Now is the right time for mobile Augmented Reality (AR) apps
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Scenario one: I have two friends in their late 50s, home on quarantine in the UK. As they need exercise, it is a wonderful time for them to update their old Nordic cross-track system.  They eyeballed the website, thought it was the same footprint and weight as the existing one that was upstairs in their home and placed the order.

The delivery man left the 100kg+ package next to their doorstep doing social distancing properly. Not only is it not portable but had to be constructed piece by piece in their living room as they could not carry the bigger parts up the stairs.

Scenario two: Friends who are seasoned travelers with wandering feet want to go travelling once quarantine is over. They want to go to a resort in Cabo San Lucas, but they cannot find a good travelogue of experiences and dining options at the resort other than Yelp or TripAdvisor with very two-dimensional reviews.

As you can see from the recent article in The Times, a number of people are taking this time to plan where they want to go.

These are two examples of why now is the time for implementing a mobile AR app solution.

Invest Now in AR

At this moment you have a captive audience with more time on their hands than normal, and eager to consume.  And many are building home offices or making medium-term travel plans and need more than what a flat website experience offers them.

So now is the time for investment in augmented reality mobile apps.  How many firms are seeing this and what has been their experience?

Based on the tech buyer feedback from the ongoing global Ecosystm Mobility Study:

  • Only about 1% of organisations have a mobile AR app, with another 5% evaluating it in 2020
  • Average current implementations tend to look at a CapEx spend of about 45% – however, those who are planning to implement a mobile AR app expect to pay about 53% CapEx
  • 7 out of 10 organisations say that implementation cost was less than US$10,000
  • 8 out of 10 organisations say the implementation took more than 3 months (with 4 out of 10 saying it took 6 months to a year)
Extending to digital experience

Traditional print publications already understand the need to extend the digital experience for readers. The New York Times has been rethinking how it can connect the print and digital reading experiences. In partnership with Google Lens, smartphone users can access additional information online that corresponds to the print version of their New York Times Magazine. In the next three months, all New York Times Magazines will have some features that are Google Lens-enabled.

It is a great moment for both product and experiential marketers to be taking advantage of time at home by using an augmented reality mobile apps to bring the product into the home or home office, and the experience to life in your own kitchen or living room. And in return, getting great real-time feedback on what customers are looking for.

We’ve all seen the demo of the IKEA mobile app on where to place your couch.  But product location placement is missing from any number of key categories. This is including computer monitors and TVs, as well as office furniture and professional lighting equipment for that better quality of video con-call.

What other kinds of market engagement uses are there?
Packaging links to AR

Create custom “trackers”, either printed or on-screen icons, when scanned with a white labeled app to trigger a video or a 3D model overlaid on the real world.  Design a scannable package with customer experience in mind and include tracking engagement and sharing links.  Set up an AR trigger based on a packaging feature and invite the customer to scan the same with their phones. Note that you can also add AR as a feature into your existing Android or IOS app.  Dependency on dedicated app or app plug-ins is gone. Brands can now leverage the potential offered by augmented reality using just a URL. Users can open the URL in any mobile-based browser and augment interactive digital content on their camera view.

Reverse product placement

As the opposite of how locations tried to link to Pokemon Go, your product could be an element in a popular Augmented Reality game. It could attract new customers who would link to more AR provided information on the product.

Weather as a factor

These types of apps can show what the weather may be like at a location.  Possible app usage for showing residential real estate. It could show impact in a flood zone as to how much water may enter the area.  Or it can warn people on urgent physical issues.

Practical advice before consumption

Too much time on your hands and hate your hair?  See what the color will look like before you make a hair color mistake.  Perhaps more AI than AR. Note that right now you may be able to buy hair dye. But you will likely not have access to the person who can repair any mistakes you make at this point. Think carefully.

Final Thoughts

Now is this time to engage bored consumers and eager potential users.  Take advantage of what this uncertain time can bring to your firm. Use Augmented Reality as a benefit to create value and content stickiness for your customers.

 

 

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Dr. Alea Fairchild is a technology commentator and infrastructure specialist, Alea covers the convergence of technology in the cloud, mobile and social spaces. She has a passion for the design and optimisation of physical spaces, exploring how technology can enhance user experiences. Alea helps global enterprises profit from digital process redesign. Outside of her work with Ecosystm, Alea is a Research Fellow at The Constantia Institute, which is a Brussels-based technology policy think-tank, focusing on innovation and technological advances and their impact on industry and society. She also teaches graduate courses in technology marketing at KU Leuven in Belgium. Alea received her Doctorate in Applied Economics from Univ. Hasselt in Belgium based on her research in the area of banking and technology. She also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Business Management and Marketing from Cornell University.


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