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2012 - New year, Big things

01 Jan 12

This month, the team from Social Media NZ looks at how augmented reality will help the rebuilding of Christchurch, AND ASKS "Will we see more viral videos from NZ” and CHECKS OUT the fancy Nokia N9 phone.
How augmented reality will help rebuild Christchurch
In 2010 and 2011, Christchurch was hit by earthquakes that significantly changed the face of the city’s architecture forever. Latest reports list around 500 buildings that have been destroyed or are scheduled for demolition. For residents of Canterbury it is important to have a way of both remembering what once was and input into what will be.
Canterbury University and HIT Lab (Human Interface Technology Laboratory) have developed an augmented reality program that allows people to view both the past and future of their city. Using an Android mobile phone people can walk around the city and see life-sized virtual models of what the buildings looked like on site before they were demolished, and see pictures and written information. Hundreds of 3D models of key city buildings have been made available from architect Jason Mill of ZNO, while the Christchurch City Council and Historic Places Trust have provided photographs and building histories.
CityViewAR is based on the HIT Lab NZ Android AR platform which uses the GPS and compass sensors in smartphones to enable virtual information to be overlaid on the real world. The software has previously used for showing individual buildings, but this is the first time that it has been used to show dozens of buildings at once, and the first time in the world that augmented reality has been used for earthquake reconstruction.
What is more interesting is the future development planned. Added functionality will allow users to add their own feedback on the buildings shown, so architects and urban planners can get input from the public about proposed designs. Additional historical data could be included to allow people to go back in time and see what used to be at locations 50 or 100 years ago. Ongoing research could lead to a mobile AR platform that could be quickly deployed in response to a natural disaster and provide invaluable on-site information.
The program is also now available for download on iPhones. The iPhone version was launched at Cashel Mall’s container shops in early December. The Android version can be downloaded from – those not in Christchurch can still view the application as ‘fake’ GPS data can be sent.
So what do you think of augmented reality – is it a passing fad or will it stay?
Will we see more viral videos from NZ?
By Charles Mabbett
Who would have guessed that giving away ghost chips could save lives? The people behind the Legend don’t drink and drive advert could not in their wildest dreams have expected it to have become such a runaway hit.
That’s because the Land Transport Safety Authority advert aimed at young Maori male drivers (and others) has gone viral, taken on a life of its own and become a New Zealand internet meme.
Not only has it nailed its target demographic, it has become a popular cultural touchstone. The over 1,200,000 views on YouTube since it was posted on October 20 illustrate just how wildly popular it has become.
Designed by Clemenger BBDO and directed by Steve Ayson, the Legend ad was first screened on television before the Rugby World Cup final last month. Its success is in part due to the different approach taken from the usual menu of don’t drink and drive themes that we have become accustomed to.
This time shock and horror are out. Instead the focus is on making the right choice – by "internalising a complicated situation” (another phrase that has also become a mini-meme) – a choice that doesn’t result in being haunted by a dead mate and his ghost chips.
Like other spontaneous New Zealand internet memes including Always Blow on the Pie and Nek Minnit, ghost chips are now part of the country’s vernacular.
What do you think; will we see more of these sort memes this year?
Nokia N9 Impression
By John Lai
We had the opportunity to get our sweaty mitts on a Nokia N9 and it really got me oohing and aahing. Before I go into details, I want to let you know straight off the bat that I am no expert on mobile phone reviewing but I will share my impressions, especially about the social media features of the new phone. (We will have other reviews in upcoming posts – one each from an expert and a regular user). With that disclaimer out of the way, here are my first impressions.
As an original iPhone user, I’ve always thought I would never explore other phones on the market. But my job has successfully taken me out of that matrix and I’ve grown to appreciate what all phones are trying to do. The N9 had me appreciating the touch screen again as I am a current Blackberry user (cue the jaw drop).
The N9 is a pleasantly designed phone. It comes in four colours – blue, white, black and pink. When I first fired up the device, I didn’t know what to expect. The reason I say this is because after having the iPhone, it’s hard to admit that other phones could be better.
I was presented with a nice interface that goes by the name of Meego, a Linux OS. It just means now this will be the one and only phone that is Nokia inside and out. Moving forward, Microsoft and Nokia will partner up on future phones with software by Microsoft and hardware by Nokia.
What I caught myself trying to find was the home screen. Like most phones I’ve come across, all have the ‘return home’ button, but this phone does not have that option. This phone does not have any buttons at all, only a full touch screen UI, which could cause some confusion to new users. It comes with an 8MP camera, something that I miss on my Blackberry where the camera is only a measly 3 megapixels.
Built-in NFC technology is the stand-out feature. NFC technology has created quite a buzz in the mobile industry, especially with Google announcing their Google Wallet feature that allows built-in NFC technology phones to make money purchases over an NFC reader. We saw a glimpse of NFC in action at the Rugby World Cup stadiums last year when Mastercard implemented their PayPass initiative. But until we see a significant take up, nothing dramatic along those lines will happen here because Efptos still rules. I was shown the phone’s NFC capabilities with one of the New Zealand Nokia team members using the phone and the Nokia Play 360 device. With just a magic wave on the 360 device, I could play music from my N9 wirelessly. Beat that Apple TV!
Now to the important part of the phone – the social networking features. The N9 comes with built-in support for almost every social networking service. Well, almost all. It has the big ones – Facebook, Twitter, Skype and YouTube. One feature that  is pretty neat is the syncing of your Facebook and Skype to the phone’s contact list. It means you can Skype a person directly without opening your Skype application. If the person has a Facebook account already synced up, you can send a chat message through your contact list.
The N9 has a notification feed screen, which allows users to browse what is going on in their online socialsphere. Good to see Nokia has hardcore social network users in mind here.
The N9 aims for the high end user who is able to afford the NZ$999 price. It is only available via Vodafone NZ.
The overall impression is a positive one. Would I buy it? Yes, I would. Between the iPhone 4S and the N9, which would I choose? I can’t really. Both bring their own uniqueness to the table. So who else has got the N9 on their wishlist?
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