What is an Augmented Reality Car Dealership?
April 19, 2021
Augmented and virtual reality are gaining popularity, both in the gaming world and for use by businesses to heighten the user experience. According to data from Research and Markets, virtual and augmented reality is projected to reach revenues that will represent a 42.9 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for the period of 2020-2030. These figures represent worldwide revenue. Covid may have exacerbated the popularity and use of this technology as many businesses jumped online for survival. Even car dealerships began to embrace the augmented and virtual realms. Augmented reality car dealerships are accessible to shoppers online or via apps. However, these augmented experiences and their features may vary in design and in what they offer shoppers. WHAT ARE AUGMENTED REALITY CAR DEALERSHIPS? When consumers picture an augmented car dealership, they might have a space-age notion in mind. Augmented car dealerships, in reality (pun intended), may look different depending on the company and brand. There isn’t really an augmented reality car dealership, although in the future there could be this type of unique dealership. In our present world, however, there are augmented reality showrooms. And these showrooms may vary in design and function. Some showrooms feature augmented reality, others may use virtual reality. Auto manufacturers might offer their own augmented or virtual reality showrooms and local dealerships may refer shoppers to these showrooms. For example, Renault (in the United Kingdom) offers a virtual showroom. Individual dealerships offer their own virtual or augmented reality experiences. Tempe Honda (in Tempe, Ariz.) offers a virtual showroom on its website. The dealership also invites shoppers to schedule a virtual test drive, lets buyers apply for financing online…and more. The car buying experience can be ‘virtually’ simple. While many experiences online may seem ‘virtual,’ augmented reality showrooms are a reality, too. Unlike virtual reality, which takes users into a virtual realm for the experience, augmented reality includes graphic overlays atop a real-life environment. With augmented reality, a car can be set on top of a table, in the garage or in a garden. In January 2021, Engadget reported that Jeep would offer an augmented reality experience that was powered by Google. With the augmented reality experience, Engadget explained that users can peek inside the Jeep Wrangler 4XE and drop the vehicle into their personal space. The experience was set to debut at CES, but it will be available via Google Search, too. And, as often noted, Lamborghini launched an augmented reality experience to showcase its Huracán Spyder AWD. Users could visit Lamborghini’s website with an Apple device and see the new vehicle displayed in their own environment. The Huracán could be dropped anywhere. Users could then walk around the car and check out the interior. The website also included an interactive space to view more data about the vehicle and a video, too. Again, while dealerships sometimes had their own online augmented reality showroom, sometimes manufacturers provided the experiences for interested buyers. These weren’t necessarily augmented reality dealerships but, rather, augmented reality experiences that could enhance the shopping journey before consumers visited a brick and mortar dealership. AUGMENTED REALITY CAR APP Virtual and augmented reality car showrooms are often featured via a dealership or manufacturer’s website. However, this isn’t always the case. Some manufacturers go high-tech and launch their own app. Private companies also created apps that feature virtual and augmented reality showrooms. Some manufacturers use augmented reality for marketing purposes…and entertainment, too. For example, in 2017, Little Black Book reported that Nissan dealerships would feature an app that integrated Star Wars characters. The site explained that at the dealership, shoppers could choose from three vehicles—the Rogue, Maxima, and TITAN. A character from Star Wars would go over the new tech features of these automobiles with the user. This app experience was dubbed “See the Unseen,” as the highlighted vehicle features (like Blind Spot Warning) aren’t necessarily seen by the user…so the character helps to introduce them. Back in 2018, Daimler introduced the Mercedes cAR app, which allowed customers to use augmented reality to explore vehicles and create their own. The coolest aspect of the app was that users could actually drive the car in their environment. The cAR app amped up the user experience to create not just an augmented reality type of showroom but also added a bit of augmented reality remote control fun. The remote, however, was the user’s phone or other device! The app is, unfortunately, no longer available for download. Before Covid hit, Porsche launched its own augmented reality app. Back in May 2019, Car and Driver reported that the app Porsche AR Visualiser would allow users to check out a new Porsche at home. The app is still available via the App Store and Google Play. Create a Porsche and drop it in the real world environment. Users can now see how that new Porsche looks in the garage! RelayCars offers both an augmented reality app and a virtual reality app. Users can choose the technology they prefer to preview their potential new car. With RelayCar’s augmented reality app, users can drop a variety of different cars into their home, garage, driveway…or anywhere. With the virtual reality app, users preview the vehicles in a virtual showroom. In the virtual showroom, users can swap out paint hues and check out the interior of the vehicles. The augmented reality showroom offers similar features. Augmented Reality Car Dealership [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Augmented-Reality-Car.jpg] AUGMENTED REALITY CAR In these augmented reality experiences, how does the augmented reality car look? Many augmented reality showrooms and experiences are somewhat similar in design. That is, many of them allow users to drop vehicles anywhere…so the user’s world becomes the showroom. The appearance of the vehicle is a scaled representation of the actual vehicle. Augmented reality showcases the car as it would appear in real life. However, the car will be smaller in the augmented form. Even the interior is an exact replica of the real vehicle. This allows users to understand the appearances and features of each vehicle. Both augmented reality and virtual reality showrooms are designed to provide users (i.e. shoppers) with a remote and virtual replication of the in-store or in-dealership shopping experience. While the car can’t be physically touched, users can peek inside cars and get a visual idea of each vehicle. They can check out the interior design, view the information panel and peer in the backseat. Some augmented reality apps or experiences let the user create their own car. So, in this case, users can see what their final design will look like in reality. These more detailed and personalized experiences can be helpful to buyers who are looking to envision a more customized vehicle. Even consumers who can’t afford Porsche can download the app and build a model of their dream car. Who knows? That dream could be a reality. The cool part about these augmented reality experiences is that they sometimes allow users to play around with possibilities. This could be more difficult to do in the actual dealership. COULD AUGMENTED REALITY DEALERSHIPS APPEAR IN THE FUTURE? While an actual augmented reality dealership isn’t a current reality, maybe it could be one day. Or maybe the future is a virtual reality dealership! As technology becomes more affordable, consumers could begin to wear augmented reality goggles or glasses or virtual reality headsets. Shopping experiences could go completely online…and virtual. Imagine shopping for a new vehicle while wearing a pair of augmented reality glasses or a virtual reality headset. Perhaps an avatar of a salesperson appears and shoppers build their cars in a virtual showroom realm or in their own living room. Could that new car be created while standing in the garage? Social media sites like Snapchat could be the future of augmented reality car shopping, too. In fact, Auto News talked to Shane Dwyer, head of automotive for Snap, Inc., and gained some interesting insight. The site noted that there could be a day in the future where consumers could create their cars via Snapchat in augmented reality. Auto News also cited a Snap study that revealed that a quarter of Snapchat users who participated in the study were “very or somewhat interested” in augmented reality on their phones to do a test drive or research a car. The possibilities of augmented reality or virtual reality are likely endless. Twenty years ago, the idea of a smartphone would have blown people’s minds. Today, almost everyone owns one or has access to a smart device. Even teens! The concept of an augmented reality car dealership or one that exists in a virtual space might not be so out of reach. The question, though, is buyers and shoppers. Many buyers like the in-person experience. This could remain an option. Maybe in-person shopping will never really go out of style. But the rise of augmented and virtual reality could point to a greater use of this technology. For now, however, virtual and augmented reality showrooms provide a unique way for consumers to shop for a new car. The journey for a new vehicle can begin leisurely online. Shoppers can research different makes and models and preview them from the comfort of home using virtual or augmented reality experiences. Some dealerships may allow the shopping experience to be done online, too. During Covid, these experiences could be preferred to limit possible exposure. Even as Covid and the restrictions associated with the pandemic ease, sites like RelayCars and other virtual and augmented reality showrooms may continue to be popular. Shopping online has become—for some—kind of like wearing comfy sweatpants…a hard habit to break!
