Beyond the hype: Augmented and Virtual Reality in 2018

With the recent launch of IOS11 by Apple and ARKit that comes with it, Apple opened the way for mainstream Augmented Reality. Despite the fact that the Iphone has a lower penetration rate that Android devices on a global scale, I believe the launch of ARKit and IOS11 will bring a boost to marketers seeing the potential benefits of bringing this technology in the mix. ARkit brings augmented reality to all of the more recent Iphone models, while Google’s platform Tango is only deployed on a limited number of devices.

There’s plenty of opportunity for retail to adopt Augmented Reality. A consumer today who is considering a product, could be pulled over the line by providing him or her with services that allow to visualise the product and inspect it from all angles or that allow them to see how the product could fit or be used projected in real life.

 

Ikea recently launched Place. An app that seamlessly integrate Ikea products into your home while you are looking through the camera of your mobile. It allows you to see if the item fits into your style or in the size of your home . Ikea had this type feature before but you needed the catalogue as a marker and the fitting wasn’t always flawless. Now through ARkit, the app understands the geometry of the room and perspective and then places the item perfectly.

 

 

The social platforms are also picking up AR. The camera feature in the facebook app is using AR for these funny masks or animations and Snap is launching their own 3D world lenses which could bring a new boost to the platform.

 

 

While we see obvious applications of putting AR at work, VR is another cookie. While the hardware and software platforms are producing not less then stunning experiences, everything will stand with the adoption of the headsets.

 

It is expected that the mass adoption of VR will go through mobile first. The platforms to do so are ready. We see VR video on youtube, 360° on Facebook and what not. The possibilities there are endless and retailers and brands could benefit big time from this on the condition they are able to get the headsets distributed.

 

As video is the absolute king for distributing content, we can start imagining how impactful interactive 3D video could become once the consumer is emerged in it. Shoppable VR experiences where we can bring the user a lot closer to and into the product or shopping environment. It needs no argument that Virtual Reality also has the potential to enrich the consumer experience in store, wether it is in the travel industry, home deco or DIY.

 

 

Prevision

Companies are starting to get their first tests on the water and see how these new technologies can either impact product knowledge consumers are craving for or enhance the consumer experience online or in store. The expectation is that these technologies will grow exponentially in the next years. AR because it will be widespread in our pockets, for VR we still need to see what the next generation headsets will bring.

 

Are you also looking at how these technologies could enhance experiences or services you bring to your consumers? We’d be happy to assist.

 

Tim Wolfs
Chief Digital Officer Europe