AR Incorporation

#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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#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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#013

Experiential Marketing starts with AR

Shaping the marketing experience and creating a dialogue with consumers through a combination of technology and creativity

Starbucks is one of many international brands that actively engage digital technology to enhance the customer experience, using their app to participate in marketing and promotional activities such as lucky draws, completing payments, and obtaining related updates and news; Nike launched the Nike Run Club (NRC) app, which builds a community of shared social experience, with an added function of virtually trying on Nike products.

Why do these well-known brands do this? In an era where a full marketing experience is the new trend, the traditional method of marketing, which simply highlights the products function and characteristics, can no longer meet the consumers’ needs. Moving forward, experiential marketing is the way to go – tailoring the marketing experience, taking into consideration the consumers’ wants and desires, guiding them through the entire (purchasing) experience, therein strengthening the value of the brand in their eyes. 

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What is Experiential Marketing?

Bernd Schmitt introduced the concept of experiential marketing in 1999, stating that “value does not only reside in the object of consumption – which can be either a product or service – but also lies in the experience of consumption.” He presented five types of experiential marketing approaches, to redefine and create a new way of marketing through sense, feel, think, act, and relate. 

Nowadays, many industries have adopted new, emerging technology in helping transform and shape a more comprehensive consumer experience. Among them, the application of immersive reality technologies such as augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and mixed reality (MR) are becoming increasingly popular.

Augmented Reality for branding and education: Starbucks Shanghai

Starbucks AR
(Image Source: Starbucks Reserve)

In recent years, Starbucks has been researching and incorporating emerging technology to provide better service and new experiences to their consumers. They collaborated with Alibaba to launch an AR experience, binding the experience to the Starbucks Reserve® Shanghai Roastery in Shanghai, China. Visitors simply use their mobile devices to scan the QR codes instore to follow the journey of a coffee bean from the plantation into our cups, and collect badges while they are learning. This creates a new, experiential environment for these visitors, generating a stronger brand impression.

Augmented Reality for the next generation of gaming: Angry Birds

Angry Birds, that burst into our phones some years back, has recently made a comeback, launching their new game – Angry Birds AR-Isle of Pigs – available for iOS and Android. There are currently over 40 fun-filled levels, where players can launch an attack on AR buildings from all angles. AR combines real world scenario with the game, making the overall experience more realistic. Another way of thinking is that games are not only for entertainment and leisure, but also a form of marketing method, especially in this new business model.

Augmented Reality for virtual shopping: Wannaby

With aims to break the barrier of online shopping, reducing the returns rate, and to improve the overall shopping experience, Wannaby uses a combination of new technologies to create a virtual fitting app – Wanna Kicks. Using the app, users simply choose a sneaker design, then aim the camera at their feet to see how it looks as they are “wearing” the shoes. Although this virtual fitting experience cannot completely resolve this issue of online shoe shopping, as consumers’ concern on being unable to touch and feel the shoe to gauge the size and comfort levels is hard to address using AR. However, this solution allows consumers to actually visualize how the shoe looks like on them, adding to this consumer shopping experience.

Augmented Reality to create a new marketing experience

In a diversified business model, it is essential to consider the consumers’ thought process, purchasing environment, and the scalability capacity. It is important for a business to provide an immersive experience, especially more so one that the consumer can relate to. This design experience can be achieved through the combination of virtual and real-world technologies, to create a multifaceted marketing experience. The incorporation of AR in these marketing experiences can benefit businesses of any scale, in various industries such as retail, transportation, entertainment, and so on.

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#007

AR Makeup – An Interactive New Advertising Experience

AR Beauty Try-On campaign – an innovative makeup campaign in collaboration with YouTube 

Google is one of few brands that are the key driving force behind AR innovation, only recently introducing AR makeup functions in their search results, allowing users to view and interact with 3D models of certain animals when they search via Google. One of their more interesting additions is AR Beauty Try-On which launched on YouTube around 2019, which aimed to tap on the well-known beauty gurus and their vast audience on the platform, creating an attractive experience that is also practical to them.