The Augmented Reality Showroom: Where Imagination Meets Reality
April 5, 2021
According to Statista, the augmented reality and virtual reality market is expected to exceed $30 billion in 2021. The technology is used in the gaming world (like Pokemon Go!), in the beauty industry (preview cosmetics), in home design (preview paint colors in a room) and throughout the automotive sector. All these sectors and industries share a common use of augmented reality: the augmented reality showroom. This unique showroom is where imagination meets reality. Consumers can use their real world environment and preview products. Cars appear in living rooms, lipstick color sweeps onto lips, and living room walls are painted in any color of the rainbow (and beyond). The augmented reality showroom can aid shoppers on their hunt for perfection and, for some business, maybe it even leads to fewer returns. After all, if shoppers can see an item on their faces, their rooms or even in their garage, the decision to click buy may become less intimidating. An augmented reality showroom option also could heighten the user experience while shopping. Augmented reality showrooms can transform the seemingly flat online shopping experience into something that is immersive and interactive. If a website offers an augmented reality showroom, shoppers may play with the technology for a while…instead of clicking through the website and moving on. The site UsabilityGeek stated in a headline that augmented reality was “the shiny new toy syndrome.” Although the site noted that the technology could lead to “obsessive use.” And, when used in retail, “…people have started making unplanned purchases- all thanks to the tech’s influence.” How is the automotive sector leveraging this type of tech-heightened experience? And how do augmented reality showrooms aid new car buyers? Let’s look at the impact of augmented reality in the dealership realm. Augmented Reality Showroom [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/The-Covid-Crux.jpg] THE COVID CRUX The impact of Covid on the automotive sector was devastating. Not only did the pandemic affect production, but it also impacted dealerships. The Drive reported that Ford, General Motors and FCA all ceased production during Covid; production plants shut down for several weeks in Ford plants to ensure proper cleaning and sanitation. Car and Driver reported that Subaru shutdown through early April (2020), Daimler closed for two weeks (starting in late March 2020), and Toyota suspended production through early April 2020. CNBC reported that Ford’s Chicago plant had to close twice when some workers tested positive in May; the closures were brief. In addition, CNBC reported that Ford’s Dearborn Michigan plant also had to be shut down briefly (in May) after positive cases were confirmed. Ford wasn’t the only automaker impacted by the spread of the pandemic. General Motors had to take on quite a juggling act when workers were out sick or in quarantine because of exposure. Fiat Chrysler and Ford took on temp workers. While car sales are now rebounding, National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) reported that new car sales in 2020 finished with 14.46 million units—a 14.7 percent decrease from 2019. HOW DEALERSHIPS RESPONDED TO CLOSED DOORS When shoppers couldn’t get into the physical location, how did businesses survive? Many had to pivot to online sales, and this transition may have been harder for car dealerships. Traditionally, the new car buying experience involved consumers visiting dealerships in person to check out different cars on the lot. New car shopping was very much a tactile experience. Shoppers opened doors, sat in the vehicles, played around with the features and took their favorite models out on the road for a test drive. Duplicating this experience required a bit of creativity. Before Covid, dealerships often offered photos of car models or used cars from their inventory online. Some dealerships might have provided photo slideshows that depicted these cars from all angles and gave shoppers a glimpse at the interior. The online experiences likely varied per dealership. During Covid, online experiences likely were a means of survival. Shoppers now had to limit their visits to dealerships…if they could even visit the dealership at all. While augmented and virtual reality showrooms were offered pre-Covid, during the pandemic these tech-savvy features might have increased in popularity. Shoppers needed a way to duplicate the in-person experience. Two-dimensional photos likely weren’t enough to provide the visual insight of the car. Dealerships responded with interactive showrooms that heightened the user experience. Augmented Reality Showroom [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Cars-in-the-Living-Room.jpg] AUGMENTED REALITY SHOWROOMS: CARS IN THE LIVING ROOM Dealerships may have offered virtual or augmented reality showrooms to provide online buyers with more detail about the cars offered in the dealership. While virtual reality showrooms transport shoppers into a virtual realm to preview vehicles, augmented reality showrooms overlay graphics onto a real-world environment. Virtual reality showrooms could be accessible through online portals or with the aid of virtual reality headsets. All vehicles and details in a virtual reality showroom are graphic depictions. That is, nothing in virtual reality uses any real world data. While the vehicles are virtual designs, they are completely accurate in their detailed simulations of their real-life counterparts. Augmented reality showrooms exist in various iterations. Many augmented reality showrooms—including RelayCars AR showroom—allow shoppers to integrate a graphic depiction of a specific vehicle into a real world environment. Using an app (in the case of RelayCars), users can use their camera to focus in on any area of the home or outdoor space. Then the car of their choice is dropped into this environment. The car can appear on a bed, in the living room or maybe in a garage. Augmented reality showrooms may allow shoppers to switch out elements of the car to preview different looks. Perhaps paint hues can be changed. Or maybe different features of the car can be examined. Often, shoppers can peek inside the vehicle for a glimpse of the interior and its features. Manufacturers and companies offering augmented reality showrooms may tailor their experiences differently. For example, Ferrari’s augmented reality app works in the physical showroom. The shopper can swap out colors and look at the inner-mechanics of the vehicle. The augmented reality showroom offered by RelayCars lets shoppers experience all different types of makes and models. The user can experience various vehicles in their own environment. These experiences can be a way to preview different cars but it also can help the consumer get acclimated to the idea of a simulated experience. Augmented reality showrooms require no special glasses or goggles, although users do typically need to utilize their smartphone or tablet camera. When physical dealership showrooms may have been closed to shoppers, the virtual and augmented reality showrooms offered online and via apps helped shoppers research cars and get an up-close look at their favorite models. When they found the cars that topped their wish list, they could contact the dealership and inquire about test drives. Some dealerships may have allowed the entire car buying transaction to happen virtually or online. HOW DOES AUGMENTED REALITY HELP SHOPPERS AFTER COVID? While the Covid vaccine is rolling out to the most vulnerable populations, soon the entire country will have a chance to receive the vaccine. The world may return to the old normal, but Covid also may have left an imprint on the shopping experience. Augmented reality showrooms existed before Covid. And after Covid, these offerings could remain popular for those who prefer to begin their shopping process online. Augmented and virtual reality allows the consumer to preview products at home, without commuting to a store, fighting traffic or dealing with crowds. Convenience could be a big perk of this tech. For car shoppers, augmented reality showrooms may help narrow down the wish list to a few favorites. Maybe seeing that SUV in the garage pushes the model higher up on the list. Even color preferences could change thanks to this tech. In the dealership, sometimes not all the available colors may be on the lot for buyers to see. Augmented reality showrooms, though, often let buyers switch out paint hues. That dark plum paint job could be the must-have hue, even if it wasn’t even on a buyer’s radar! Shopping for a new car could become a mix of real-life and virtual/augmented reality experiences. Virtual and augmented reality could be used for pre-buying research, with only the top models being investigated by consumers in the physical dealership. Augmented reality showrooms combined with other tools offered online by dealerships could greatly aid buyers in finding deals and their favorite cars. Augmented reality showrooms when combined with online customer service experiences could further ease the hunt for a new car. Dealerships often offer virtual customer service assistance via their website, and these virtual assistants can answer questions that buyers may have as they search for a new car. Even after Covid has dissipated, the virtual and augmented platforms that many buyers relied on to simulate the real-world experiences may continue to impact, aid and simply the task of shopping for a new car.
Designing a Futuristic Augmented Reality Vehicle
March 22, 2021
Thinking about the technology of the future may leave consumers wondering if we’ll all be driving flying cars. Or if AI will be in the driver’s seat. Augmented and virtual reality are integrating into our devices and our cars, too. Those back-up cameras that make reversing out of tight spaces easier utilize grid line overlays are an example of augmented reality. The future of virtual and augmented reality might change the way we drive, however. Could we see an augmented reality vehicle? It’s possible. Here are our imaginative ideas on what this car could look like! Augmented Reality Vehicle [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Augmented-Safety.jpg] AUGMENTED SAFETY Augmented reality already is a staple in many new vehicles. Currently, many models come standard with backup cameras. These handy cameras may reduce fender bender accidents, and, at the very least, make backing up much simpler (especially when parallel parking!). Backup cameras weren’t always considered standard, though. For many makes and models more expansive safety camera systems are an upgrade. This may include front cameras or cameras that show the entire view of the vehicle. However, additional cameras that feature augmented reality grid lines (like the backup cameras) could one day become standard. Since cameras could reduce some accidents like fender benders, maybe, in the future, research shows that cars are safer when equipped with all-over intelligence. AUGMENTED DIRECTIONS Today’s drivers may rely on GPS devices either on their phone or via a different portable GPS device. Many GPS navigation systems include graphic overlays on top of the real environment. Could future vehicles include a built-in GPS navigation system? The self-driving car may need to utilize this, as the AI driver might require a programmed destination. While using apps via phones is simple enough, as many new models allow for phones to plug into the entertainment system, having a full map system in the car would be pretty cool! Augmented Reality Vehicle [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Augmented-Reality-Windshield.jpg] AUGMENTED REALITY WINDSHIELD Digital Trends reported back in October that the windshield may be the new augmented reality home in your vehicle. The site explained that the company Envisics was working on incorporating augmented reality into the windshield in a heads-up display function. The technology, per the site, is found in Range Rovers. An updated version of the windshield will be featured in the Cadillac Lyriq (which won’t hit the market until around 2023). APPLE’S AUGMENTED REALITY WINDSHIELD Apple also may be delving into the augmented reality windshield. Back in 2018, the site Patently Apple reported on a patent application from Apple regarding an augmented reality windshield . Per the site: “The detailed patent covers a future augmented reality windshield system which also is known as a Heads up Display. Apple describes every aspect of their AR display system in painstaking detail. It even describes occupants of an autonomous vehicle having a FaceTime session between different vehicles. The system will even be able to detect and make adjustments so that a panicky occupant could remain calmer in the autonomous vehicle.” The vehicles of the future could allow teleconferencing…from the car! This could be an interesting feature in a self-driving vehicle. If the driver became the passenger, then the car could be another work or entertainment space. Self-driving cars are still in development, so who knows what augmented reality details they could feature! INVISIBLE-TO-VISIBLE TECHNOLOGY Nissan’s Invisible-to-Visible technology which is currently in development also could be an exciting prelude to augmented reality in automotive. This technology would allow the driver to wear goggles and visualize companion avatars in the vehicle (companions would need virtual reality goggles to join). In addition, the technology would show the driver obstacles ahead that may affect driving and can even find parking spots. Via the Tourism Scenario, the driver also could request a tour guide to provide recommendations about a destination. Invisible-to-Visible also could project beautiful skies on windows during dreary days! This could enhance the driving experience for weary drivers during long trips. PANASONIC’S HEADS-UP DISPLAY Car and Driver reported that Panasonic’s augmented reality heads-up display may debut in cars around 2024. The display can show drivers obstacles, enhance the lane lines, provide guidance on merging and alert drivers about dangers (like a car pulling in front). It also provides directions and alerts drivers when they arrive at their destination. So the idea of having in-car GPS…it will likely be a reality thanks to an advanced heads-up display. AUGMENTED REALITY VEHICLE…FOR MARKETING While augmented reality features may weave into the vehicles of the future, manufacturers are using the technology to create a literal augmented reality vehicle. That is, the vehicle is nothing more than a graphic overlay displayed in front of the user. Lamborghini used an augmented reality