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#018

AR “Museum in your Palm” Exhibition

Prehistoric dinosaurs and fossils come to life through the museum AR experience! An integrated indoor positioning navigation system for a seamless museum exploration. 

Press conference for the launch of the “Museum in your Palm” AR exhibition at Taiwan National Museum
(Press conference for the launch of the “Museum in your Palm” AR exhibition at Taiwan National Museum)

Our previous article, Augmented Reality – Revolutionising the Museum Guided Tour Experience gave an introduction on how AR technology is integrated into museum exhibits to create a more in-depth, two-way communication with the general public. This concept may seem similar to the Night at the Museum movie, where the exhibits come to life and interact with the protagonist in the movie. Except in our case, we view these exhibits through AR lenses. 

Arplanet Taiwan worked with Taiwan National Museum to launch the “Museum in your Palm” AR exhibition, integrating AR with advanced indoors navigation and positioning technology that allows visitors to easily explore the museum and its exhibitions in all its “resurrected” glory. Through the integration of these two technologies, visitors can easily interact with these otherwise static exhibitions, generating more awareness and interest, opening new doors for the popularisation of science and education. This event was supported by the Taiwan Ministry of Economics Affairs (MOEA) Industrial Development Bureau, with aims of further promoting the development of Taiwan’s AR industry.

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Taiwan National Museum AR Exhibition Experience

The reconstruction of dinosaur fossils found along Yellow River, as seen through the marq+ AR app
(The reconstruction of dinosaur fossils found along Yellow River, as seen through the marq+ AR app)

The “Museum in your Palm” is a fun and informative way to guide visitors to explore the museum, allowing visitors to have a glimpse into what these extinct beings looked like while they were roaming the earth, and interact with them to learn more. The museum includes 10 Location Based Service (LBS) points outside the museum, 40 AR indoor positioning points, 18 restoration of fossil exhibits, and the restoration of 2 scenes from the Age of Reptiles (also known as the Mesozoic era), with plans to further expand into different topics and areas for subsequent launch phases. 

VIPs watching the reconstruction of the Yellow River dinosaur fossils through AR app marq+
(VIPs watching the reconstruction of the Yellow River dinosaur fossils through AR app marq+)

CEO of Arplanet Taiwan, Jennifer Pai said that Arplanet first obtained the indoors AR navigation & positioning patent in 2018. After spending two years on further R&D to improve the patent, as well as to find suitable industries for application, finally applying this technology in the Taiwan National Museum exhibition, as it provides information and education while simultaneously providing entertainment values. Furthermore, this tour integrates AR indoor positioning technology within Arplanet’s custom AR platform marq+, allowing visitors to enter the museum and easily access the AR experience using their smartphones or tablets, making AR more accessible in our daily lives. With the continual development of AR technology, we foresee that AR will inevitably become incorporated into many more sectors in the near future, providing the general public with a rich and vivid interactive exhibition experience.

Indoors AR Navigation – What is it exactly?

The “Museum in your Palm” exhibition marks the first time that indoors AR navigation is used in museums in Taiwan. Why are we using indoors AR navigation instead of GPS positioning, you ask? The main reason is due to signal and accuracy issues. GPS uses satellite signals for positioning, and the reception indoors is considerably weaker, resulting in a less accurate positioning. The ideal use scenario for GPS is for outdoors positioning, especially in a wide and unobstructed environment.

Using indoors AR navigation and positioning, it is important to get an accurate measurement of the physical location, so that we can create a virtual map of the location. Through Simultaneous Localisation and Mapping (SLAM) technology, the device detects and recognises the different exhibitions and location markers in the environment through the camera lenses, and superimposes each path point, creating an accurate map which can be effectively utilised indoors, as well as outdoors.

AR Museums – How they benefit the education industry

https://www.moc.gov.tw/information_250_116193.html

According to Hong Shiyou, director of Taiwan National Museum, the museum harnesses the power of science and technology to create an immersive environment, providing the general public with a multi-sensory interactive exploration experience that promotes independent learning. The main purpose of this is to bring in more visitors, allowing them to interact more closely with the museum exhibits to obtain a more in-depth knowledge and understanding of these exhibits. This indoors AR navigation system is introduced to adapt to the changing trends of visiting museums. With the integration of advanced AR technology with the more traditional museum curation, this special exhibit brings forth a revival of historic fossils from times long past. Not only does this provide a simple solution to navigating across the different museum exhibits, but also creates an innovative and unforgettable museum experience that transcends time.

The Museum in Your Palm exhibition at the Taiwan National Museum appointed Arplanet Taiwan as the technical specialist. With over 10 years of commitment in the development of AR technology, the team at Arplanet hope that through this demonstration of AR in museums, we can further help schools, education sectors, family education, and other similar industries to streamline education using AR. There are also many opportunities in incorporating AR into interactive exhibitions to strengthen learning and continuously inject new life into the development of museums. 

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St. Regis Hotel AR Red Packet for CNY

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Bring more life to your Chinese New Year with AR

St. Regis Hotel Kuala Lumpur wanted an augmented reality (AR) twist to their yearly Chinese New Year red packet, and that’s what we gave them!

Simply scan the red packet using our marq+ app and watch the animations come to life. The music perfectly matches the mood, taking you to a time with no worries, a fresh start to the beginning of a new year.

This project uses AR technology, and is easily applicable in many different industries, giving that extra oomph to any marketing or branding activities.