Before making a makeup or skincare purchase, many consumers often search on YouTube and see what the influencers and beauty gurus say about these products. Thus there is an influx of brands collaborating with these YouTubers, as an effective communication channel, to reach their targeted consumer groups. With the AR Beauty Try-On function, consumers can try AR cosmetics while watching videos on YouTube, with the ultimate aim of creating a new type of interactive advertising through this experience. As consumers watch the YouTubers unpacking specific brands of cosmetics, there is a “virtual makeup” function which allows them to see how the lipstick, for example, looks on their face.

(Image Source: VRSCOUT)

Compared with regular, non-interactive advertising videos, AR Beauty Try-On taps on artificial intelligence (AI) and AR to provide different products for consumers to try on, so they see how these colours reflect on their different skin tones, creating a more realistic experience for the consumers. Around 30% of target consumers tested the “virtual makeup” AR function during its trial period, spending an average of 80 seconds trying on different lipstick colours. However, it is undetermined whether the interest and attention is due to the products experience, or because this advertising experience is something new and never-before seen.

Compared with non-interactive advertising videos, AR Beauty Try-On relies on AI and AR augmented reality technology to provide products for trial use in different skin tones, making the consumer experience more realistic. Youtube iSO has 30% in the test process Of people used the AR interaction of “virtual makeup try-on” and spent an average of 80 seconds trying lipstick colors. However, it is still unclear whether such attention is due to this application is still a new way.

Despite its Alpha launch, it can still be accessed on Famebit by YouTube, and MAC Cosmetics is the first brand to be partnered with the AR Beauty Try-On. As the future is moving towards a virtual, contactless direction, we foresee that more brands will start using AR integration in their makeup and skincare offerings in the coming future.  

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#006

How is AR used in shopping?

Breaking free from the gaming industry, AR is widely used to enhance the e-commerce experience

(Image Source: IKEA Place) 

Augmented Reality applications in our everyday lives is becoming more and more well-rounded. No longer limited to the gaming industry, it has now expanded and integrated into various other industries, especially with the adaptation of AR shopping. 

Sometimes we daydream about redecorating our bedroom, living room, or a particular corner in the house, reflecting our personal style and creativity in these rooms. However, the convenience of e-commerce now means that people don’t normally get to physically see the items that they are intending to purchase, unless they go down to the stores. Seeing a physical item is important, especially if it is furniture, to properly determine whether the design, size, and placement is appropriate for the interior of the room. This problem is easily solved using AR technology.

IKEA Place | AR Shopping

Take IKEA for example, launching their IKEA Place app for Android phones during the fall of 2017. Developed using Apple and Google’s augmented reality development tool – ARKit and ARCore – making IKEA one of the pioneers of AR furniture shopping.

IKEA Place is relatively easy to use – simply make your selection of furniture on the app, then the selected furniture shows up on the screen, and you can “view” it directly in your room. You can also zoom in to clearly see what kind of fabric and colours are used. This feature is best used with larger furniture types such as sofas, coffee tables, and dining tables, and to date there are around 2,200 pieces of furniture available from IKEA’s catalogue.

GrokStyle | AR Shopping

GrokStyle, which was acquired by Facebook early last year, is a website that uses artificial intelligence and visual search technology to help users shop for furniture. A similar form of technology is adopted by IKEA and used in the IKEA Place.

GrokStyle works with other retailers, allowing users to identify and search for similar products by pointing their mobile cameras at the furniture, or search by uploading an image. Similar products are shown, and users can directly be taken to the site to make a purchase. 