experience to debut its Huracán EVO RWD Spyder. The experience is compatible with Apple devices. Users can drop the car in their environment, walk around the vehicle and explore inside. Lamborghini wasn’t the first manufacturer to use augmented reality for marketing purposes, however. “Porsche Augmented Reality Visualizer App” can be downloaded via Google Play (for Android) or the App Store (for Apple). Users can design their own vehicle and place it in their real-world environment. The Visualizer app debuted in 2019. Ferrari uses The Ferrari AR app in the showroom to simplify and amplify the user experience while shopping. The app lets users look into the internal structure of the vehicle. Users also can change the paint colors and other features. RelayCars offers an augmented reality vehicle showroom for around two dozen vehicle models. Users can drop the vehicles into their environment, and even see if the new car can squeeze into the garage. The app also lets users see inside the vehicles for an up-close peak at special features. Those on the hunt for a new vehicle can use RelayCar’s augmented reality vehicle showroom, and dealers also could recommend the site to those who can’t visit the dealership showroom in person. THE FUTURE OF AUGMENTED REALITY So what does the future hold for augmented reality vehicles? We can only assume that the augmented reality windshield may become a reality. This could mean that the driver interacts with the windshield—kind of like a heads-up display—or perhaps this could be a feature for self-driving cars. As many tech giants are jumping into the smart vehicle playground, the internal technology of these cars of the future could be incredibly cool. Imagine sitting in the car and engaging in a face-to-face business meeting…with the boss’ hologram! Perhaps digital assistants take on a visual appearance. Maybe their services become more personal; their voice becomes tied to an actual presence. Perhaps every car manufacturer programs the self-driving vehicle with a personal driver and the user can design the hologram. Augmented reality features might not be the future for all drivers just yet. It took years for backup cameras to become standard. Many of these new tech features could be upgrades but become standard. Self-driving cars also could be too expensive for the average consumer when they debut. Still, the smartphone was once considered an upgraded luxury. Flip phones used to be the standard. Now nearly all teens have a smartphone. As technology advances, its older iterations may be much more affordable. When considering the future of a self-driving car equipped with advanced augmented reality features, though, we may be many years away from every driver or car owner having access to a self driving vehicle. When AI takes over the driver’s seat completely, driver’s licenses could be obsolete. In addition, our highway system could see changes too. Could traffic lights speak to our cars in the future? Maybe road signs communicate, too. And all this information appears via an augmented reality windshield. BACK TO THE PRESENT For now, in the present, our vehicles have the very beginnings of an augmented reality. Those who are buying new models may enjoy the standard backup cameras with graphic overlays. To find the way to a new city, the smartphone may display GPS information on the car’s information screen, offering directions via augmented reality. When consumers shop for a car during the pandemic, augmented reality vehicles in cyberspace may take the place of physical dealerships in a brick and mortar dealership. Sites like RelayCars may be the access to a new type of virtual shopping experience. Consumers can shop at their leisure by previewing cars in augmented reality and using these experiences to better understand the cars that are the best fit for their lifestyle (and budget). Instead of visiting dealerships with only a vague idea of what car they might like, consumers can have a well defined list with narrowed down preferences. This can simplify the user experience and keep in-person visits to a minimum (especially as the pandemic may continue to pose restrictions on capacity). Consumers also may be exposed to more augmented reality marketing experiences that provide them with a unique introduction to new makes and models from major automotive manufacturers. Being part of a virtual debut also could get consumers more excited about a future purpose and preview the models of the future.
Apple’s Augmented Reality is Getting Better
February 19, 2021
Augmented reality is a type of technology that allows users to superimpose digital elements onto their real world environment. Essentially, it gives users the power to combine the digital world with the real world. Many people assume that they need a headset, pair of goggles, or some other type of special equipment in order to experience augmented reality technology. But fortunately, that’s not the case. The only tool you need is your iPhone, and the augmented reality technology on these devices has become increasingly advanced over the years. A BRIEF HISTORY OF AUGMENTED REALITY TECHNOLOGY ON THE IPHONE The iPhone 8, which was released in 2017, marked Apple’s first steps into the world of augmented reality technology. This smartphone featured built-in cameras, motion sensors, and gyros that were designed to roughly map out spaces by identifying floors, walls, and ceilings within a close range. Apple also introduced ARKit, a new augmented reality platform, in 2017. ARKit allowed developers to build unique augmented reality apps for iPhone and iPad users. Since its introduction, ARKit has been used to create thousands of augmented reality apps that are compatible with most iPhones. Apple recently took another step further into the world of augmented reality by incorporating lidar technology into its iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max. Lidar, which is light detection and ranging technology, has been around for quite some time, but this marked the first time it was ever built into an Apple product. If you look at the back of either one of these phones, you will see the lidar sensor, which is a small black dot located near the camera lenses. This black dot emits infrared lasers that are invisible to the naked eye. The sensor is designed to measure how long it takes these lasers to bounce off of objects and return to the phone. Lidar technology then uses these measurements to map out the space surrounding the phone. It is capable of mapping out the size of objects in the room and where each of these objects is located at a range of up to five meters. For example, say you are standing in front of a chair in an otherwise empty room. By measuring how long it takes the infrared lasers to bounce around the room and return to the phone, lidar technology would be able to determine the exact size and positioning of the chair. This technology is used to improve the quality of night portrait mode photos on the iPhone 12 Pro and iPhone 12 Pro Max. But more importantly, lidar technology is used to enhance the augmented reality experience for iPhone users. Lidar technology can be used as part of the augmented reality experience to superimpose digital objects in complicated real world settings. It also makes it possible to hide digital objects behind objects in the real world, which is called occlusion. Including this technology on the latest iPhone models drastically improves the augmented reality experience for iPhone users. It has also established Apple as a major player in the augmented reality industry. Apple’s Augmented Reality is Getting Better [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Apple-Augmented-Reality2.jpg] HOW TO EXPERIENCE AUGMENTED REALITY WITH AN IPHONE There are countless augmented reality apps currently available for download in the App Store. These apps offer thousands of different ways to experience augmented reality technology. If you aren’t sure where to begin, here are some popular augmented reality apps to get you started: * Complete Anatomy: This augmented reality app gives you an opportunity to learn more about the human body. It is often used by teachers in a classroom setting and by healthcare providers hoping to educate their patients. * Snapchat: Perhaps one of the most popular augmented reality apps is Snapchat, which is a photo messaging app. You can use augmented reality technology to apply various digital elements to your photos before sharing them with friends. * iScape: Use this augmented reality app to see how different landscaping designs would look in your yard. The app superimposes digital landscaping designs onto your real world so you can see exactly how it would all come together in your outdoor living space. * Warby Parker: See how hundreds of different eyeglasses and sunglasses would look on your face using the Warby Parker app. This app uses augmented reality to superimpose digital eyeglass and sunglass designs on your face so you can shop with confidence. * Hot Lava: Turn your living room into an obstacle course surrounded by hot lava using this entertaining app. You will have to carefully navigate around physical and digital objects to successfully complete the course without falling into the digital hot lava. * IKEA Place: This app, which is similar to the Warby Parker app, allows you to try IKEA products before you buy them online. It uses augmented reality to superimpose digital furniture items from IKEA into your real world environment so you can see what each piece would look like in your home. * JigSpace: Deepen your understanding of space, historical events, science, and other topics using this app. The app uses augmented reality to help you explore these topics in a completely new way. These are some of the many augmented reality apps that are currently available in the Apple App Store. Apple’s Augmented Reality is Getting Better [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Apple-Augmented-Reality3.jpg] WILL APPLE MAKE AUGMENTED REALITY ACCESSORIES? For years, it has been rumored that Apple was on the verge of releasing an augmented reality or mixed-reality headset. It was reported that the headset would cost nearly $3,000 and feature 8K displays, eye tracking technology, and cameras to enhance the augmented reality/virtual reality experience. However, the company has never publicly commented on these rumors, so there’s no way of knowing the truth. A number of other companies, including Sony and Facebook, have already released mixed reality headsets. But sales of these headsets have been sluggish, which is why some experts believe that Apple won’t enter the accessories sector of the augmented reality market. But the fact that Apple has not released accessories yet does not mean that the company isn’t serious about augmented reality technology. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Apple has been quietly building more advanced augmented reality tools for its iPhones and iPads, which indicates that the company plans on focusing heavily on this technology in the future. Apple consumers can experience augmented reality using only their iPhones or iPads, which means it’s not necessary for the company to also create augmented reality accessories. However, experts still believe that Apple’s next step will most likely be releasing phone-powered augmented reality/virtual reality headsets or glasses. Because all of the computation would occur within the phone, the headset or glasses would only need small cameras and sensors to function properly. As a result, the Apple device could be far lighter than other models available on the market today. This would attract many consumers who are turned off by the bulkiness and weight of the current selection of mixed reality accessories. But this is all just speculation for now since the company is remaining tight-lipped regarding its future plans to release augmented reality accessories. Apple’s Augmented Reality is Getting Better [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Apple-Augmented-Reality.jpg] THE FUTURE OF AUGMENTED REALITY TECHNOLOGY ON THE IPHONE There are many predictions as to what Apple will do next with augmented reality on iPhones. Some of the most popular predictions include: * Sharing 3D scans: Some industry experts believe that in the future, augmented reality will allow users to scan and share 3D objects with others using their iPhones. Think of it as scanning and sending a 3D object instead of a PDF file or image. * Taking higher quality photos: It’s also predicted that augmented reality technology will be used to help users take better photos using the camera on their smartphone. For instance, this technology could help users choose the best angle to take photos from. * Vision assistance: The technology could be used to scan the user’s surroundings and measure the distance between the user and objects or people in their immediate surroundings. Using augmented reality technology in this manner could turn the iPhone into a helpful tool for the vision impaired. * Plant digital objects in real world locations: Apple’s Location Anchors technology could allow users to use their iPhone to leave digital objects in real world locations for others to see. For instance, someone could leave a digital version of the Mona Lisa painting hanging in front of the Eiffel Tower for other iPhone users to see. There’s no telling what Apple will do next. But one thing is for certain: augmented reality technology will play a major role in the company’s future. WHAT CHALLENGES WILL APPLE FACE WITH AUGMENTED REALITY? Even though augmented reality has been around for years, a lot of people still aren’t sure what it is or how it is used. Many people are even completely unaware that they’ve used augmented reality apps before. For example, hundreds of millions of people around the world downloaded and used the Pokemon Go app at the height of its popularity. But it’s safe to say that many of these active users were not aware that they were using an app powered by augmented reality technology. This lack of awareness could make it more difficult for developers to get users to download their augmented reality apps. If users aren’t aware of the exciting possibilities presented by this technology, they may not be motivated to search the App Store for the latest augmented reality apps. Both Apple and app developers must focus on educating users about augmented reality in order to get them excited about this technology. There’s no question that Apple’s effort to take augmented reality mainstream is still a work in progress. But Apple is a resourceful and innovative company that will undoubtedly overcome these challenges and successfully introduce augmented reality technology to the mass market.