To find out more information about this case, please CONTACT US.
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#020

Introducing marq+

An all-inclusive AR platform, providing diverse solutions for all business needs

marq+ is Arplanet’s proprietary AR app, incorporating various AR solutions such as virtual fitting, scratch card, audio and video, AR colouring, LBS navigation, treasure hunt, and other amazing visual effects, which simultaneously offer several benefits, such as creating a unique branding experience through experiential marketing, while simultaneously collecting customer data, which allows for better targeting.

Users can immediately interact with the business and its products, with a smooth exchange of information between both parties, allowing users to easily access a cache of information, right at their fingertips! 

marq+ AR app

AR technology is leveraged with our rich experience in branding – helping build a bridge between brands and relevant consumers, creating an interesting AR experience that draws users in, provokes creativity, and provides them with a sense of participation. Seamlessly reach out to customers with marq+, and build a deeper connection for that strong emotional branding. We are proud to be recognized as one of the best AR development firms in Singapore.  

Through AR technology and our rich experience in branding, we help to build a bridge between brands and consumers, creating an interesting AR experience that draws users in, and provides them with a sense of participation. Seamlessly reach out to customers with marq+, and build a deeper connection for that strong emotional branding.

Here are some examples on what you can use marq+ for:  

If you would like to explore a different way to make your business stand out, please don’t hesitate to contact us!

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#017

AR Shopping – The Digital Transformation of Retail in 2020

A streamlined, comprehensive shopping experience is important, especially during this Age of Technology

Daniel Newman talked about the Top 5 Digital Transformation Trends In Retail For 2020 in Forbes, and elaborating on the importance of augmented reality, ease of purchase, ease of information retrieval, social shopping, and giving consumers an immersive shopping experience with the integration of the virtual and real world. In this article, we focus on the importance of the AR shopping experience and explore how it is changing retail as we know.

In this current technological era, many corporate brands are starting to integrate their online and offline businesses. Through the shaping of these experiential marketing, allowing consumers to “feel” the products as if they are shopping physically, being with the consumers during their whole shopping journey, strengthening corporate brand values, and creating a better consumer experience is something that all brands need to look into.

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AR for Retail | How did AR become a turning point for the retail industry?

AR technology is advantageous in its ability to allow ease of visualisation. This refers to the various visual effects that superimpose virtual objects and information in the real world surrounding us. The virtual components on the screen of our mobile devices or tablets are integrated into the real world, showing us information such as instruction operations, and allowing for dynamic interactions with these virtual objects. We previously talked about how AR is integrated in various industries, such as: advertising, marketing, art, events, commercial, navigation, and many others, with many successful cases showing how these technologies have been successfully incorporated in the market. The applications are diverse, and the possibilities are endless. The overall industry is booming, and it doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon. More so now, where consumers are putting more emphasis on the retail experience, in addition to the quality of products and the marketing. AR is especially effective in creating a memorable shopping experience.

AR allows consumers to more effectively understand the products. Companies such as Target, Lowe’s, and Amazon, have found that AR technology can reduce the number of consumer returns for online purchases, which greatly helps in sales. Interactions Consumer Experience Marketing who specialise in retail research have noted in their 2016 article, that 77% of consumers want to see different product features such as colour, material, or style, through AR; 65% of consumers want to obtain product information using AR; 55% of consumers think that AR makes the shopping experience fun and memorable.

(Image Source: Interactions Consumer Experience Marketing)

AR for Retail | How do retail brands get into the AR experience

According to Gartner, there will be 100 million consumers using AR for both online and offline shopping by 2020. When thinking of how to design an AR experience, retail brands should fully consider factors from the consumers’ perceptions, to them exploring different products, to choosing a product, then making the purchase, and even cater for factors such as after-sales services, advertising and marketing, as well as repurchasing. The entire shopping experience may range from person to person, therefore it is important to consider an experience that can cater to the general public.

Presently, the retail industry sees more AR use in two main sectors, namely: products applications, as well as marketing and advertising. Retail brands and retailers rely on the addition of AR to create a more immersive shopping experience, enhanced by the wonders of AR technology.

1. Advertising and Marketing: Attracting consumers’ interest

With the rise of the new age of retail, comes changes in the consumers’ shopping behaviours. Many online retailers nowadays have been looking into opening physical stores. Physical stores, contrary to popular beliefs, should not be considered as competitors of online stores. They are important in the transformation of the digital age of retail, using physical stores to add another layer of experience, providing a unique shopping trip for the consumers.

In February 2019, Nike collaborated with Snapchat to create a unique AR experience for their consumers at The Foot Locker store in Hollywood, Los Angeles. The Lebron James mural on the store wall comes to life through AR lenses, and scores a slam dunk. This experience went viral on Twitter, with over 1.25 million views.

Apart from that, Burger King’s viral ad campaign – Burn that Ad – which we previously talked about in our article “AR Advertising – The Future, or a Gimmick?” is an interesting application of AR technology in advertising and branding. 

2. Commercial Application: Try before you buy

AR is heavily integrated in commercial products, mainly in hopes to help the consumers make more decisive decisions when shopping online. Currently, the most common theme is the use of AR in furniture and home décor shopping, as the main consideration for online shopping is how accurate the sizing of the items are, and whether or not the style and materials will suit and complement the current environment.  Through the use of AR, consumers can visualise and more accurately gauge how the furniture or décor fits in their homes.

