Augmented Reality 101

By Joe Bilman, Chief Digital Officer, Harland Clarke Holdings
Published Tuesday, Nov 7, 2017

Augmented Reality 101

You might be familiar with Augmented Reality (AR) thanks to the worldwide phenomenon of Pokémon Go. By downloading an app, users are able to play a location-based game where they use their phones to capture Pikachu. Users walk around town, hold up their phones, and actually see virtual creatures in front of real world locations. Welcome to AR!

Simply put, AR blurs the lines between our real world and the virtual world. The technology uses a phone’s camera to add pretend objects to real-world situations.

Pokémon Go is a huge success, having been downloaded more than 750 million times and hitting $950M in revenue in 2016.1 The app actually became a fitness phenomenon (since users have to walk around to catch Pikachu) and also led to many memorable Pokémon Go fails.

Now, thanks to the release of the new Apple IOS 11 operating system and the creation of Apple’s ARKit (a set of tools that allow developers to build AR apps) the full power of AR is about to be unleased – and it’s not just for gaming anymore.

Night Sky allows users to point their phones at the sky and identifies planets, constellations and satellites in real time. Major League baseball is currently testing AR in their At Bat app, showing users real-time stats of the players on the field. The possibilities are limitless.

But there’s one segment that may benefit from AR the fastest – furniture shoppers. According to research from Ikea:

  • 14% of customers have purchased the wrong sized furniture for their rooms;
  • 70% say they do not know how big their homes are, and
  • 33% admit to being confused about measuring up.

Now, thanks to AR, shoppers can see how furniture will look and fit in their own home before they make a purchase. Users simply allow an AR app to access their device’s camera and they can place a 3D image of a piece of furniture anywhere in their home. By tilting and moving their phone, users can see different views and truly interact with the images.

This use of AR helps ease the consumer path to purchase by aiding them in making an informed online or in-store purchase. It also: 

  • Increases pre-purchase confidence;
  • Increases overall customer satisfaction; and
  • Decreases returns since the customer has already seen how the furniture will fit/look like in-home before they purchase.

From Pokémon Go, to furniture shopping and everywhere in between, AR is growing in use and popularity. So stay tuned – there’s much more to come! 

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