Why Augmented Reality is Set to Transform Retail in 2021
February 17, 2021
While we’ve been barreling towards online shopping as the new standard for years now, it’s become exponentially essential during the ongoing pandemic. As more and more people look to the internet for a semblance of normalcy, ecommerce retail has come in to bridge the gap. Online shopping becoming the norm has been expedited by the need for fast, contactless commerce – while making up for the closed brick-and-mortar stores across the country. As a result, the growth of augmented reality (AR) technology has helped the ecommerce industry to thrive in a major way. By driving the increased dependency of online shopping, online retailers have been faced with a wide set of challenges – and advantages – as they rush to meet consumer demand. Keep reading to learn more about the ways augmented reality is set to transform retail in 2021. Augmented Reality is Set to Transform Retail [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Augmented-Reality-is-Set-to-Transform-Retail2.jpg] MARKETING AND PRODUCT LAUNCHES If anything has been completely transformed by the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s the way we’ve been able to meet and converge with each other. This means that live events, including product launches and grand openings, have been severely limited by social distancing regulations and accessibility issues. Augmented reality in retail is helping to recreate this corner of the commercial sphere by allowing customers and brands to connect with each other digitally, with many of the features included in live, in-person events. Using AR-enabled programs and immersive technology, brands can easily set up a virtual product launch, live video chat, or even holographically projected event regardless of anyone’s physical location. As long as there is an internet connection and the right compatibility between each user’s respective apps or programs of choice. Allowing online users to take part in these major steps of the ecommerce life cycle also gives brands the ability to open their events to a wider audience. International users are no longer impacted by their proximity to their favorite pop-up shops or products. With something as simple as an access code or shared URL, it’s possible to link up via mobile or desktop devices using capabilities like: * Omnichannel interconnectivity * Remote access * Encrypted data via cloud-based access points * Hybridization of online and in-person shopping Launch events, client parties, and even new product lines can be unveiled to the cybersphere – which has the potential to change the ecommerce industry as we know it. Augmented Reality is Set to Transform Retail [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Augmented-Reality-is-Set-to-Transform-Retail3.jpg] PERSONALIZED SHOPPING EXPERIENCES Today, we’ve become so used to getting what we want when we want it. Augmented reality has revamped this special brand of instant gratification in a way that can make shopping easier, faster, and more streamlined in the long run. AR apps allow shoppers to manipulate digital versions of their favorite products, and can give users the power to: * Virtual try-on features * Customize products instantly (specs, colors, and other details) * View stock levels * Connect with support and sales staff via live chat * Utilize AI-enabled shopping features for heightened experience individualization Rather than limiting support features and in-store assistance to the hours when there is someone “in the office,” augmented reality with AI capabilities can make up the deficit and give shoppers 24/7 support access. Providing shoppers with more agency during the buying and research processes, while also giving them a higher level of support to simplify the process, can boost sales conversions and return customers significantly across multiple specializations and demographics. Augmented Reality is Set to Transform Retail [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Augmented-Reality-is-Set-to-Transform-Retail4.jpg] IMPROVED CUSTOMER FEEDBACK FOR PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT While augmented reality isn’t a new concept, it has drastically changed consumer habits regarding shopping and researching new products and brands. More than 70% of consumers in a recent study stated that they would shop more often if AR apps were presented as an option. Virtual showrooming solutions have opened doors for shoppers, retailers, and manufacturers alike. Not only can customers try on personal items like clothes, jewelry, and glasses, but they can also see what larger items can look like in their own spaces. Take a photo of your driveway to see how your new car will look in it’s prospective home, or test out a new furniture setup with similar technology. Augmented reality isn’t only used to customize products based on customer selections and user-initiated content. Shopper data can also be collected by these systems and repurposed into personalization filters to bring the right products and services to their right set of eyes. Instead of spending hours browsing through an online or in-person store, having only the most targeted recommendations on the screen can cut a lot of time from each individual shopping session. Additionally, augmented reality can be applied to in-store experiences as well – which is ideal for businesses that plan to scale in a post-pandemic landscape. Mobile AR apps and in-store interactive displays can provide brick-and-mortar shoppers with the same level of personalization as ecommerce retailers. Linking user profiles with proprietary apps and accounts is one easy way to connect shoppers with their personalized content. Additionally, QR codes, links, and even biometric software can be utilized in a similar way, while providing an added layer of data security. Augmented Reality is Set to Transform Retail [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Augmented-Reality-is-Set-to-Transform-Retail.jpg] VIVID COMMERCIAL STORYTELLING AND MERCHANDISING From dish soap to apparel to even real estate, storytelling plays a major role in the customer acquisition and retention lifecycles. Augmented reality shopping has made it easier than ever before to express your brand’s vision, purpose, and offerings in an efficient and accessible way. Just like mixed reality experience provides a more vivid and immersive way to consume media, it’s also helping merchandisers and advertisers reach target consumers on a granular level. This type of blending reality with constructed imagery can help online users to enjoy advertising content without necessarily processing that they’re being marketed to. Creating a fun and immersive experience while integrating valuable informational and branding information has built a sweet spot for individuals who traditionally stray away from brands that rely on marketing and hard sales to generate conversions. Favoriable online experiences, such as immersive social media posts and videos, change the way customers and prospective buyers interact with the products and services they’re seeking. Additionally, immersive marketing promotes critical thinking and curiosity among those who might not otherwise associate with the brand in question. Some concrete benefits of using augmented reality to generate retail interest include: * Reshaping brand narratives using customized media * Hyper-specific targeting with AI-enabled data collection * Emotional connection building * Hybridization of in-store and online features * Ability to siphon audience participation for research and development From immersive videos to games and more, there are an endless amount of options brands can employ to utilize augmented reality technology for lead generation, increased adoption rates, and overall profitability. SUSTAINABILITY AND COST-SAVING BENEFITS One of the main reasons why augmented reality is reshaping the retail sphere is the reduction (or elimination) of physical resources in the sourcing, shopping, and merchandising processes. Rather than utilizing sample products, physical prototypes, and brick-and-mortar office locations – augmented reality has all but digitized the entire retail experience. Typically, online shoppers are limited by their ability to try before they buy. This leads to double-purchasing becoming a norm in the ecommerce sphere, which leads to product waste and storage costs to accommodate the inevitable returns. For example, shoppers might purchase a product in two sizes or colors to decide which one they’d rather keep. By utilizing virtual product testing, try-on features, and instant customization, shoppers are less inclined to double up on their purchases and retailers can expect online returns to drop to less than 2% (as shown by top brands in 2020). For large products like cars and furniture, eliminating the need for physical product merchandising and try-before-you-buy options is a great way to reduce costs for brands AND customers. Additionally, the time saved by rebuilding this process instantly can be translated to saved wages and operational costs over time. Eco-friendly shopping has taken over in recent years, and augmented reality is facilitating the trend exponentially. As more people search for sustainable ways to enjoy the commercial world from home, augmented reality is becoming a leader in the tech, ecommerce, and brick-and-mortar retail spheres. From increasing product accessibility to disabled and affected populations to simply making shopping more fun for target consumers, retail brands have adopted augmented reality in a variety of ways. Even after the coronavirus comes to an end, experts in the industry expect this type of immersive technology to stick around long past the pandmeic. Food delivery, clothing shopping, and even furniture delivery as we know it is being rebuilt by this form of mobile data management and media consumption. Receiving highly tailored marketing and advertising, as well as having tangible instant access to the brands they love, is solidifying augmented reality as the preferred method of ecommerce and in-store shopping across the world. Keep an eye out for the growth of these systems next time you go to buy something, and watch how augmented reality is set to transform retail in 2021.