Shopify AR | AR Shopping

(Image Source: Shopify) 

Shopify opened its retail platform to the world, launching Shopify AR which can be run on the Safari browser on iOS 12, allowing users to view products in augmented reality, and see an accurate depiction of the size, proportions, and details of the products. Sellers on Shopify can use the 3D Warehouse app to create 3D models of the products, which they can then link to the stores, which is then easily accessed by users, giving them a unique AR shopping experience.

Houzz | AR Shopping

(Image Source: Houzz) 

Houzz is a platform for home decoration and design, seamlessly connecting users, interior designers and contractors. Users can directly reach out and communicate with designers and contractors using this easy-to-use platform. In addition to that, they can also review and share their experiences with these vendors, as well as exhibit the final results of the renovations.

Taking it one step further, Houzz launched their AR “View in My Room” 3D tool, which allows users to browse and select floor tiles that catch their eyes, and see how it looks in real-life according to scale and direction. At the same time, users can find out how many tiles are needed to fully cover the entire floor area without need for manual measuring. After the overlay is done, users can directly place an order to purchase – hassle free home renovation!

From IKEA to Houzz, the addition of AR services into this e-commerce shopping experience is essentially the same as the “try and buy” system that we are so used to. This reduces the fear of getting a different item from what you saw online; reduces the gap of trust and understanding between the seller and consumer; and strengthens the convenience of communication between both parties. Even without someone to assist with the shopping process, consumers can easily and accurately determine whether or not the product suits their needs.

This technology is applied not only to home furnishing e-commerce sector, but many other industries have adopted this tried and tested way to bring a convenient, new shopping experience to consumers.

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#002

How is AR Used in Our Lives?

Showcasing 3 examples of how AR enhances our lives through virtual doodles, art, and photography.

Living in the golden age of the Internet, most of us are heavily dependent on technology to work, socialize, and receive all sorts of information and entertainment. In recent years, immersive reality technology has developed rapidly, with many industrial applications of augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and mixed reality (MR) technology becoming more and more extensive. It is becoming increasingly difficult to separate the reality from the virtual, especially when the integration of immersive reality technology is ever-evolving, seamlessly fusing the real and virtual worlds, creating a new future that lies beyond your wildest imagination. 

AR technology is becoming more prevalent in our communities today, as AR brings about benefits to everyone that uses it. We introduce 3 apps that can brighten up your life using AR technology. 

1. Just a Line

Just a Line lets you inject some fun and make your daily lives more whimsical through adding little doodles in augmented reality. Share your creativity with your friends and family anytime, anywhere, and record your creations with a short video.

The world is your canvas!

2. Google Arts & Culture

Google Art Selfie - AR

(Image Source: Google Art & Culture) 

Google Arts & Culture features content from over 2,000 leading museums across the world, bringing the almost comprehensive online art gallery directly to your fingertips, letting you browse famous collections anywhere.

Two applications in particular feature the use of AR: Art Projector, and Art Selfie.  

(Image Source: Google Art & Culture) 

Art Projector lets you display any painting, true-to-size, right in front of your eyes. Simply allow the camera to map the position of your room, then select where to display the painting. Decorate your living room with Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring, or display Van Gogh’s Irises in your bedroom!

All the artwork in the database are high-resolution, so freely zoom in and out to appreciate every little detail. 

(Image Source: Google Art & Culture)

Snap a selfie, and launch Art Selfie from the Google Arts & Culture app. The app will search for similar artworks in the vast directory. See how you look in different portraits and styles from different artists across the times.

3. Beauty Cameras

(Image Source: Meitu) 

Everyone should be familiar with beauty cameras, especially in recent years. Meitu offers dozens of built-in filters and makeup functions that are applied through augmented reality technology. Enhance your natural beauty through lovely filters.

As augmented reality becomes increasingly integrated into our lives, we are expecting the introduction of more AR apps in the near future, creating new experiences for everyone. We look forward to what’s to come next.

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#001

Augmented Reality – Beyond the Pokémon Go Phenomenon

Immersive reality to experience a new reality.