Toyota also launched an AR application for car buyers to place the vehicles in any environment, such as their driveway or garage, or even their living rooms, allowing them to look at the cars from any angle without having to be at the showrooms. Using their mobile devices, consumers can zoom in and out, and rotate the vehicles to clearly observe each minute detail. 

LEGO has often used AR to engage with their consumers back in the days, and have amped up their AR present more now, as there are many screens everywhere in stores. As long as consumers pick up the LEGO box and scan the box exterior, they can view a 3D model of the toys inside, giving them a better idea of what they will be building.

AR for Retail | Why should retailers take the leap

The global market for AR and VR retail sales is predicted to reach USD $1.6 billion by 2025, and retail brands in the future are bound to adopt current technology in their business strategies. Furthermore, content has always been the core of the experiential shopping experience, thus the branding and promotion of retail brands are no longer limited to traditional marketing channels. The integration of online and offline channels offer better advantage to retailers, allowing them to target a wider reach of consumers. Through setting AR interactions at specific points in time to convey and tell the story of retail brands, this attracts and captures the attention of consumers, providing them valuable information that they resonate with, building trust and loyalty towards the brand, triggering positive associations in the long run.

According to Zion Market Research, the global AR market is expected to grow to USD $133 billion by 2021. As AR is effective in integrating the virtual and real world during the entirety of the shopping process, it not only provides entertainment, but is also adds functionality.

With the enhancement of AR hardware functions in new generations of mobile phones, the application of AR technologies are expected to grow with this demand, thus you may see more varying types of AR interactions in the market. From the perspective of retail applications, it has grown from its original days of AR product catalogues. Looking at the samples we mentioned previously, it has advanced to incorporate AR product trials, where consumers can “try” and more accurately find suitable products for themselves, leveraging on technology to complement physical stores and provide a more personalised shopping experience for consumers, stimulating their purchasing decisions.

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#016

AR in Fashion: Makeup, Fittings, and more!

Fashion brands use augmented reality to create an innovative shopping experience for the modern consumers 

(Image Source: L’Oréal)

According to market research, around a third of US consumers have experienced AR at some point, showing considerable interest in emerging tech such as AR and VR. This is an important factor for brands to consider when thinking of how to approach their target consumers: what kind of experiences these consumers may consider important, as well as how to generate more attention, effectively generating positive brand exposure.

AR has been readily adopted into the fashion industry, especially more so in beauty industries. For example, global beauty corporation L’Oréal announced last year that it acquired Modiface, a software development company that specialize in creating AR tech for beauty brands, in an attempt to seize the beauty digital market using AR.

In 2019, American cosmetics brand Lime Crime collaborated with Forever 21’s home beauty brand, Riley Rose, launching an AR app which uses digital strategy to provide an additional layer of consumer experience to young, mobile savvy consumers, which is the general target audience of these two brands. This is an innovative way for brands to communicate with new and existing consumers alike, providing a stronger impression and generating brand loyalty.

(Image Source: Lime Crime)

Apart from the beauty industry, fashion industries such as apparel and footwear see successful AR applications to their current marketing strategies.

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AR for Fashion | ZARA

Spanish clothing brand ZARA launched their first AR experience in 2018, with aims of attracting young consumers to their physical stores. The experience is easily accessed, simply download ZARA’s AR app, then point the camera of the mobile phone towards the store window or the ZARA packaging, and consumers are immediately teleported to a live fashion show, right where they are. Consumers can see the current clothing trends worn on virtual models, and can even purchase them directly from the app. There is also a photo option, where consumers can capture these moments and share them with friends and family anywhere.

AR for Fashion | Balmain​

No stranger to thinking outside the box, Balmain also started incorporating different technology applications in their marketing strategies. One notable example is when they provided Oculus VR headsets in the newly opened Milan store, where shoppers get a chance to watch Balmain creative director, Olivier Rousteing’s creative visions come to life through an innovative VR experience titled My City of Lights.

In 2019, Balmain ventured into AR for advertising and communicating with their target consumers. Through scanning the Balmain posters on the street of Paris with the Balmain app, users can see hidden messages, and find out more information about the brand, giving more attention to the brand’s communication method, and understanding more about the brand story.

In addition to that, consumers can use the app to view information about any events, or watch a live stream of the latest catwalk shows, such as their annual fashion shows. Balmain believes that AR can be an effective communication tool with consumers, and encourage a two-way consumer engagement.

(Image Source: Balmain)

AR for Fashion | Nike ​

One of the main concerns of online shopping is buying the wrong size, and the hassles of returns, with one in four consumers citing these as the main reasons they hesitate to shop online. Over 500,000 people in the US have experienced this hassle of buying wrong shoe sizes, and at any point of time, almost 60% of them would be wearing the wrong shoe sizes.

In July 2019, Nike Fit launched in the US, becoming one of the first companies to launch a new function which allows consumers to measure their shoe sizes. Noting that the internal cushioning of each design of shoe may vary, consumers may find it easier to purchase their Nike shoes through the app.

(Image Source: NIKE)

With many brands actively investing in AR technology, looking at the examples of ZARA and Lime Crime, who aim to increase the consumer conversion rate through both online and offline channels; Balmain, tapping on emerging technology to reach and communicate with consumers; and Nike, using AR to solve consumer sizing issues, each brand has found specific areas that highlight and addresses the different needs of different consumers.

