Friday, December 10, 2010

AA's New App


This week AA Travel revealed some good news and some bad news.

Consumers were contacted advising that some of their online information held by AA may had been breached. An unauthorised user has accessed individual consumers' email address, first name and password used on when registering for the previous 101 Must Do’s for Kiwi’s and/or Great Kiwi Road Trips campaigns. While any breach of online information is serious, the consequences appear to be relatively minor, with some consumers receiving spam email.

The AA having to communicate a possible security breach is a shame, especially in the same week of releasing an innovative new iPhone App. This is a week when the AA shouldn't be spooking its advertisers about technology;-)

We downloaded AA's new XplrNZ app a few days ago and in spite of being busy at the motel we have been giving AA's significant investment a test drive.

iPhone users will be drawn to the app by the innovative use of location based service technology that makes functionality very personalised. The big sell for the app is the use of "augmented reality" that allows users to view real-time pictures through their camera that is overlaid with clickable icons.

As an example, app users on the go will be able to park-up and view a picture of their immediate surroundings through their iPhone's camera. Clickable icons will appear that will allow users to access further information about nearby attractions and accommodation options. If an accommodation option is selected, users will have access to the information available on the website including pictures, descriptions, directions and "Been There" travel reviews. 

What is somewhat disappointing is that the app doesn't interface with AA's online reservation system. Users that select the "book" option will be given the option to phone, email or connect to the accommodation provider's website. 

Probably the most useful feature is the map function that will locate users and give clickable options of the surrounding area. Other options that successfully integrate location based services include access to AA's Great Kiwi Road Trips and 101 Must Do's.

Overall we reckon that the app is reasonably impressive. We spent a lot of time playing with the gimmickry of the augmented reality feature.

We wonder if AA's advertisers will appreciate the significance of the development and understand the concept? More importantly, will end users find the app useful in real-time and add value to AA's advertisers?

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