Beyond the Pokémon Go Phenomenon

Living in the golden age of the Internet, most of us are heavily dependent on technology to work, socialize, and receive all sorts of information and entertainment. In recent years, immersive reality technology has developed rapidly, with many industrial applications of augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and mixed reality (MR) technology becoming more and more extensive. It is becoming increasingly difficult to separate the reality from the virtual, especially when the integration of immersive reality technology is ever-evolving, seamlessly fusing the real and virtual worlds, creating a new future that lies beyond your wildest imagination. 

Immersive Reality – Market Situation

The immense power of immersive reality technology lies in its ability to effectively overlay information in the real world, using a virtually guided, augmented reality navigation to operate and function. In the very beginning, AR was mainly used in the gaming industry. 2016 came, and Pokémon Go burst into the scene, creating a global frenzy for Pokémon hunting, as well as a renewed interest in AR technology applications.

Today, AR integration has expanded past the gaming industry, into a plethora of various other industries. According to market analytics platform Digi-Capital, it is estimated that in 2023, global use of immersive reality technology will reach a market size of US$80b – US$90b, 70% of which, is accounted for by the AR market, which includes gaming, entertainment, finance, social media, manufacturing, and many other industries that benefit from incorporating AR in its business models. Apple CEO Tim Cook expressed enthusiasm in the future of AR technology: “My view is it’s the next big thing, and it will pervade our entire lives,” and it is increasingly becoming a reality, where AR is fully permeating into our daily lives, creating an environment filled with imagination. For example, incorporating LBS (Location-Based Service) into a virtually guided shopping experience turns a regular shopping experience into something new and exciting, or using facial recognition that allows you to don various accessories, or turn into different characters to create a new reality.

Immersive Reality – Benefits of Use

1. Experiential Marketing

Today, the entirety of the product experience plays an important role in influencing our decisions. Using experiential marketing, companies can allow these products can tell their own stories that can resonate with consumers, and capture their interest.  The overall design and integration of technology is essential, with immersive reality technology being one of the best methods to deliver experiential marketing. In addition to providing engaging, second-layer information to consumers, the element of fun and interactivity can be easily added, making the product experience an unforgettable one.

2. Communication

Any industry can benefit from the many strengths of immersive reality technology to design visual and highly interactive AR/VR applications. These applications are effective in translating the brand message or product information to the general public, especially in industries such as entertainment, culture, tourism, and retail, where consumers are overwhelmed with the amount of generic product information communicated to them. Using immersive reality technology, brands and their products can tell a story customized to the target audience, creating that emotional connection and creating a more lasting impression. 

3. Innovation

With the establishment of new retail concepts, multi-channel approach to sales are constantly being introduced and fine-tuned. Under this diversified business model, a combination of different technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), big data analysis, immersive reality technology, and others may be integrated and offered. However, the consumer behaviour still commands utmost importance while considering these new technologies. The element of entertainment is the key experience factor, and is what encourages consumers to keep interacting with the brand’s products, to fully understand the story its telling, and to share their product experience with people around them, generating a new network of engaged consumers.

4. Cost Reduction

Immersive reality has a wide range of applications, and can be tailored for use in industries such as food & beverage (F&B), retail, housing, transportation, education, entertainment, and many more. A great example of immersive reality applications is exhibitions in museums, which is cost effective for both the museum and its visitors. Museums can showcase various types of relics using augmented reality, providing additional information beyond what’s available, and projecting the relics in 3D, where visitors can engage with these items directly, without worrying about causing damage to the relic. In addition to that, visitors can also enjoy viewing these relics without any distance restrictions, easily accessing and navigating using their personal mobile devices, reducing the need for the museum to purchase and maintain hardware.

Immersive reality technology is the basis of evolving the current consumer behaviour, bringing forth changes in creating a new experience and a different way of thinking. Through having an open mind, we can discover new sectors to expand into, creating new values for companies and consumers alike.