As you can see, AR is a versatile technology which can be adapted in any part of the business marketing strategy, creating a more positive brand experience in consumers’ eyes, and we look forward to more brands adapting AR solutions in the coming future.

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#015

AR Advertising – The future, or another gimmick?

Augmented reality advertising is expected to account for at least 10% – 25% of digital advertising spend by the end of 2020

(Image source: Negative Space from Pexels)

Since the advent of the Internet, companies have turned towards online advertising channels such as Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Instagram and other forms of online and social media channels, as this is where most of their consumers obtain information. The more traditional forms of advertising have slowly been weaned off, instead being replaced with a new, diversified approach of advertising through AR channels.  

As part of the marketing strategy, the marketing content prepared for each advertisement will be disseminated through various forms of media, as the consumer demands see constant change due to the introduction of new technologies. From the original print media such as newspapers and magazines, to newer media forms like television and radio, to online media such as the Internet, advertising media faces new challenges in different times and different target groups. Today, with the rise of AR technology, brings forth new ways of advertising through AR channels.

Research carried out by Neuro-Insight highlighted the impact of AR and how the brain responds to various AR tasks and experience:

  1. AR drives high levels of visual attention in the brain
  2. AR elicits a ‘surprise’ response
  3. What is stored, or encoded into memory is 70% higher for AR experiences

The simplest way to attract consumers, also the most commonly used method, is to utilise a positive incentive or reward mechanism. Once there is a stable user base, the effects may be gradually driven up, as word-of-mouth spreads, further increasing the number of active users and improving the brand reputation.

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AR Advertising | Creative Examples: Burger King – Burn That Ad

(Image Source: Burger King)

Never one to shy away from bold, controversial advertising moves, Burger King Brazil worked with an advertising company early 2019, to launch a promotional campaign – Burn that Ad. Using the mobile camera triggered through Burger King’s AR app, pointed at the competitors’ ads, you can see the competitors’ ads engulfed in flames, right in front of your eyes. They offered a free Whooper to anyone who burnt an ad, and this amazing ad campaign went viral, with over a million downloads of the Burger King app in just one month, and over a billion media impressions all across the world.

AR Advertising | Film & Entertainment Industry

The entertainment industry has been dipping their toes into AR in a bid to attract consumers’ attention. Movies such as Avengers 4: Endgame and Pokémon Detective Pikachu have collaborated with Google Playground, allowing characters to leap into the users’ mobile screens in AR.

Sony Pictures also released an AR app as part of a promotional effort for Spider-man: Far From Home. In addition to being able to interact with Spider-Man and Mysterio in AR, users can also take photos and videos with the characters, and look through Peter’s texts and voicemails, spying on his life. The app also features shareable content for social media, such as GIFs and stickers.  

AR Advertising | Benefits and Effects

At present, most of the major platforms, including YouTube, Snapchat, Facebook, and Instagram, all have some call of action for future AR advertising potential. Among them, Google released their AR Beauty Try-On function, which allows users to try on makeup using AR, while watching YouTube videos. The main purpose is to carry out new interactive advertising experiences through AR channels.

Conversion rates have always been used as an indicator for judging the success rate of an advertising campaign. Many well-known brands, such as NBA, Gucci, Sephora, and Wayfair, have been using AR advertising to increase customer interactions, subsequently building brand loyalty. The conversion rates of AR advertising ranges from around 20% to as high as 80%, with fantastic effects. It is expected that by the end of 2020, AR advertising may account for around 10% to 25% of digital advertising expenditure. Mobile AR ad revenue, most of which comes from Snapchat and Facebook advertising, is expected to exceed USD $ 2 billion by 2022.

The use of AR in advertising is not to completely replace existing advertising channels, but to obtain a multiplier effect of sorts, further enhancing the impression of the original channel through an experiential design. In the case of Burger King, they did not seek to replace their large-scale outdoors advertisements, but added an element of creativity and entertainment to create a lasting impression that sticks with consumers for a long time. We believe that AR advertising will help boost the advertising sector, giving it a much needed revamp to stand out among its many competitors.

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#014

Augmented Reality – Revolutionising the Museum Tour Experience

Integrating AR into museum exhibitions and displays, enriching the museum visit and unleashing limitless possibilities

(Using AR to recreate how the exhibits looked in their original prime. Image Source: Google)

Museums play an important role in our society. They are responsible for the collection, preservation, research, and exhibition of artifacts with historic significance, with the purpose of providing education, as well as entertainment to the general public. In recent years, AR applications have become more and more comprehensive, and become used in many industries. Compared to virtual reality (VR), AR is so much more convenient, and easily accessible, requiring only a mobile device or tablet to enjoy the full interactive experience.

Many tech giants are invested in the development of AR software, with Apple CEO, Tim Cook saying, during an interview, that AR is “the next big thing,” and that AR, coupled with artificial intelligence (AI) will “change the world”; Google launched their AR platform – ARCore, and began a collaboration with museums and art gallery around the world, launching the Google Arts and Culture app that allows users to visit a virtual museum from the comfort of their own homes.

With this being said, AR is an important stepping stone in the transformation of global competition, and drastically affects the consumer purchasing behaviour today.