The Future of Augmented Reality in Cars
February 16, 2021
Augmented reality is technology that allows users to superimpose digital elements such as images, text, and sounds onto their real world environment. Perhaps the most well-known use of this technology is the Pokemon Go app, which took the world by storm several years ago. Due to the popularity of this app, many people now associate augmented reality technology with the gaming world. It’s true that this technology is widely used in gaming, but it has also been embraced in a number of other fields, including the automotive industry. Even though the technology has been around for decades, augmented reality is still fairly new to the automotive industry. But it’s already made a significant impact, and experts believe that augmented reality will continue to shape the future of cars in the years ahead. Here’s what you should expect: HOW COULD AUGMENTED REALITY BE USED IN CARS? There are endless ways for automotive manufacturers to incorporate augmented reality in vehicles, including: * Navigational Tool * Identification of Points of Interest * Hazard Detection * Parking Assistance * Smartphone Notifications The Future of Augmented Reality in Cars [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/The-Future-of-Augmented-Reality-in-Cars2.jpg] NAVIGATIONAL TOOL Several automotive manufacturers have started to design vehicles with navigational tools powered by augmented reality technology. One of these automotive manufacturers is Cadillac, which included an augmented reality navigational tool in its 2021 Escalade. This vehicle is designed with a 14.2-inch center screen that displays a live video feed of the road ahead whenever the navigation system is in use. The system uses augmented reality technology to superimpose digital elements such as arrows and chevrons onto this live video feed. These digital elements make it easier for the driver to clearly see where they need to go to reach their final destination. Using augmented reality technology in this manner ensures that drivers won’t need to squint their eyes to read street signs or make dangerous maneuvers if they miss a turn. IDENTIFICATION OF POINTS OF INTEREST Automotive manufacturers can also use augmented reality technology to help drivers identify points of interest located nearby. For example, say a driver is running low on gas and needs to find a gas station as soon as possible. This technology could be used to superimpose digital pins marking the location of nearby gas stations directly onto the driver’s windshield. This way, the driver could quickly see where the closest gas station is without taking their eyes off of the road. The Future of Augmented Reality in Cars [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/The-Future-of-Augmented-Reality-in-Cars3.jpg] Of course, this feature can be used to pinpoint more than just gas stations. It can also help drivers quickly find restaurants, shopping malls, schools, and other points of interest that they may pass on the road. HAZARD DETECTION Automotive manufacturers can use augmented reality technology to help drivers avoid dangerous collisions. Built-in sensors are now found in the front, rear, and sides of many vehicles. These sensors are designed to detect changes in the driver’s environment that could indicate danger. For example, the sensors may detect that the vehicle directly in front of the driver has suddenly come to a complete stop. If a change like this is detected, it will be immediately reported to the augmented reality system, which will use this technology to display digital warnings on the driver’s windshield. In this example, the warning might consist of a red alert symbol superimposed onto the vehicle that has suddenly stopped. These sensors can also help drivers avoid colliding into a pedestrian or bicyclist. If a pedestrian or bicyclist is detected, the system can use augmented reality to visually highlight them. This ensures that the driver is aware of their location. PARKING ASSISTANCE Augmented reality has the power to completely transform the process of parking a vehicle. This technology can be used to help drivers quickly locate parking spots that are large enough for their vehicle. For example, if a driver is slowly traveling down a road lined with parallel parking spots, this technology can scan the vehicle’s surroundings to look for empty parking spaces. If a spot is detected, the system can highlight it directly on the driver’s windshield so it grabs their attention. The system may even project digital arrows and other elements to guide the driver as they safely maneuver into the parking spot. This feature can benefit all drivers, especially those who operate large vehicles. SMARTPHONE NOTIFICATIONS Drivers often take their eyes off of the road if they get a phone call, text, or another type of notification on their smartphone. But augmented reality can be used to help drivers stay focused even when these notifications come in. These systems can use augmented reality technology to superimpose notifications directly onto the driver’s windshield. For example, a phone icon may be projected onto the driver’s windshield whenever they receive an incoming call. The icon may also be accompanied by the name of the contact who is calling. If a notification appears, the driver can respond to it using voice commands. This may mean answering the call and having a hands-free conversation or using their voice to dictate a response to a text. This ensures that drivers don’t need to take their eyes off of the road in order to check a notification on their smartphone. WHAT FACTORS SHOULD AUTOMOTIVE MANUFACTURERS CONSIDER WHEN DESIGNING VEHICLES WITH AUGMENTED REALITY? There’s no question that the future of augmented reality in the automotive industry is bright. Automotive manufacturers will undoubtedly find countless other ways to incorporate this technology into the design of new vehicles. But there are a number of factors that they must consider when designing vehicles with augmented reality in the future, including: * Placement * Recognizable Icons * Smart Use of Animations * Color Usage * Hands-Free PLACEMENT No augmented reality system should be placed in a position where it could accidentally interfere with the driver’s view of the road. This is especially important when designing heads-up displays, which could severely obstruct the driver’s view if not positioned correctly. No matter how helpful the augmented reality feature, it cannot interfere with the driver’s ability to safely operate the vehicle. The Future of Augmented Reality in Cars [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/The-Future-of-Augmented-Reality-in-Cars4.jpg] RECOGNIZABLE ICONS Augmented reality systems in vehicles convey a wealth of information through the use of icons. But in order for the system to effectively convey this information, it must be designed with recognizable icons. Drivers should immediately understand what an icon signifies simply by glancing it. They should never have to consult a user manual to figure out what the augmented reality system is trying to tell them. Doing this would not only make the system ineffective, but it would also distract the driver and put them at a greater risk of getting into an accident. SMART USE OF ANIMATIONS It is important for automotive manufacturers to think carefully about the use of animations when designing augmented reality features inside vehicles. Animations are moving digital elements, so they could potentially draw the driver’s attention away from the road. As a result, these digital elements must be used sparingly and only when appropriate. For example, it would not be appropriate to use an animation to alert a driver that they are approaching a random restaurant on their right. However, it would be appropriate to use an animation to alert a driver of potential danger such as a pedestrian or bicyclist in the street in front of them. In the first example, the animation is not providing crucial information, so it should not be used because doing so would take the driver’s eyes off of the road for no good reason. But in the second example, it is appropriate to use the animation since doing so could help the driver avoid a potentially dangerous situation. COLOR USAGE Another factor that automotive manufacturers should consider when designing vehicles with augmented reality is the use of color. People tend to associate certain colors with specific emotions or meanings. For instance, the color red is often associated with danger or the need to take immediate action. If a driver sees a stop sign, they know that they must come to a stop to avoid getting into a collision. The color green, on the other hand, typically means go because it is associated with a green traffic light. Automotive manufacturers must keep these associations in mind when designing augmented reality features. Warnings that are designed to alert drivers of potential danger should be red, for example. This way, the driver will know that the warning is serious and requires their immediate attention. HANDS-FREE Automotive manufacturers should ensure that drivers can use all features supported by augmented reality without taking their hands off of the wheel. In other words, manufacturers should develop augmented reality features that are automated or controlled by voice instead of touch. For example, if a vehicle is designed with an augmented reality navigation system, it should automatically display arrows and other symbols whenever the navigation system is in use. The driver should not have to touch the screen to activate the augmented reality feature of the navigational system. Developing hands-free systems ensures that the driver does not have to sacrifice their safety in order to take advantage of one of their vehicle’s augmented reality features. THE OTHER USES OF AUGMENTED REALITY IN THE AUTOMOTIVE INDUSTRY Incorporating augmented reality technology into the design of vehicles will be a huge trend in the automotive industry in the years ahead. But this industry has already found countless other ways to use this technology, including: * Virtual Showrooms * Design * Repairs * Manufacturing VIRTUAL SHOWROOMS In the past, consumers visited multiple dealerships to conduct research on vehicles before deciding which one to purchase. But now, the vast majority of consumers conduct automotive research online without ever stepping foot in a dealership. In response to this shift in consumer behavior, many automotive manufacturers now use augmented reality technology to create virtual showrooms. Virtual showrooms give consumers the opportunity to explore the inside and outside of a vehicle from their home. For example, they can use augmented reality to project a true-to-scale digital vehicle into their driveway. Then, they can explore the vehicle just as they would if they were looking at it in a real showroom. Using this technology in this way makes it easier for consumers to get the information they need to narrow down their options and make a purchase decision. DESIGN Several automotive manufacturers, including Ford, are currently using augmented reality technology to assist with the design process. Engineers typically make clay models of every new vehicle design. If a change is made to the design, they must make an entirely new clay model that reflects the change. Multiple changes are usually made before the design is finalized, which means engineers usually have to make a number of different clay models during the design process. But at Ford, engineers now only make one clay model. Then, they use augmented reality technology to superimpose digital elements onto this clay model to reflect changes to the design. They don’t need to waste time or money building a new clay model for each change. Instead, they simply adjust the design of the digital element that is being superimposed on the clay model. Not only does this save Ford money, but it also drastically reduces the amount of time that it takes to finalize the design of a new vehicle. The Future of Augmented Reality in Cars [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/The-Future-of-Augmented-Reality-in-Cars.jpg] REPAIRS Some automotive manufacturers currently use augmented reality technology to assist auto technicians with repairs. Technicians at Mercedes-Benz can seek remote assistance from experts by putting on an augmented reality headset. The experts will be able to see exactly what the technician sees. Then, the experts can use augmented reality technology to project digital elements onto the technician’s screen to help them make the necessary repairs. For example, the experts may spot a loose plug or frayed wire that needs to be repaired. In this case, they can use augmented reality technology to highlight these issues so the technician can quickly identify what needs to be repaired. MANUFACTURING Augmented reality is changing the way vehicles are manufactured, too. Assembly line workers can now use augmented reality headsets to access information on a specific vehicle, vehicle part, or manufacturing process. For example, if an assembly line worker doesn’t remember how to put together a specific part, they can project digital instructions or a how-to video directly onto their real world environment. This way, the assembly line worker can easily reference the instructions while working on the specific part. They won’t need to ask someone for help or waste time looking through instruction manuals—they can quickly access the information they need thanks to augmented reality technology. These are some of the many ways in which augmented reality is currently used in the automotive industry. Experts predict that automotive manufacturers will continue to find new and exciting ways to use this technology to streamline production, market new vehicles, and create a safer, more enjoyable driving experience for consumers. [https://contentgm.s3.us-west-2.amazonaws.com/content_uploads/App%5CDynamicModules%5CItem/44509/the-future-of-ar-in-cars.png]
How Augmented Reality is Used For E-Commerce
January 22, 2021
