In the words of Dave Di Veroli, head of strategy and innovation at VMLY&R,
“AR is no longer a niche. It’s mainstream, and it’s something that every single brand will need to figure out how they’re going to use it.”
Given the recent global scenario where the whole world has come to a halt, digital tech has proven to be a powerful force both to survive and thrive amidst the chaos and changing conditions, no matter the nature of disruption.
The year 2020 witnessed unprecedented growth in augmented reality. The immersive tech’s valued at over $15 billion and the number of AR users is estimated to grow up to 2 billion by 2024.
Augmented reality is a future-oriented technology that provides an interactive, immersive, and highly visual experience to the viewer by superimposing digital world information upon the real world of the viewer. AR has wide-scale applications, and in the right hands, ensures the fastest and enhanced ROI.
AR blurs the line between the real and the virtual by blending interactive visuals into the real-world environment. Although, the whole AR journey isn’t as smooth as it looks. It has its own challenges and problems. AR content needs to be adaptable and flexible to look natural in any kind of unpredictable real-world environment generated by the user’s smartphone camera, unlike virtual reality where the 3D content remains consistent. In movies and TV shows, you get to spend hours generating each frame, but with real-time AR experience, you have only 16 milliseconds to render the 3D content.
Despite the challenges, AR is firmly finding its feet and by having a look at the current trends in augmented reality, one can get a pretty clear idea about its wide-scale applications.
Trend #1: AR In Retail & E-commerce
Retail & E-commerce has benefitted first-hand from augmented reality and has become a battleground for AR as brands and companies are sweating it out to compete with each other based on this lifelike technology’s application. Let’s take a look at some of the successful implementations of AR in Retail & E-commerce:
There’s a reason why everyone knows the name Amazon. The reason being their ability to fast-recognize the trends and working on its implementation. With AR, Amazon provides a viewer with an enhanced shopping experience. Using one’s smartphone device camera, a customer can easily view the products in 3D, in hyper-reality. This improved product visualization and ‘try-before-you-buy’ feature, has already shown an 11% increase in the conversion rate, with customers spending almost 3 times more than they did earlier.
Apart from this, virtual fitting rooms have also made the whole shopping experience much more convenient for the customer. A customer can buy products right from the comfort of their homes without having to sacrifice the hands-on feel.
Nike has constantly been harnessing the power of AR and the newest way of incorporating this immersive tech into their footwear has come in the form of “Nike Fit.” This is a foot measuring feature which allows a customer to measure the size of their feet as accurately as possible. This feature has been successfully implemented both on the app as well as in-store. Using this feature, a customer needs to scan for the right shoe size just once.
This information is then stored in the customer’s ‘NikePlus’ profile and can be accessed anytime for future shopping.
This feature has not only made the shopping experience convenient but also, provides the customers with higher product satisfaction. By getting an accurate measure of one’s feet, a customer gets the right pair of footwear which shall ensure that there will be fewer returns.
With its highly immersive visual experience, AR has massively reduced the guesswork and unsurety involved in the shopping-decision making, especially in the case of online shopping. This doesn’t just apply to apparel. IKEA, a multinational furniture company has come up with its innovative AR implementation that has changed the whole furniture and appliance shopping experience.
IKEA’s app allows customers to view furniture and other products in their own surroundings using AR. This allows a comprehensive look at the products, from all angles and a customer can make sure that it’s the right fit for them before buying.
AR-application is not only limited to the online experience. For the in-store AR experience, smart mirrors and RFID tags make sure that a customer leaves with a memorable experience.
With its highly accurate and precise ability to approximate the real world, AR has ensured a firm grip over the customer’s mind. AR is an ever-developing technology and it won’t be wrong to say that as AR matures, the comfort and convenience of the users will only increase.
Trend #2: AR in Navigation
Augmented Reality has immense scope when it comes to navigation. AR can be used to solve several long-standing problems with traditional navigation.
Apple recently introduced a powerful tool for outdoor AR navigation called Geo Tracking, which utilizes street view to ensure the best positioning.
Google’s AR Live View walking directions for Google Maps is another example of AR enabling precise and accurate navigation. With its ability to overlay landmarks and an expansion of Live View to more cities, AR has changed the whole perception of navigation.
Apart from this, AR also enhances In-store navigation, which stands to improve greatly from advances in this immersive tech. This allows a customer to find exactly what they need.
To enhance this experience, several tools can be used like QR codes, bluetooth beacons, ceiling antennas, etc.
Trend #3: AR in Events & Tradeshows
AR in Events & Tradeshows creates highly interactive and engaging experiences. With its 3D visualization, AR comprehends the whole idea of the brands and companies in a much ideal way, which allows for better bonding and connection with the viewers. This can be done via WebAR or dedicated apps.
Expodle × XS Worldwide × BEML:
Expoodle and XS WORLDWIDE joined hands for the 7th International Military-Technical Forum “ARMY 2021” organized at the Patriot Expo(Moscow Region) to deliver an AR experience for BEML. The AR experience created for BEML’s Arjun ARRV tank proved to be a resounding success at the Indian Pavilion and the two together paved the way for a new-age immersive experience resulting in enhanced engagement and multifold visitor interaction.
Here’s a look at the user experience on the show floor:
Trend #4: AR IN SPORTS
Augmented reality has entered the sports arena too, and with its 3D rendition and immersive visual experience, it has already shown fruitful results. AR can be used to create avatars of sports players and the viewers can interact with these avatars to get a feeling of actually getting to talk to their favorite players and idols. One of the best parts about an AR experience is that it is easily accessible and can be experienced using a simple smartphone device.
One of the best and latest examples of AR in sports events is Volkswagen’s new ID.4. Volkswagen of America partnered with U.S Soccer to provide an exciting fan experience to all the soccer fans, while at the same time promoting their newly launched car.
This WebAR experience allowed the fans to check out the new ID.4 electric car and experience the U.S Soccer event via the car. All a user needed to do was to scan a QR code placed on the car and just sit back and witness the magical WebAR experience.
The animation features the players from the U.S National Soccer Team, both men and women, and the animation depicts them celebrating after scoring a goal.
Future of Augmented Reality
The future of augmented reality can be viewed with a perspective that AR in itself is the future of all tech, marketing, and advertising. Its value is expected to rise to $25 billion by 2025, and the more people become aware of it, the more the number of AR users will rise.
AR-application allows your company/brand to enter the market early and stay at the forefront of the competition.
Where Does Expoodle Come In?
AR was considered to be the wine in Eiffel Tower, but we are planning to make it simple, affordable, and accessible to all the brands and companies who can in turn provide this to the end customers.
Augment towards the limitless ’blurring the lines’ of virtual and real. To improve your business outcomes and stand out among your competitors, now’s the time to get your hands on AR.
Expoodle applies digital innovations to the physical world to make the whole immersive experience unforgettable. With our innovative marketing solutions, we turn possibility into reality.
Expoodle focuses on democratizing the AR space with its experiential marketing solutions.
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