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AR for Museums | Guided AR Tours

According to critic, curator, and academic Robert Hewison, “Museums are much more than repositories of objects; they are meeting places for people and ideas. Their future depends on remaining a dynamic part of the public realm.” The key to the survival of museums, especially in this crucial time of change, is to remain dynamic, to introduce new ways of experiencing the museum, through apps that utilizes new technologies such as AR and image recognition, and so on.

Utilising AR for guided navigation has gradually become a new trend for viewing exhibitions in galleries and museums. In the museum of the future, there will be no need for physical guides, with the AR guides directly appearing on our personal mobile devices instead. As there is a story behind each carefully curated exhibition, only a few lines of text descriptions are not enough to satisfy the true fanatics who want a more in-depth understanding on the full story.

Since as early as 2012, the London Science Museum has already been using AR technology in the museum, and sees the host of BBC Top Gear, James May becoming a virtual guide in the Science Museum. Simply launch the application on your mobile phone or tablet, and point the camera towards the identifying image. A holographic version of May hovers over the plinth, sharing all sorts of facts and information about these particular exhibits, adding an interactive layer of information on top of museum tour experience.

Guided tours in AR halls have gradually become a new trend for viewing exhibitions. In the future, there will be no need for guides. Guided tours in AR halls can directly appear on your mobile phone to guide you, because each exhibit has a meaningful creation behind it. Background, for exhibition depth lovers, only a few lines of explanatory text cannot satisfy the audience. As early as 2012, the Science Museum of London, UK, had already used AR technology in the museum, and invited the well-known BBC host James May to use AR technology to create a virtual tour guide. You only need to open the application in your mobile phone or tablet and use the camera of your mobile phone. After aligning the identification map of the mark, an image of the host will appear on the screen for explanation, adding to the interactive nature of the museum tour.

(Integrating AR technology to create a new exhibition experience at the London National Portrait Gallery. Image Source: Smartify)

The Smartify app combines AR technology with image recognition to elevate the museum visit. Providing custom audio guides, maps, and a dedicated venue page, supporting users through each step of the journey. In addition to that, users can also save and “collect” their own artworks in the app, to view whenever they like. 

AR for Museums | AR Applications Beyond the Surface

(A dynamic Mona Lisa through the power of AR. Image Source: Google)

Exhibited paintings, fossils, or specimens come to life through a combination of AR and 3D modelling technology. Similar to the moving newspaper and portraits in the magical world of Harry Potter, AR technology allows users to feel the welcoming “warmth” of these exhibits, seeing the objects move as if they were alive. This adds more entertainment and excitement to these exhibits, allowing us to see a different side to what is currently on display.

(Image Source: Catchoom)

AR for Museums | Restoring the Original Appearance of Exhibits

(Image Source: Smithsonian Magazine)

AR technology can also “resurrect” animals that we have never before seen in this lifetime. After launching the AR app, simply point and aim the camera at the fossils in the museum, and it can recreate what these animals and objects that existed tens of thousands of years ago looked like, in a way, bringing them back to life. Things beyond our wildest imagination, seeing these animals and beings that roamed the earth long before our existence come alive in front of us, simply achieved through the power of AR. 

 

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History has an extensive collection of prehistoric bones in their collection, exhibited in their Bone Hall. Now, with AR technology, we can simply download the Skin & Bones app on the App Store and see what these bones looked like as animals roaming the earth. See how the Anhinga “Snakebird” fishes with its spear-like beak; Watch as the vampire bat flies from its cave. Even if you cannot visit the Smithsonian in person, you can download the Skin & Bones app and the trigger images, and get the full AR experience from the comfort of your own homes.

The Franklin Institute in the US launched an AR exhibition that allowed visitors to take a journey through one of the most significant archaeological discoveries – the Terracotta Warriors of the First Emperor. Using AR technology to reproduce the terracotta warriors and horses, and all their weapons and equipment, this AR experience allows visitors in the US to see the terracotta warriors come to life all the way from where they are on display in Xi’an, China.

AR for Museums | A Revolutionary New Museum Experience

Looking at the different cases introduced above, it is obvious that AR technology plays a big part in the revolutionization of the museum-going experience. AR helps to transform exhibits and collections into a visual experience, and museums tap on these emerging technologies to communicate more effectively with the general public, creating a more interesting and engaging learning environment. Through interactive experiences and AR games, turn education into a fun experience that allows visitors to become fully immersed in the fascinating storylines. These stories and experiences can even be brought home from the museum, and recreated in different ways during the visit, so that there is always a new, refreshing offered, reducing visitors’ fatigue.

AR provides a different way for people to browse exhibits and navigate through museums and galleries. We foresee that there will be a deeper and more complex integration of AR and VR technology into the museum industry in the very near future. Although there are still certain limitations to AR technology, it has proven effective in playing up the social and educational functions of the museums, injecting life into how museums are perceived by the general public, promoting museums visit as modern and interesting. We look forward to more museums and galleries embracing AR technology in their exhibits, innovating the museum-going experience.

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#012

2020 AR/VR Industry Development Trends | Part 2: Virtual Reality

A clearer understand on VR trends and current applications

Compared with augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) sees less commercial applications, mainly because VR comes with a head-mounted display that obscures the full line of sight, so users can only experience it in a safe environment.

However, as technology matures, so does VR equipment. Not only does it reflect in a better image quality, but also in terms of the hardware. There are certain industries which VR have thrived in, this article talks about the development of VR in recent years.

