Augmented Reality Hits Kenya’s Presidential Election


Barack Obama isn’t the only presidential incumbent to leverage mobile, social and digital technology in his re-election campaign. Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga is using augmented reality technology in his presidential re-election campaign’s mobile app.

The ‘Raila for President’ app, built by London based agency Blue Storm Solutions, includes information on the Kenyan election process, current news and videos, and advanced image recognition technology from Aurasma. The deal takes the UK-based brand into its 100th foreign territory with the Aurasma-enabled app to bring election posters and literature to life real-time, and encourage click-through to donate to the campaign.

With penetration of smartphones at 7% and growing fast in Kenya, Odinga’s campaign is looking to the African nation’s mobile-savvy influencers to help in his re-election bid, which has been challenged by charges of police harassment of the country’s ethnic minority population.[more]

“When Kenyans go to the polls to vote for their President, their future will be in their hands and so will their mobile phones,” stated Odinga. “By using Aurasma in our campaign app, we will be able to reach out to voters in a completely new way, making it easier for them to get information about the Presidential election process and my policies if elected. It is important to make politics accessible and satisfy Kenyan’s appetite for the latest technology and I am delighted to do both with the launch of this app.”

Aurasma uses advanced image and pattern recognition to blend real-world with interactive videos and animations called “Auras” that can be created for printed images, product packaging, clothing, physical places and development of original apps. Aim a phone at a building and it launches a video about that building; aim it at a newspaper picture and launch an interactive experience, as demoed in a video.

Since its launch in June 2011, Aurasma now has more than four million downloads, 400 Aurasma-enabled apps and 8,000 plus partners in retail, fashion, sport, automotive, education, advertising and publishing industries, all using the free technology in campaigns, on their products or embedded in applications. Aurasma is part of software company Autonomy, an HP Company.

“It is an honour to work with Prime Minister Raila and the Blue Storm Solutions team on this important project,” said Matt Mills, Head of Partnerships at Aurasma. “The Aurasma-enabled app is making it easier for voters to engage with Kenya’s democratic process. We are now working with 10,000 partners in over 100 countries worldwide and are absolutely delighted that our first ever partner in Kenya is none other than the Prime Minister himself.” 

While the world focused on the US Presidential election, Kenya, birthplace of President Obama’s father, is actively changing the way we interact with the physical world with tools based in a digital reality where augmenting daily activities is fast becoming the status quo.