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How AR Can Help YOUR Business

AR (Augmented Reality) is now one of the most-talked about features of modern phones and headsets, and is becoming more visible in our day-to-day lives as we discover practical, real life uses for the technology. AR is no longer seen a mere gimmick, and as such it is increasingly being utilised by various industries to enhance experiences and attract new people to their brands and applications.

Let’s take a look into some of the most compelling uses of Augmented Reality in the Business world:

 

Advertising

Augmented Reality is already in regular use throughout social media, and there have been some really stand-out advertising campaigns designed and developed using AR. Here are some of the examples that really inspired us at ICE:

• Mobile apps are beginning to include Augmented Reality adverts where you can view products or experiences in an immersive way – see this great example of an advert where you can try on a Fossil watch during an advert interstitial.

Paramount have created their own AR app for upcoming films to bring movie posters to life, and include exclusive app-only content for users.

Snapchat have included various filters and experiences that users can share with their friends/family, and which are now commonly used social media interactions. However, they’re not only using AR for social media, but also in entirely new storytelling experiences and docu-series episodes.

New York Times have been creating various augmented and virtual reality experiences for their readers to add different and engaging content to their usual text-based news posts.

• MPL Scan for MusicPlanet Live – This dedicated AR app was developed here at ICE, and allows artists and promoters to share exclusive content (such as new music videos or tour advertisements) through their printed artwork to reach fans directly. Take a look on the iOS or Play Store.

Sometimes this kind of platform can give brands an easier way to develop and improve their user experience, putting the action right in the hands of the consumer. This then allows them to measure the reach of their advertising campaigns with analytics through the number of people using their AR offering and following through on their call to action.

Advertising using AR is a new means of understanding consumers, alongside more traditional print and digital media – it can bring the two to life and combine them in many new and different ways. The benefit of having a mix of different media being incorporated into AR experiences is that the customer understanding of the technology is improved by the use of media that they are already familiar with.

 

Use of AR in Retail/in the home

There has been a real buzz in the retail environment for Augmented Reality – with various collaboration events between hardware manufacturers and brands to promote brand awareness and products while also demonstrating new technologies. This has benefits not only for those involved in creating the AR experience, it also wows customers or visitors to the store, giving them a reason to come back and/or tell their friends or family about the experience they had.
The main point of consideration for retail use is making something that benefits the customer; often for clothing or furniture, this involves seeing the product in use or in situ in its intended environment. This doesn’t however limit what’s possible with augmented reality, as the technology can be used to create experiences that are only possible in 3D or at room-scale.

A great example is Wal-Mart’s use of AR as a barcode scanner/price comparison tool. Moschino & H&M also made use of the Magic Leap One Headset to enhance a fashion show experience in New York City.

Being able to reach users remotely is also a great opportunity for businesses to improve their brand experience, allowing customers to engage with them from the comfort of their home in a way which replicates or improves upon a real-life experience. A great example of this has been the Ikea Place app: a simple way to explore the Ikea catalogue and also see how products look in your home. The age-old “will it fit in this space?” question is swiftly answered by a virtual sofa or chest of drawers being slid virtually into place, with no tape measures required.

 

Use of AR within organisations

The ability to show a product or diagram to scale should not be overlooked – it takes out a lot of the guesswork and assumption involved in figuring out how something looks in the real world – not just on a desktop computer screen in a 3D program.

Employee training with AR – often dubbed ‘eLearning’ – has far-reaching appeal through the ‘gamification’ of common tasks or media that we are now used to. But let’s take a step back here: what is ‘gamification’ and why would it appeal to an organisation? Gamification is a term for the application of gaming concepts to experiences which are not games in order to drive desired behaviour from an audience. Often this concept applies to making something fun, which in turn encourages people to use it.

The possibilities for use of AR within different areas of an organisation are almost limitless – a blank wall could become a live feed of the company social media account, new products could be showcased virtually, using the power of the user’s phone and camera to place virtual objects on the floor or on surfaces around them.

As an example, Augmented Reality has been embraced across various divisions of the automotive industry, where vehicles can be seen virtually on a showroom floor, bypassing the need to transport the physical vehicle to the showroom and saving time and money. Users can walk around and inspect the vehicles at their leisure, getting a feel for the interior by opening the doors and peering inside as if the car was really there. The manufacturing industry has also benefitted from visualising large or complicated CAD models in AR, where they can be inspected and reviewed at the exact scale they would be in the real world, enabling a greater understanding of their physical form and structure before a prototype is built.

 

End note

We may still be a little way off of our entire work stations and shopping experiences becoming Augmented Reality desks and stores, but the current uses of AR are showing the real potential of how this technology can improve our interactions with products and everyday experiences.

Now is a better time than ever to look into what AR can do for your business: with the capabilities of AR now being available to over 11,000 different mobile devices and counting, it’s easier than ever to reach a wider audience and increase your impact by harnessing the power of Augmented Reality.

"Now is a better time than ever to look into what AR can do for your business"
By Rob Farthing
Posted: 9th November 2018
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