The BBM and Wikitude integration begins at 1:51.
Back at BlackBerry World, we saw the beginnings of Wikitude with BlackBerry Messenger integration and while we didn’t say it at the time, this is going to be a huge shift in how BBM is used. For those who don’t know, Wikitude is a company that specializes in augmented reality apps and services, and at BBWC they announced they will be preloaded on upcoming BlackBerry devices. At the conference, we were given a first look at BBM in Augmented Reality on the Bold Touch 9900, and the implications are huge for BBM and how people socialize on their mobile.
Consider how BBM is used now: you meet someone in real life or online, talk to them, find out they have a BlackBerry, and add them. After all that, you have to both pull out your devices and sit there scanning each other, or send the PINs and hope for confirmation. It’s fairly quick but it could be faster, and discovering who uses BBM isn’t simple. To find more BBM friends, you can continue this process, or begin posting your PIN on Facebook and websites you trust, in the hopes that someone will add you. What’s missing is the ability to more easily discover who uses BBM and add them with context that makes sense.
With Augmented Reality, you’re going to be able to discover new BBM friends and add them, with the most important context of all: who is close to me. People love BBM and they’re getting increasingly comfortable adding strangers. I’ve personally started posting my PIN on certain websites because I’m comfortable with the crowd and want to chat off of the website in something more private. With augmented reality, RIM now has a huge and disruptive location-based social network built into their devices. The use cases are interesting too. Here are some off the top of my head:
- You’re at a conference and you want to add everyone to the conference BBM group.
- You’re at a bar and want to add guys/girls that you want to strike up a chat with and get to know each other.
- Walking past a restaurant you’ve always been interested in and someone inside has BBM, add them and message for a review.
- Somebody has BBM and a cool bike, you spot it and ask where they got it.
I’m sure a lot of people are saying: “I don’t want strangers messaging me.” First, I’m sure there are going to be privacy controls and second, get over it. This new way of socializing on our mobile devices is going to be game changing. We’ve said it before, but the criteria for a killer and disruptive app is that it must get you laid or paid. Location aware BBM does both of those. Just wait and see.