Many people associate augmented reality with the gaming industry, but when it comes to this technology, it’s not all fun and games. There are countless ways to use augmented reality, which is why this technology has been embraced by businesses in a wide variety of industries. Augmented reality has been used to enhance the educational experience for students in the classroom. In the automotive industry, manufacturers use it to increase the efficiency of the design and production process. In marketing, brands use augmented reality to grab consumers’ attention and make their advertisements stand out. Because of its popularity, experts predict that the augmented reality market will experience exponential growth over the next several years. In 2017, the value of the global augmented reality market was roughly $3.5 billion. But industry insiders predict that the value of this market will increase to nearly $200 billion by 2025. Much of this growth might be driven by the use of augmented reality in the e-commerce industry. A number of e-commerce brands have recently started to use augmented reality technology to sell to consumers. Now, this technology has the potential to completely disrupt the industry. WHAT IS AUGMENTED REALITY? Augmented reality is technology that allows users to superimpose various digital elements such as images, videos, and sounds on their real world environment. Unlike virtual reality, it does not transport users to a simulated environment. Instead, it allows users to blend the digital world and real world together. Users can immerse themselves completely into a simulated environment with virtual reality, but with augmented reality, they simply add to their existing world. Perhaps the most well-known example of augmented reality is the Pokemon Go smartphone app. This app was designed as a game where users had to locate, capture, and battle Pokemon characters. Augmented reality technology was used to make it appear that the Pokemon characters were actually in the player’s real world environment. Pokemon Go is one of many games that is powered by augmented reality technology. But now, this technology is also widely used outside of the gaming world, including in the e-commerce industry. HOW DO E-COMMERCE BUSINESSES USE AUGMENTED REALITY? E-commerce companies have come up with many different ways to use augmented reality technology to grow their businesses. Some of the most common ways in which augmented reality is used in e-commerce include: * Preview Placement * Virtual Try-Ons * Virtual Stores * Virtual Showrooms PREVIEW PLACEMENT It’s hard to shop online for certain items, such as home décor or furniture. This is because consumers can’t see the item in person, which makes it more difficult to visualize what the piece will look like in the consumer’s home. However, e-commerce companies can solve this problem with the use of augmented reality technology. How Augmented Reality is Used For E-Commerce [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-230.jpeg] IKEA, the international furniture and accessories retailer, created an app called IKEA Place that is powered by augmented reality technology. Consumers can use this app to project virtual true-to-scale 3D models of different IKEA goods. For example, if you want to see what a specific IKEA couch will look like in your living room, use the app to preview its placement in your home. This way, you can see if the size, color, and style are right for your home. Using augmented reality in this way makes it easier for consumers to shop for products online with confidence. They are less likely to purchase an item that won’t fit or look right since they have the option of previewing its placement prior to buying it. Plus, it saves consumers time after making a purchase. They will no longer need to rearrange the furniture in their home to see how their new purchase looks in different locations. Instead, they can figure all of this out before completing their purchase. VIRTUAL TRY-ONS If consumers shop in brick-and-mortar stores, they can try clothing and cosmetics on before deciding what to buy. In the past, they didn’t have the option of trying these items on when shopping online. But thanks to augmented reality technology, that’s no longer the case. Many retailers now use augmented reality technology to offer virtual try-ons for consumers shopping online. One example is Sephora, a global cosmetics and skincare retailer that developed an augmented reality app solely for this purpose. Using the Sephora Virtual Artist app, consumers can give themselves a virtual makeover. They can browse through different Sephora products and choose which ones to virtually try on. Then, the app will project the selected item onto the consumer’s face. This allows them to try out different shades of lipstick, eyeshadow, blush, and other items before deciding what to purchase. Solstice Sunglasses also uses augmented reality to create a virtual try-on experience for consumers. On its website, the e-commerce company uses augmented reality to allow consumers to virtually try on different pairs of sunglasses and eyeglasses. These are just two examples of the many e-commerce companies that are currently using augmented reality technology for virtual try-ons. VIRTUAL STORES Building a virtual store is one of the more ambitious applications of augmented reality technology, but it has been done before. Airwalk was one of the first companies to launch a virtual store powered by augmented reality technology. The brand created its virtual store to promote the launch of limited edition sneakers, which were popular among skaters and surfers. To access the store, consumers had to visit certain locations such as Washington Square Park and Venice Beach. Then, consumers could use their smartphones to visit the Airwalk app and project a virtual store onto their surroundings. This gave consumers the unique opportunity to shop in a virtual store and purchase the limited edition sneakers before anyone else. How Augmented Reality is Used For E-Commerce [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-231.jpeg] VIRTUAL SHOWROOMS The automotive industry often uses augmented reality technology to create virtual showrooms for their consumers. Using augmented reality technology in this manner gives consumers the opportunity to explore the interior and exterior of a vehicle without visiting a dealership in person. Instead, they can project a digital version of the vehicle onto their real world environment and explore it from the comfort of their own home. Since today’s consumers prefer conducting research on vehicles from home, this is an important tool for every automotive manufacturer to have at its disposal. It’s become even more crucial during the pandemic, which has made consumers hesitant to visit an automotive dealership in-person. HOW CAN E-COMMERCE BUSINESSES BENEFIT FROM USING AUGMENTED REALITY? Every e-commerce business should constantly look for new ways to make the online shopping experience more user-friendly and exciting. Augmented reality has the power to drastically improve the online shopping experience, which is why e-commerce businesses should use it to reach new levels of success. According to a recent survey, nearly two-thirds of consumers believe that augmented reality improves the online shopping experience. Furthermore, over one-third of consumers surveyed said that augmented reality actually makes them shop online more often. In fact, nearly one-quarter of consumers surveyed said that they would not shop in brick-and-mortar stores as often if more e-commerce sites used augmented reality technology. Another survey found that 70% of consumers believe they would be more loyal to brands that incorporate augmented reality technology into the online shopping experience. This data indicates that consumers are eager for all e-commerce businesses to start using augmented reality technology. Based on these results, it’s clear that e-commerce businesses can use augmented reality to enhance the online shopping experience, improve customer retention rates, and increase sales. E-commerce businesses that fail to use augmented reality could lose customers to other competitors who choose to take advantage of this technology. How Augmented Reality is Used For E-Commerce [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-232.jpeg] WHAT ARE THE BARRIERS TO USING AUGMENTED REALITY IN E-COMMERCE? E-commerce businesses can definitely benefit from using augmented reality, but there are certain barriers that could prevent the widespread adoption of this technology. First, many e-commerce businesses are not aware of the many ways in which augmented reality can be used. This is a fairly new technology, so decision makers at these companies may not fully understand what it is or how it works. Some e-commerce businesses may be hesitant to use augmented reality technology because of its cost. E-commerce businesses must be willing to invest in order to incorporate this into their selling strategy. For example, a clothing retailer that wants to use augmented reality to create a virtual try-on experience must invest in building a website or app that supports this type of technology. The retailer must also invest in marketing this new feature to attract consumers. Many e-commerce businesses may be reluctant to use augmented reality because of the time and money that it takes to get it up and running. Finally, some e-commerce businesses may not think it’s necessary to use augmented reality because they view it as another trend that will eventually pass. However, this is not the case. As previously mentioned, the augmented reality market is expected to experience massive growth over the next few years. The longer e-commerce businesses wait, the further behind they could fall in the competition to attract customers. There’s no doubt that e-commerce businesses may face certain challenges when adopting augmented reality technology. But e-commerce businesses must be committed to overcoming these challenges in order to experience the many benefits of using augmented reality to sell to consumers. In the case of augmented reality for e-commerce, the benefits far outweigh the costs. 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Top 7 Augmented Reality Statistics for 2020 [+ Use Cases]
January 8, 2021
Augmented reality is changing rapidly, and during the Covid pandemic this technology helped businesses adapt from an in-office setup to a work-from-home virtual connectivity. This rise in virtual employment led to the demand for replicating an office at home. But it wasn’t just workers who had to embrace the virtual world. Schools across the country closed, too. Socializing went virtual. When we look at the top augmented reality statistics of 2020, we have to zero in on the role of Covid.Because Covid changed everything this year. Classrooms moved to living rooms or bedrooms. Those without desks at home likely had parents out hunting the stores for workspaces. The need for computers, tablets or laptops surged, too. Social lives changed. For children and for adults. There were no more group meet-ups. Even the dating world had to adapt. After all, how do you date during a pandemic? Especially when bars and other entertainment venues were likely shut or had limited capacity. No one knew who could possibly be a Covid carrier. And this hesitancy, this fear, also likely shaped the way the world moved…or didn’t move. Virtual interactions were safe, though. And, in the need for a reminder of old experiences, people had to find other options that didn’t involve in-person interactions. While virtual tours and other interactive experiences have been around for a while, Covid might have increased their popularity. So what were the top augmented reality trends of 2020? We’ll break down statistics for social, education and the workplace, too. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/image.jpeg] AUGMENTING OUR SOCIAL WORLD IN 2020 Augmented reality includes graphic overlays against a real life image, and augmented reality helped make our social world a bit more interesting when few of us could get out of the home. And many of us still may be only socializing with our nearest and dearest—think social pods! During Covid, many Americans augmented their social world. Or embraced virtual experiences. AUGMENTED REALITY GAMING Bored? Many of us were…and many still may be bored out of our minds. Life became pretty monotonous if we didn’t brainstorm new ways to have fun. Video gaming was likely a popular escape. Augmented reality video games could be played with friends, and many kids probably used gaming as a way to stay connected. A study even looked at AR gaming’s effect on both physical and mental health. The study included more than 2,000 participants, and the results were interesting. The study concluded that, “AR games have the potential to promote physical and mental-health during the COVID-19 pandemic. Used by populations under isolation and distress, such games can potentially improve physical and mental health by providing virtual socialization, sustained exercise, temporal routine, and mental structure….” However, the study also noted that more research is needed. While exact game downloads during Covid might not be available, stats taken from Sensor Tower Blog reveal that Pokemon GO has done quite well during 2020: * $1 billion (during 2020) * Player spending increased 11 percent over 2019 These stats were published in early November, so stats for the full year weren’t even available. Harry Potter: Wizards Unite has some impressive stats as well; Niantic and WB Games revealed the game’s magical first year statistics as reported by Pocket Gamer: * 10 million downloads on Google Play * Players consumed 850 potions in the game * Players sent 150 million gifts to their friends * Players walked a total of 400 million kilometers * Players took all the glory winning 275 Wizarding Challenges! While many gamers are likely still dealing with limited social interactions, and, therefore, living in the virtual (or augmented) space, 2021 might see those AR gamers head outdoors to play their favorite games. That is, if they have a handheld device! [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/image-1.jpeg] VIRTUALLY AUGMENTING OUR CULTURAL EXPERIENCES Forget museum visits. Exploring the vast spaces of artwork, science discoveries and history were likely not possible during the pandemic, although some areas didn’t have tight restrictions. Virtual museum tours also were an option (and still are an option). There were many videos on YouTube offering virtual tours of historic locations. Museums, though, were hit with a devastating blow during Covid. According to the United Nations: * 90 percent of museums around the world closed during Covid * 13 percent faced the reality that their doors would shut permanently. In a report titled “Museums, Museum Professionals and Covid 