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RISMEDIA, April 25, 2011—Imagine releasing millions of butterflies into the sky and using your iPhone to catch them. Sounds a bit farfetched right? Well that’s exactly what Mobile Art Lab did when they released their iPhone application, iButterfly, in Japan. This app uses augmented reality to display different butterflies based on where you are, allows you to use the motion sensor on your phone to catch them and gives you different offers/coupons based on the butterflies you catch.

Augmented reality is a term used for when you are able to see a live, real world view through the camera lens on your mobile device which is then augmented by computer generated additions such as graphics or sounds. For example, in the case of the iButterfly app, in addition to everything around you, you would see animated butterflies floating across your screen. You would then be able to zoom in on them and ‘catch’ them by swiping at them with your phone.

The goal of Mobile Art Lab, who designed this app, was to “create visual methods of producing contents which are ‘more valuable and interesting to watch on mobile phones.’” The game starts with the premise that catching the butterflies is fun; once you have them they serve to provide beneficial information such as coupons which you can then collect and trade with friends. The combination of augmented reality, motion sensors, GPS and real world redeemable deals makes this an astoundingly engaging app.

So how does this apply to the real estate industry here in the U.S.? We are far from seeing apps like this that serve to engage consumers in a fun and entertaining way, but also provide them with very relevant real world content that they want. For example, giving home buyers the ability to point their phone at a building and see what apartments are available for sale within that building. That’s just the tip of the iceberg.

The bottom line is that consumers are not only going mobile and getting information in real time, but that is no longer enough. Now we need to find ways to provide consumers with real time and highly relevant information that meets their needs where they are physically standing and serves it to them on their mobile device in a manner that truly engages them visually.

To learn more about iButterfly, watch the video at:

For more information on how to make your real estate business mobile, please visit

Seth Kaplan is the president of Mobile Real Estate ID. Contact him directly at or, for more information, visit