Mary is a freelance lifestyle writer and photographer. She runs a blog, An Eye Behind, that focuses on the secret life of London.
From potted plants to organic allotments lined with fresh herbs and root veggies, gardening has become a popular pastime for many during the lockdown. As the sun rises to shine for another spring growing season, it’s time to pull out those green fingers once again and get back into the garden.
As the summer looms, many gardening fanatics are planning new landscaping projects, a season of growing and covid-friendly backyard set-ups for a busy summer outdoors.
However, the way we garden could be about to change. As the world continues to digitalise and a new digital-native consumer market arises, gardening is just one of the past times that is becoming a virtual experience. Say hello to augmented reality, the new technological tool that is revolutionising the gardening world. With the ability to turn the real into the virtual and enhance our surroundings, AR allows us to plan landscapes on our smartphone, support and aid crop growth with revolutionary crop monitoring and most importantly encourage young and budding green fingers to join the world of gardening.
Has Gardening Become A Hobby Of The Past?
Developing green fingers could soon become a thing of the past without a significant transformation of the gardening industry. As Millennials and even Gen Z have now become some of the primary consumers across the high-street market, industries such as gardening that seem so far away from the new digital world have begun to be forgotten.
A recent Medium article claimed that over 100 years ago 50% of Americans were engaged in at least one form of agriculture, today that number has fallen to 2% due to a decline in both appreciation and awareness from the younger generation.
As the learning landscape for children has become more and more digitalised, CEO of the New York Food Bank, Margaret Purvis, made a point in saying that “The sad reality is that many children don’t know where their food comes from. In fact, many of them think food originates at the grocery store”.
It’s true, many of the younger generations are simply not interested in the growing of vegetables, cutting lawns and landscaping their back yard. Without change, gardening would surely sink into old age with the rest of its prime generation.
However, as AR begins to make its way into the gardening world, all may not be lost. With new apps surfacing and interactive marketing techniques hitting the industry, technology could rejuvenate the hobby that was once popular across the globe and bring it into the 21st century.
How Is AR Technology Revolutionising Gardening?
As stated in the graph above, we are currently seeing a constant increase in the use of both augmented reality and virtual reality across a number of industries. The gardening industry is just one of these, slowly incorporating the digital world into its consumer market and opening the hobby up to a brand new digitally connected generation.
Augmented Reality revolutionises the way we view our landscapes by adding generated digital content to immerse consumers in what ‘could be’ if they were to transform their garden. By potentially adding new layers of interaction made possible with simply a pair of traditional eyeglasses like RayBan or Oakley and a specialised app to the current marketing experience, AR is continually boosting the industry and bringing back the excitement of interior and exterior design. Here are three new and exciting ways you can incorporate AR into your own gardening experience.
The Future Of The ‘Smart Garden’
Imagine this. Rows of freshly grown crops, allotments that feel like their sparkling and good quality produce raised and procured seamlessly through the touch of a button. If this sounds like your own agricultural dream then look no further.
New research from the Ibaraki University in Japan has found that augmented reality could be the turning point for the future of agriculture and gardening. Creating their perfect ‘smart garden,’ researchers claim that AR could assist amateur gardeners during crop cultivation, plant rearing and greenhouse growing, revolutionising gardening practices for the better.
A new form of Precision Agriculture (PA) has hit the gardening scene, whereby AR technology is able to track and assist the growth of the smart garden. Using real-time crop-based data, collected by sensors and information technology, AR is able to improvise and predict the cultivation process, therefore helping gardeners to create effective environments and feeding plans for their future produce.
Virtualised Landscaping Apps
Every industry now needs an app or one hundred to keep their digital shoppers happy and interested in their products. A recent Synchrony Study for instance states that 67% of modern shoppers now download and use both retail apps and digital assistants to aid their purchases.
With the introduction of augmented reality, gardening is also no stranger to this phenomenon. With AR-based gardening apps on the rise, developers have followed the path of the real estate industry, by creating a digital aid that allows the customer to build their garden virtually before buying a product.
Using an AR generated landscaping app, lavish landscaping projects are easily aided as landscape architects and maintenance providers are able to show off their finished ideas in real-time, simply by adding new layers of technological reality onto a simple picture of the starting point.
The use of AR technology has therefore become a magic marketing tool for large landscapers and leading architects, as customers are more likely to purchase their services when they are able to see both the before and the after before the project has even begun.
Using AR To Promote An Agricultural Future
One of the most important ways AR is revolutionising the agricultural scene is its effects on the younger generation. As new digital technologies arise, AR is helping to promote an agricultural future to a currently disinterested generation.
Using smart garden apps and virtual planning, younger green fingers are being educated on crop cultivation and the importance of maintaining the environment. This digital cross over between the natural and the technological could be a turning point for the entire gardening industry, boosting sales, agricultural employment and more importantly environmental awareness.