19,” the International Council of Museums reported: * 94.7 percent of museums were closed across the globe * Only 1.1 percent remained open * 92.6 percent of museums in North America were closed * 84 percent reported that staff were working from home * Only 26.1 percent had staff whose full-time job was dedicated to “digital activities.” These activities included virtual tours. * 55.7 percent reported that they had staff for “digital activities,” but that focus wasn’t their full-time job. * As for budgeting for online or digital activities (including communication), more than 35 percent reported that they didn’t know how much of their budget was allocated for this purpose, while more than 23 percent said only between one percent and five percent of the budget was reserved for digital. * More than 33 percent of museums reported they didn’t have online collections * More than 43 percent reported that their online collections remained the same during Covid as before. * Almost 18 percent reported that they offered more online collections after the lockdown * A little more than 4 percent reported that online collections only began after lockdowns * More than 18 percent also reported that offered more live events after lockdown * More than 16 percent reported that they expanded online exhibitions after lockdown [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/image-2.jpeg] AUGMENTING OUR COMMUNICATION: WORK, SCHOOL & BEYOND Our social communication dovetails into our work and school communication, too. Why? Many were used to socializing with coworkers on a daily basis. Children socialized with friends at school, during extracurricular activities like sports and in their neighborhoods. Of course, before Covid, most of us took socializing with friends, family and co-workers for granted. During the worst of the pandemic—and perhaps even now—many Americans are still limiting their social face-to-face interactions. The mask is the norm. So is social distancing. What kept students, teachers, co-workers, friends and families communicating during this crazy time? What helped replicate face-to-face interactions without the worry of spreading a virus? The screen! Most importantly, and most prominently, digital conferencing platforms like Skype, Zoom, FaceTime, WhatsApp, Marco Polo and so many more! The choices of platforms were plentiful, but so were all the fun options. Who wanted to look like they were actually at home? That was too boring! Instead, many embraced augmented reality. All those cool background choices like the beach? And those quirky crazy filters? Yes, that was augmented reality in your day-to-day communications. How much did American use these platforms during Covid? Here’s some stats from Statista: * In March, Skype had more than 59 million daily users * Zoom had more than 27 million downloads in March Back in May, Ipsos surveyed more than 1,000 adults (over age 18) for the Mozilla Foundation and offered even more data related to our videoconferencing habits related to lockdown: * Almost 60 percent use these virtual conferencing either for their job or just to socialize * Almost ¾ of young adults (defined as 18-34) use these platforms * 85 percent reported that they will use videoconferencing after the lockdowns * 54 percent expressed concerns about their home being on view (privacy issues) * Zoom was the favorite platform (66 percent!) Those who were unpartnered or who didn’t feel comfortable quarantining with a partner might have had to rely on virtual dates, too. If those meet-ups happened via platforms like Zoom or Skype, maybe couples had unique backgrounds to make those dates a bit more adventurous. Set the mood with a beach or maybe a romantic forest! Or choose something quirky? Virtual dates were a reality in 2020, and augmented reality likely played a part, too. A NEW YEAR: AUGMENTED REALITY IN 2021 In March, lockdowns began in many parts of the U.S. Since that time, many have remained working from home and using teleconferencing platforms to stay in touch with colleagues, managers, friends, relatives and, of course, teachers. Students may have started back to in-person learning only to head back home, some might have never returned to school. Others may be enjoying life in the classroom again. Others might be using even more augmented reality in the classroom…or at home for the classroom. Covid threw our lives into a completely different world. Looking ahead, will augmented reality continue to be a part of our lives? Or will we once again go back to the face-to-face normal? Ipsos’ survey revealed that most people would continue using virtual platforms. And some businesses could embrace work-from-home as the standard. While the pivot to a virtual workplace may have been strange for many, it did perhaps start to feel normal. Could businesses keep workers at the home office? Perhaps. Augmented reality gaming has been around for years; Pokemon GO has been popular since its release several years ago. The rise of AR gaming during the pandemic may actually have had benefits, too. When socialization wasn’t an option, the augmented world allowed gamers to experience something different. Maybe they mixed potions, found Pokemon, built augmented worlds or ran from zombies. But they could socialize. And get moving. Museums will once again open up. Although when that happens may be the big question mark. Some may be open now…depending on the area and the restrictions. Looking ahead, though, there will be a day when the old normal becomes the new normal once again. But what that looks like is really the greatest unknown of the post-pandemic future. Who knows what trends will stay, what ones will be left in the dust and what new technology could emerge.
Why Does Virtual Reality Make Some People Feel Sick?
November 20, 2020
For some, it is surprising that virtual reality ends up making some people sick. After all, virtual experiences between friends are meant to be fun and a way to escape from reality. Yet, the sickness caused is very real for those who suffer. The impact on a person can range from a mild headache to a total blackout. The problem is, most people don’t know if they’ll be affected until they try. Only those with related conditions impacted by lights or rapid visual movements are likely to have any awareness of the potential of feeling unwell from virtual reality games or experiences. Motion sickness is commonly known about throughout the world, particularly in regards to boats and cars. Seasickness is often largely triggered by the rocking motion of the boat and not much can be done to help the person feel ‘balanced’ (although some say that looking at the horizon can help). Almost all car drivers will at some point in life experience someone being sick in their car from motion sickness, while not the end of the world, it can be embarrassing for the person and also a cleaning nightmare for the owner. The simple truth is that some people are more sensitive to motion and balance changes than others. There are sometimes fixes, but for those that suffer, this sensation can completely ruin a boat trip or virtual reality experience that was intended to be some fun times with family and friends. So, here we look at what causes this phenomenon and some ways that it can be reduced in order for everyone to be able to enjoy the wonders that virtual reality has to offer. VIRTUAL EXPERIENCES CAN INDUCE REAL VOMIT EXPERIENCES It is known by manufacturers that certain conditions can be triggered by virtual reality headsets. For example, the makers of the Oculus Rift headset clearly state: “Some people (about 1 in 4000) may have severe dizziness, seizures, eye or muscle twitching or blackouts” This is regardless of whether a person has had a previous issue, although that would certainly increase the likelihood that they could be one of the ones affected. One person in four thousand doesn’t sound like a lot, but let’s put that into perspective: Approximate population of the USA: 331,000,000 1/4000 of that population means that in the USA alone 82,750 people could be affected by virtual reality devices. In many cases, this is triggered by either the sensation of movement that isn’t matching what the body is sensing or by light flashes or patterns that trigger a feeling of nausea, dizziness, seizures, or even total blackouts. Fortunately, for most without serious issues such as epilepsy, many would only experience temporary discomfort from the virtual experience. But, the risk of something serious occurring increases if people play for extended periods, so be sure to take breaks! [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-148.jpeg] WHAT IS VIRTUAL REALITY MOTION SICKNESS? Motion sickness is caused by the sensation of movement, normally when using transport such as boats, cars, trains, etc. However, in virtual reality, the user isn’t moving. So, how can virtual reality possibly trigger motion sickness? Well, virtual reality is quite a unique experience for the body. Our bodies and brains crave balance, and in general, that’s exactly what happens with our senses working in synergy. In the normal world, our senses work together and provide feedback on what is happening. However, in a virtual world, what is happening is often quite different from what our senses tell us. We could be in a boat or on a rollercoaster in the virtual world but are simply standing in the living world in the real world. It has been suggested that the cause of sickness is because the brain interprets the ‘incorrect signals’ from the body (as the real world senses don’t match virtual world effects) as intoxication. It possibly assumes that a person ate something poisonous or that the body is ill in some way, resulting in the feeling of nausea. Others have also suggested that lags in response times between a real-world action and it happening virtually could be the reason. The truth, however, is that no one really knows yet but that it is a real problem for those who suffer the effects. Many believe that it is this crossover of senses that lead to people feeling sick. Our balance is telling us that we are stationary, but our eyesight and hearing are telling us that we are moving differently in the virtual adventure. It confuses the brain for some people and causes different reactions, of which nausea is a common effect. This is often referred to as simulator sickness or cybersickness. Wearing the headset can cause other discomforts, with rapid flashing lights and high-speed games, people can suffer from headaches, sore eyes, blurred vision, and other aspects that can also contribute to the feeling of nausea. Anyone experiencing these feelings should take a break. While the symptom might be ‘ignorable’ to some degree, it could also be an early indication that a person is sensitive to virtual reality and it isn’t worth risking a seizure or blackout just to finish a level in a game. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-149.jpeg] HOW TO PLAY VIRTUAL REALITY GAMES WITHOUT FEELING SICK While not perfect or instant cures, there are many ways to reduce the effects of virtual reality sickness. The idea is to try and get the body to adjust to the virtual experiences, without the person pushing their limits and causing further or more serious issues. Consider trying games with other supporting devices. Driving games with a car seat that moves in response to the game or other interaction assists like virtual gloves can help senses connect more with the virtual world. Another approach is to try playing while sitting down. Some games even have an option for this. The benefit is multifold, as firstly the user’s brain has the comfort of knowing that they are seated, the game can match what they are feeling in the real world, and of course, they can’t fall over easily and hurt themselves. Finally, a breeze often helps those on boats and who get sick in cars. One of the first responses to motion sickness is to open a window or get up on deck. The breeze really can help a person feel better and is easily created at home with a fan. Of course, users can combine all of the above solutions as well. Start with games that are sitting compatible, have a fan near the game area (don’t make the breeze too strong), and maybe include some other devices that stimulate the senses and distract the brain from the real world sensory inputs. Preparation can also play a factor in how people feel. If playing a game after a night of drinking, even the most hardcore virtual reality gamers could end find themselves feeling a little green. So, once someone knows that they are sensitive, they should consider: Stay energized with snacks or a meal before gaming Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water Try motion sickness medication Stop playing if symptoms start to get worse [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-150.jpeg] CAN VIRTUAL REALITY PROVIDERS HELP FIX THE ISSUE? Virtual reality is mostly used for gaming and training at the moment. While some other uses are developing in industries, such as designing automobiles for manufacturing or virtual car showrooms, a lot of the virtual reality industry’s revenue is earned from education and entertainment. Regardless of the source of income, most of these uses are not ‘required’. They are not a necessity where users are likely to be willing to endure feeling sick to use virtual reality, unlike using a car or ferry as a part of traveling somewhere. Because of this, it is important that producers of virtual reality headsets also have a focus on making it usable by as many people as possible, if not everyone. As lag has been highlighted as an important factor in causing nausea, manufactures can look to increase refresh rates as much as possible. This would help to reduce the lag in games and also to provide a smoother and more realistic experience. This could also be combined with devices that allow the user to experience the ‘real’ sensory feelings of the virtual world. Devices such as treadmills that allow people to walk and run in the real world to control the virtual world. These devices could also tilt or adjust to fit the landscape. Sensory suits may also help, but the full effect of all of this is yet to be tested much, due to the present high costs of such devices. So, for those that suffer, at least for now, mixed reality or augmented reality headsets could be the best solution. Allowing fun virtual elements in the real world, and thus, overcoming a lot of the sensory conflicts caused by full virtual reality experiences.
