Board agrees to take shot on augmented reality advertising

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NAUGATUCK — Naugatuck officials have agreed to allow a West Hartford business to represent the borough when it comes to potential augmented reality advertising.

The Board of Mayor and Burgesses Feb. 4 approved an agreement with Nucleus Augmented Reality that grants the company exclusive authority to search for and negotiate potential augmented reality advertising in public spaces for the borough.

Augmented reality is the display of a digital image and data on a smartphone or headset superimposed over a real-world environment. One example of the use of augmented reality is the mobile game Pokémon Go.

Adam Reiser, director of business development for Nucleus Augmented Reality, believes this technology will grow and become more popular, which will open up the possibility for companies to advertise in augmented reality.

In January, Reiser made a proposal to the board, saying it’s important to get out in front of this burgeoning technology and for municipalities to take control over their property rights in augmented reality.

“We’re trying to protect the borough. We’re looking down the road,” Reiser said last week. “If we don’t do anything about this kind of stuff, Google, Facebook, those big tech companies are going to do it anyway. So regardless if we try to do anything or not, they’re going to do it anyway. So this is us trying.”

The borough board agreed.

“I think we have to look at this. No matter what we decide tonight, this is coming,” Burgess Charles Marenghi said. “What we’re doing tonight is putting ourselves in the position to be prepared for what is coming and it costs us nothing up front. I see no downside to this.”

Under the agreement, the borough will pay Nucleus Augmented Reality a 12% commission on any advertising revenue it generates for the borough. The company isn’t responsible for any taxes or fees charged by a third party and doesn’t guarantee the borough will make any money or be able to manage augmented reality content on its property, according to the contract.

The contract requires a 30-day cancelation notice to terminate the agreement for any reason at any time.

“It’s somewhat futuristic, but we have nothing to lose by seeking this new revenue opportunity,” Mayor N. Warren “Pete” Hess said. “I guess I would say I’m impressed with Adam Reiser and his efforts to spearhead this venture and I want to give him a shot.”