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2020 VR Industry Trends | (I) Consumer-centric Entertainment

Integrating VR in physical locations – creating a different experience

More and more exhibition spaces, VR shops, restaurants, and other establishments, are providing VR experiences to attract the attention of visitors. You can even find VR experiences going at NTD100 (~SGD5) per pop, as the experience is becoming more commonplace. Long gone are the days of paying hundreds of dollars for less than half an hours’ worth of VR experience.

Looking at theme parks, it is very costly and time consuming to constantly change the rides offered, and it requires a certain amount of floor space. To combat this issue of fatigue among frequent visitors, theme parks have began introducing VR games, offering visitors a variety of new attractions without burning a hole in their pockets. Taking E-DA theme park as an example, they introduced their themed VR Station, where visitors, as long as they have a valid entry ticket, can play a large variety of VR games in the theme park. The game equipment can constantly be refreshed and upgraded, as technology advances. Thus, we can expect to see newer and more exciting VR experience, especially in the theme park industry.   

VR in the gaming industry

In 2019, Nintendo Labo launched their Nintendo Labo Toy Con 04 VR Kit, made out of DIY cardboard. The Labo series combines the three key playing points of: DIY, game design, and VR, successfully catching the attention of gamers of all ages. Sony has also been making headlines with their announcement of the PS5, which is set to be released towards the end of 2020. Sony has announced that they are working on the supporting PSVR series, but it has been rumoured that the PSVR2 may not be launched until 2021. Despite all this, it is clear that Sony is continuing to blaze a trail in commandeering the market for console VR games.

On PC, Valve released their long-awaited sequel to the Half-Life series, releasing Half-Life: Alyx in March. With the success of previous games in this series, many gamers had been eagerly awaiting the release of their latest addition.

Half-Life: Alyx is highly compatible, and can be adapted to play on all head-mounted displays that support SteamVR. There are however, certain hardware limitations, as it is a complex game. The minimum specifications for the processor Core is i5-7500 / Ryzen 5 1600, with at least 12GB memory, GTX 1060 / RX 580 graphics card, and 6GB VRAM.

Be it for console or for PC, VR games are expected to stay. It has become a game design choice, just like kinetic games such as Wii or Kinect that came before it.

2020 VR Industry Trends | (II) Enterprise Use – Collaboration, Conferencing, Education, and Training

VR in online conferencing and collaboration platforms

Under the influence of the recent COVID-19 situation, many businesses have been forced to rethink their method of operations. Business meetings and collaborations have been brought up on and on again for discussion, to find a replacement for face-to-face meeting. Be it AR or VR, these emerging technologies have offered many solutions in this area before, and will continue doing so, especially during these times.

BigScreen VR is a multiple-interaction platform that aims to improve how people work, entertain, chat, and collaborate. Its main focus is on socializing, movie-watching, and gaming, however it is great for business meetings too. One of its key features is that users can mirror their concent onto the big centre screen in the simulation, making it feel as if we are in a real conference room. BigScreen also supports most headsets, including: Oculus Quest, Oculus Rift S, Oculus Go, Valve Index, SteamVR, VIVE, Windows Mixed Reality, and so on, with PSVR to join its ranks.

InsiteVR is compatible with Autodesk software such as BIM 360, Navisworks, Revit and Sketchup. It is a well-positioned VR multi-person collaboration platform, mainly used in  the AEC (Architecture, Engineering, Construction) industry. InsiteVR simplifies communication during meetings between different parties, allowing either party to directly indicate the content or questions discussed, in real-time, easily noting it down with either voice or text while wearing the VR headset. After the meeting, an automated PDF meeting with notes and screenshots is automatically generated, so users can review the content and issues discussed with ease. InsiteVR is currently supported on devices including the HTC Vive series, Oculus Rift series, Oculus Quest, Oculus Go, and Windows MR.

(InsiteVR automatically generates PDF reports from screenshots and annotations in VR meetings. Image Source: InsiteVR.)

In addition to the above two examples, there are many platforms that are great for VR collaborations. However, when VR collaboration is faced with issues such as the need for a fixed, spacious areas, as well as VR hardware equipment, it may be difficult to commercialise in the general consumer market. Unless VR taps onto existing services that are well positioned, VR collaboration companies may find it challenging to compete with popular online conference platforms such as Skype or Zoom. Adding on to the fact that VR devices cannot be used while on-the-go, the convenience and versatility of AR online collaboration platforms are much better than its VR counterparts. Therefore, VR online meetings may only be more applicable in certain industries.

VR for education and training

Over the past few years, we see an uptick in companies, big and small, from different industries, such as Verizon, Matsuya Foods, and the US Air Force, using VR to assist in their internal training. VR training is advantageous in the sense that it ensures a consistent output of training quality, without the heavy cost. It can simulate real-world training, where employees can familiarize themselves with the company standard operating procedures, as well as having the option to create different emergency situations, allowing employees to understand how to respond to these situations and practice handling these issues, so that they are more likely to be able to overcome these issues when faced in the real-world.

(VR for Matsuya Foods internal training. Image Source: Matsuya Foods)

The CEO of HTC, Yves Maitre, once said that 2020 is a good year for the VR industry. Especially so with the push of the COVID-19 situation. Maitre estimated that the overall VR market will grow by 50% in 2020, with the main source of revenue coming from B2B industry applications. To counter this growing demand, HTC also launched their Vive Pro Eye series, providing a variety of solutions to meet the needs of different corporate users. Current industry applications of the Vive Pro Eye for VR training include industries such as manufacturing, medicine, transport, design, real estate, and so on.  