The New York Times & Facebook Announce Augmented Reality Driven Partnership
October 23, 2020
People often associate augmented reality technology with the gaming industry, but the truth is that this technology is used in many other industries as well. Augmented reality has been embraced by businesses in various industries, including healthcare, automotive, manufacturing, and retail. Now, it seems media companies may also be ready to use this technology to enhance the consumer experience and grow their businesses. The New York Times recently announced a multi-year partnership with Facebook to create “augmented reality driven reporting.” The two companies will work together to develop a series of augmented reality filters and effects that will be available to users on Instagram. The goal of this project is to help Instagram users connect with and gain a deeper understanding of The New York Times’ journalism. A HISTORY OF THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE NEW YORK TIMES AND FACEBOOK The fact that The New York Times and Facebook are working together may come as a surprise to some, given the rocky relationship that the two companies have had over the years. In 2017, Facebook launched Instant Articles, a feature designed to help media companies create fast, interactive stories that could be published directly on the social media website. The New York Times was one of countless other media companies to participate in the launch of this new feature. But it was also one of the first companies to pull out after coming to the conclusion that it was a one-sided deal that did not benefit the publisher. This isn’t the only time that Facebook and The New York Times haven’t seen eye-to-eye. The former CEO of The New York Times, Mark Thompson, lashed out at Facebook in 2018. Thompson criticized Facebook’s policies that characterized certain news stories as political or partisan content. The CEO argued that this policy failed to recognize the difference between politics and reporting on politics, which in his opinion, was harmful to journalism as a whole. Facebook may not have been responsive to these criticisms at the time, but recently, the company has taken a new interest in forging strong relationships with media companies. Last year, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg stated that the company was committed to doing a better job of supporting journalism. This partnership with The New York Times marks a step in the right direction if the company still wants to achieve this goal. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-100.jpeg] HOW WILL THE AUGMENTED REALITY PROJECT COME TO LIFE? Launching this augmented reality project has truly been a team effort for Facebook and The New York Times. The publisher’s in-house advertising agency, T Brand, has incorporated augmented reality technology into promotional campaigns in the past. But The New York Times did not turn to the T Brand team for assistance with this project. Instead, The New York Times created an Augmented Reality Lab within the company’s research and development unit to bring this project to life. The Augmented Reality Lab is operated by more than a dozen employees of The New York Times. The team at the Augmented Reality Lab are responsible for developing the filters and effects that will be used on Instagram. The filters and effects will be created using Spark AR Studio, which is a platform for developers that is owned and operated by Facebook. The teams from Facebook and The New York Times will collaborate throughout every step of the development process. Facebook will be working closely with the Augmented Reality Lab team to help them understand the best ways to utilize Spark AR Studio technology. In return, the Augmented Reality Lab team will provide Facebook with feedback on what features to add to Spark AR Studio and how to improve the overall user experience. Even though this project is a partnership, The New York Times has made it very clear that its staff will remain in full control of the editorial content featured on Instagram. This means Facebook will not have a hand in creating the content that is paired with these augmented reality effects and filters. Furthermore, The New York Times will have full control over the design of the effects and filters. In addition to allowing The New York Times to use its Spark AR Studio technology, Facebook will also be providing financial support to this project. However, the terms of the agreement have not been made public, so the amount of money that Facebook is investing into this project is unclear. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-101.jpeg] HOW WILL THE AUGMENTED REALITY PARTNERSHIP AFFECT THE USER EXPERIENCE? The augmented reality effects and filters developed by The New York Times will create a more exciting and engaging user experience for consumers. The full catalog of augmented reality effects and filters will be available on the @NYTimes Instagram page. To see the complete collection of effects and filters, users will simply need to visit the “effects” tab on the @NYTimes account page. By tapping on an effect or filter, users will be able to read small snippets of information about current events. The small snippets of information will be superimposed over backdrops created using augmented reality technology. For example, a user who visits the @NYTimes Instagram account may see that the first story found on the “effects” tab is related to air pollution. If the user taps on this story, they will be able to read small snippets of information regarding how the levels of air pollution have changed due to the coronavirus pandemic. These snippets will be superimposed over an augmented reality backdrop that shows polluted air in a major city. In addition to simply viewing the effects and filters in this manner, users can also overlay the effects and filters onto their own images and videos to share with their followers. This gives users the opportunity to create their own unique content using The New York Times’ augmented reality technology. Plus, it is an easy way for users to share information on newsworthy topics with their followers. Neither The New York Times nor Facebook has discussed how many effects and filters will be created as part of this partnership. But The New York Times has revealed that the first group of effects and filters that will be available will be related to air pollution, the California wildfires, and the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage. WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF THIS PARTNERSHIP? The New York Times could benefit from this partnership with Facebook in a number of ways. First, The New York Times hopes that this will make journalism—and staying on top of current events in general—more exciting and appealing to consumers who otherwise would not be exposed to these topics. Encouraging users to create their own unique content and share it with their followers is a great way to introduce The New York Times to new consumers on Instagram. The publisher also hopes that the augmented reality effects and filters will help consumers connect with news stories in a more meaningful way. The technology has the power to transport consumers to another world and allow them to see what the story is about for themselves. They won’t have to visualize the devastating effects of the California wildfires, for example. Instead, the technology will help them see it with their own eyes in a way that photographs and video footage simply cannot. As a result, these news stories may have more of an impact on users. The partnership also solidifies The New York Times’ position as one of the most innovative companies in the news industry. Throughout the years, The New York Times has experimented with virtual and augmented reality on a smaller scale. But this project sends a clear message to competitors that The New York Times is not afraid to go big or go home when it comes to incorporating new technologies into their marketing strategies. [https://relaycars.gryffin.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/image-102.jpeg] WHY IS THE NEW YORK TIMES AND FACEBOOK AUGMENTED REALITY PARTNERSHIP IMPORTANT? As previously mentioned, The New York Times has dabbled in the use of augmented reality technology in the past. But this augmented reality partnership with Facebook is noteworthy for three reasons. First, this partnership represents a massive expansion of the use of augmented reality technology in the media industry. Expanding the use of this technology in the media industry could introduce countless consumers to augmented reality for the very first time. This could drive substantial growth in the global augmented reality market in the years ahead. Second, The New York Times only used augmented reality technology on its own website in the past. This project marks the first time that The New York Times will publish content enhanced by augmented reality technology on other websites. By publishing this enhanced content on Instagram, The New York Times could transform the way that social media users consume news stories and other content. Finally, the partnership could help bring the tech industry and publishing industry closer together. If this partnership is successful, other media companies may be more inclined to work with tech companies to incorporate innovative technologies into the products and services offered to consumers. It’s too early to evaluate the success of this project, but The New York Times remains hopeful. In fact, the publisher stated that they hope to be able to create countless other filters for the Instagram platform in the future. But regardless of the outcome, this project is yet another example of how companies are using augmented reality to create a more positive consumer experience and grow their business.