Look around as you walk in your city. Wherever you are it is more than likely that you see people with a cell phone in their hands. Cell phones have become an extension of ourselves, and out the myriad of applications existing we have surely found a few that fit our needs (and whims).
Any Municipality in basically any part of the world can count on its citizens having a cell phone. There are actually more cell phones than people (which does not mean that any person has a cell phone) and the number of smartphones, keeps growing exponentially.
Smart phones are the key to access the internet and the web, with its unlimited bounty of data, information and services.
Augmented reality is now … reality in several domains, from airplanes maintenance to advanced surgery, and of course -look at Pokemon Go- in entertainment. Education is starting to take advantage of augmented reality as well as retail shops.
In many cities it is possible to point the smartphone camera to a building, a square, a marketplace and see, overimposed on the image you see with your eyes, information pushed on the screen.
As technology progresses the blending of information and real images of the city will become seamless.
A Municipality can exploit augmented reality to deliver information to citizens, as many other players in the city arena.
However, a smartphone screen has very little resemblace with a totem or with a vidiwall. It is personal and the cellphone to which it is attached knows a lot about its owner. This means that the information pushed from the environment to the screen can be intercepted, filtered, rendered in different ways and combined with others making them “our information”.
My bet is that we are going to see a tremendous advance of personal augmented reality in the next decade. Our smartphone, tablet and the wearables that will find a success in the market will become smart interfaces through which we will perceive the city. Most likely the seamless link between us and our very personal smart city.