Although AR and VR are similar in terms that they can both be beneficial in providing education and training services, both have their own advantage and disadvantages in each sector. For industries that require a fully immersive training environment, such as inflight pilot training, VR would be a better choice over AR; for training that requires a second-layer of information and training material, overlaid on top of the real-world objects, AR is the preferred training method.  

2020 VR Industry Trends | (III) VR hardware and software maturity

(Image Source: HTC) 

The development of modern VR head-mounted displays has made much progress over the years. In addition to a better display quality, more and more VR headsets are moving from wired towards wireless. The introduction of convenient all-in-one headsets such as the Oculus Quest, as well as a more attractive price point helps greatly with the acceptance and integration of VR technology in all sectors. The consumers today have a plethora of choices in terms of quality and affordability of VR headsets in the market. There definitely is still room for improvement in terms of comfortability, headset weight, and reducing fatigue when wearing. However, the majority of headsets in the market are already improved versions of their predecessors, and developers are putting in time and effort in a continuous bid to improve the quality of these hardware.

Despite the constant development in hardware, VR still has some ways to go in terms of innovative application methods, to create a more streamlined experience. Combining precision eye tracking with professional-grade sound and graphics, the HTC VIVE Pro Eye headset analyses the eye movement, attention, and focus, analysing the data to better understand the users’ interactive behaviours. This in turn, allows for a better understanding and analysis of the effectiveness of training. Presently, most VR devices are still equipped with controllers for movement and interaction within the virtual world. As more advanced hardware is being developed, we are expecting VR devices to become integrated with gloves, or to have more advanced gesture tracking functions, and other such functions, allowing for a diversified method of interaction to cater to different usage scenarios in the consumer market.

As we previously mentioned, there are many more offline venues such as theme parks and exhibition galleries, that are providing customers with additional VR experience. Not everyone may have experienced VR before, but the majority of people have a general understanding of it, and thus have their own expectations.

Through integrating the characteristics and advantages of VR technology, with the changing mentality of consumers, there are more avenues that VR can reach in the coming future, making big waves in the training simulation, as well as entertainment sector.  

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AR Business Cards

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Business cards that come to life – easing information visualisation

Simply scan the business card through the marq+ app, and you can immediately view and access the company website, phone number, address, and so on, obtaining the latest, real-time information. The use of AR business cards will bring forth a better sense of visualisation for your clients, making the conveying of information more interesting and vivid!

Your official website, blogs, introduction videos, latest news and updates, phone numbers, emails, and many other information may be included in the AR business card.

To find out more information about this case, please CONTACT US here.
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2020 AR/VR Industry Development Trends | Part 1: Augmented Reality

See current AR trends and how big corporations are utilizing AR

AR trends

Augmented Reality (AR), when broken down into its technical composition, covers a wide range of fields and sectors. The required technologies may be slightly different if you look at it from a different perspective, or approach from a different angle. Hence, there is no one-size fits all solution for issues requiring AR technology.

In 2019, major companies such as Microsoft, Facebook, Apple, and Google have announced their investment in the R&D of the AR sector. Let’s have a look at the key trends in AR this year.  

Table of Contents

2020 AR Industry Trends | (I) Mobile Phones and AR Glasses Hardware Upgrade

3D sensing technology: ToF cameras pave the way for AR mobile applications

Simply put, ToF (Time-of-Flight) cameras uses the speed of light to calculate the distance between the different objects in the surrounding area and the user. Since 2019, more and more mobile phone manufacturers have begun using ToF cameras to replace depth-of-field lenses, to provide better photo effects, to the effect that ToF cameras are now considered a staple in most new-gen smartphones now. In addition to providing better quality camera images, the data from the sensors can greatly help with 3D imaging, thus making it more effective for improving AR experiences in the long run.

So, how does ToF cameras help with the AR experience? Before “placing” an AR object in the real world, spatial positioning needs to be done, so the device can determine the actual space in the surrounding environment. The function of the ToF camera is to help detect spatial distancing, helping to create an idea of what space is “real”, so that the AR object can be placed in as reasonable a position as possible, to the extent of achieving the occlusion effect, so that the AR object can conform to the special logic of the imaging in our brains, completely merging the virtual and real world objects.

ToF demonstrates the concept of “hardware first, software later”, as AR is expected to pick up in the coming few years. With major mobile developers such as Apple and Google demonstrating more interest in the AR sector, we are expecting more SDKs to come from these global conglomerates, bringing a more comprehensive AR experience at our fingertips.   

2020 – The decade of AR glasses development

In 2019, many manufacturers released their own version of AR glasses, which we talked about in our article here. These companies include Microsoft’s Hololens 2, Google’s Glass Enterprise Edition 2, and many others such as Nreal, EPSON, Snapchat, Bose, NVIDIA, and so on, have come out and released AR glasses of their own.

(Google Glass Enterprise Edition 2. Image source: Google)

In addition to that, there have been rumours about the research and development of AR glasses and tech from conglomerates such as Apple and Facebook, both who have yet to release any type of AR glasses. These rumours are enough to see various manufacturers regard AR glasses as the future of technology, something similar to the smartphones that we all own now, and make arrangements to incorporate technologies that support AR in their systems.

