were featured include ads for prominent real estate developers like Sobha Developers, ETA Star, Skylark, Maxworth, DS Max, HM Group, SJR Group, Gopalan Enterprises, Salarpuria & Sattva Group, Shriram, Goel Ganga, Oceans, Mahaveer (Reddy Constructions).

TELiBrahma offers a co-branded app with The Times of India (TOI) called Times intARact (a version of its intARact app), which allows readers to capture print ads, images, movie posters, brand logos, and texts featured in the Times groups newspapers, and use them to receive information and multimedia content. The co-branded app is available on iOS, Android, BlackBerry and various models of Nokia, Sony Mobile (previously Sony Ericsson), Motorola, LG and Samsung.

How do these ads work?

We tried the app on HTC Desire Z and an iPhone 4 and the functionality is quite similar to Google Goggles, except for the fact that it works only on select TELiBrahma-designated ads. One can capture the logo of any real estate developer mentioned above to browse through their ongoing projects and view the floor/legend plans & amenities present across all its existing real estate projects. One could also get their contact details and social media accounts (if any) or watch YouTube videos offering a walkthrough of that specific site. That being said, we are not sure how these videos are selected since we got an official video in one instance and a generic user video in another instance.

 

If you have an iOS/Android/BlackBerry or any of the compatible handsets mentioned above, you can capture the logo of Salarpuria Sattva below to have the same experience.

Challenges: While this marketing approach looks better than the QR code approach since it allows to users to capture the logos or any specific part of the ad rather than capturing a random picture (QR code), thereby enabling brand recall, we are skeptical on how many users will have the app installed or will go through the pain to download the app to experience it.

Also, it should be noted that this experience works only in designated advertisements and users are redirected to a generic app search interface in other cases.

Augmented Reality? We are also not too sure if it qualifies to be called an augmented reality app. Most definitions indicate that augmented reality is about superimposing graphics, audio and other multimedia elements in real-world, real-time setting.We feel that TELIBrahma’s apps are an updated version of QR codes that link physical/print content to multimedia content, but doesn’t necessarily deliver a sensory experience.

Other TELiBrahma Developments: In April 2012, TELiBrahma had partnered with Times Internet Limited (TIL) to deliver IPL video clips to mobile phones at TELiBrahma’s BluFi partner locations including Cafe Coffee Day, Crosswords, Nirulas, Spencers, Barista, Transit Lounges, Malls and select Railway stations. Before this, the company had collaborated with RailTel Corporation Of India to launch BluFi in the Bangalore railway station.

In November 2011, TELiBrahma had raised $5 million from Intel Capital, Inventus Capital Partners, and Ojas Venture Partners and had informed that it intends to use the money raised for global expansion and promotion of its new consumer services based on existing offerings – BluFi and intARact.