Currently, AR glasses are still mostly targeted at enterprise applications, instead of commercial applications, mainly used to improve work efficiency and optimizing system processes. Another reason is due to factors such as specifications, price, weight, display, and so on, which prevent AR glasses from penetrating into the consumer market – the battery life of AR glasses has always been a controversial issue.

However, Shenzhen Happy Valley theme park used a large number of AR glasses to create a themed festival experience in 2019. They pushed 2,000 AR glasses into consumer market on a large scale, using public charging stations to resolve this battery issue, leaving a lasting impression on both participants, and readers alike.

AR glasses, which allows for the superimposing of virtual elements into real-world scenarios, can gives the entertainment industry free reign to create more realistic gaming and branding experiences. In the future, it might become more commercialised like how VR has become, appearing more frequently in more industries.

2020 AR Industry Trends | (II) A Diversified Approach: Shared Experiences and Growing Popularity of Web AR

Cloud Anchor – Creating a shared AR experience

Currently, the AR experiences that we are familiar with only exist within one’s own mobile phone or AR glasses. How do we simultaneously let everyone experience the same AR content? That is the million-dollar question.

In order to provide a cross-platform, shared AR experience, Cloud Anchor technology was born. The principle of Cloud Anchor similar in behaviour and function to anchors, but are hosted on the cloud. It is a 3D model constructed through the mobile vision, comparing and filtering abnormalities to find and analyse the positioning, so that multiple users can interact with the same AR object using their own devices.

Pokémon GO launched a group photo function in December 2019, which uses Cloud Anchor technology. The trainer can see the Pokémon that they and 2 other users have summoned on the same screen, easily interacting with the Pokémon and the users, taking fun AR photos together. The continuous advancement of Cloud Anchor technology will eventually allow Pokémon trainers to summon their own Pokémon to fight with an opponent trainer’s in real life.

(Pokémon GO uses Cloud Anchor technology, allowing users to access the same AR content on their own devices. Image Source: Pokémon GO)

Presently, the stability of the anchor point data synchronisation on the cloud still needs to be strengthened, and the storage data of the anchor point data is not enough. There are still certain limitations, such as the need to avoid having repeating patterns in the surrounding areas, avoid reflective surfaces, and so on. But even so, Cloud Anchor technology can provide a shared AR experience that is fully integrated with the real world, giving the AR objects a new dimension, as compared to virtual content that can only be seen and experienced by oneself. A shared virtual experience is more integrated into the real world, and when these virtual objects can be seen and experienced by everyone in the surrounding area, it strengthens the phenomenon of the interaction, resulting in a more realistic and innovative AR experience for all involved.

WebAR for advertising and entertainment

WebAR is great for its download-free and quick launching capabilities. Still in the early stages of its innovation, it still can’t run complicated AR experiences yet. However, you can directly use it for simple applications through a URL or QR code, hence it is a popular choice for advertising and marketing, greatly reducing the barriers of entry for many users.

Since Chrome version 79, Google had begun to provide WebXR support, expanding their degree of support from Chrome version 81 onwards, including the WebXR Hit Test module. Despite many browsers not supporting WebXR yet, there are also limitations on browsing and permissions. But with Google taking the lead, we see an increase in browser support for these technologies, providing AR developers a wider range of arsenal, compared to purely dealing with mobile browsers. This means that with this upward trend in motion, there will definitely be more ways to experience WebAR in the coming future.

(Google’s WebAR display screen. Image Source: Google)

2020 AR Industry Trends | (III) Developments in 5G Applications

With many countries announcing the commercialisation of 5G in 2020, we see mobile phones companies who successively launched devices that support 5G internet access. With its greater bandwidth, giving higher download speeds – eventually up to 10 gigabits per second (Gbit/s) – 5G has the world heatedly discussing how this new technology can benefit and be implemented in industries such as AR/VR, AI, IoT, and so on.  

As AR technology needs to transmit a large amount of visual data and perform complex calculations, the speed and bandwidth of the commercialisation of 5G will indirectly help AR to become more widely accepted, as it runs at a more efficient pace. Mobile support for 5G means that a large amount of visual data can be obtained faster, simultaneously reducing the downloading and load time of an AR experience. Through creating a seamless end-to-end experience, giving a stronger impression of the virtual and real-world integration.

At the end of 2019, Qualcomm also released the world’s first AR/VR processor platform that supports 5G networks – Snapdragon XR2, becoming one of the pioneers of integrating Cross Reality (XR, an umbrella term encompassing AR, VR, and MR), with 5G technology. We predict that in the future, with the integration of XR and 5G, comes more application cases for new immersive reality technologies. One day, we might even be able to transfer information and data quickly, via 5G to the Cloud, then back to the AR glasses for display, greatly streamlining the use of AR glasses, helping with the commercialisation of the glasses.

(Image source: Qualcomm)

Going back to the progress of global 5G deployment, it is still in the early stage and hardware support is not yet very mature. It can be expected that AR combined with 5G applications in 2020 will be mainly exemplary applications in specific fields.

To summarise, the adoption of AR is slowly, but steadily growing, especially more so when there are breakthroughs such as in the environment, hardware, and software. Industries such as marketing, manufacturing, tourism, medical care, finance, retail, catering, sports, publishing, media, exhibitions, education, and many more are starting to integrate AR in their current offerings, to give users a new, more memorable experience. As technology evolves, AR too will evolve, becoming an brand new platform for innovative communication.

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