So you’ve heard the buzz around augmented reality (AR), you’ve heard the projected forecasted revenue for the industry, you may have even experienced AR for yourself, but what’s all the hype about and how can you harness its powers for your company or your brand? How can you ensure that any AR adventure that you embark on complements your business’s core offering, not clutters it? How can it support your staff rather than complicate things unnecessarily?
The most important thing to think about before you can successfully adopt AR solutions for your business is the ‘why’. Introducing AR solutions for the mere novelty of it inevitably leads to wasted resources. But how do you stay away from gimicky marketing or products and offer your customers or employees something that immerses them into a whole new world? How do you engage them with your brand in a way that they’ve never experienced it before, wowing them, provoking them to want to know more, buy more, interact with you more, tell all their friends about your company and products? The answer is as simple as you knowing your business, your staff and your customers.
The first step is identifying a pain point that is hampering your customers or staff. Like apps, successful AR experiences are those that address 1 or 2 pain points rather than trying to answer all problems in one foul swoop. Whether it’s the sales process causing friction, ‘hard costs’ like samples, shipping etc, being extremely high; the requirement to have better insight into customers’ behaviour to help provide a better overall service, experience or product; in-house training materials and processes putting new recruits to sleep; or even wanting to share a product, idea or information with customers before it’s manufactured or printed coupled with the ability to iterate it quickly and cost effectively without the need for reprinting and remanufacturing; you don’t need to know what the ultimate AR solution is going to be, you just need a crystal clear view of the pain point.
The second step is to find a developer who can use this strong insight into this clearly defined pain point to conceptualise and bring to life a solution to the problem. At Fuzzy Logic we love nothing more than the process of taking the seed of an idea and thinking up AR experiences that will not only engage and wow, but most importantly offer a real and meaningful answer to a well thought out business need.
Let’s look at some great examples of how companies have used AR to tackle a business problem:
- Dulux Visualiser AR App Dulux were looking for a way to help customers overlay the walls and doors of their rooms with dulux colours, helping them visualise the end result before buying. The app expedites the buying decision by saving time and effort.
- Ikea AR Catalogue Similar to Dulux, Ikea wanted to help customers visualise their furniture in their rooms, amongst their current furniture, before buying. Clients can also use the app to look behind doors of a closet, for example, and see how to assemble products. This all helped to break down the barriers to purchase and reduce the number of returned items after purchase. The IKEA catalog app quickly became one of the most used and downloaded branded apps in the world with a reported 8.5 million downloads.
- Landrover Showroom AR experience How do you show your customers a new product before the product has even been manufactured? By using augmented reality of course! Customers visiting 117 Landrover showrooms across the UK were able to don the Durios Dive device and take a complete virtual tour of the new Discovery Sport. They were able to change the colour of the car, add accessories and at specific points, animations were activated to demonstrate features.
- SAP® AR mobile appsThe German enterprise software giant has introduced two apps for industry, the SAP AR Warehouse Pickers app and the SAP AR Service Technician app, both used in conjunction with smart glasses. The Warehouse pickers app essentially eliminates warehouse pickers’ reliance on cumbersome handheld devices and revolutionises and optimizes their processes and completion times. The Service Technician app improves performance and service quality by providing hands free visualization, modeling and audio note functionality as well as voice-activated commands and the ability to virtually connect with technical experts.
Now I know what you’re thinking, these big brands have huge budgets to fund cutting edge AR experiences that smaller companies can only dream of. But here’s two small companies who reinvented two very different run-of-the-mill products and took their customers on a new and exciting journey:
- Marvin’s iMagicInternationally recognised as the brand leader and number one for magic worldwide, Marvin’s Magic wanted to harness the latest technology to create more entertaining and immersive magic tricks for their consumers. Fuzzy Logic created an AR app that, when used in conjunction with the unique, physical magic props, activates 21 different tricks with step-by-step, speech-free videos to explain how to do each trick.
- Skully-AR 1 augmented reality motorcycle helmetAfter a motorcycle accident in 2010 due to taking his eyes off the road for seconds to read a road sign, Skully-AR 1’s CEO, Marcus Weller, envisioned a motorcycle helmet that could provide a GPS map infront of his eyes while driving to help him navigate and avoid collisions. After raising $2.4m on the crowd sourcing platform Indiegigo, breaking pre order campaign records, the company are launching the helmet for general sale later this year. The helmet is enabled with a tiny heads-up display screen that provides an array of useful functionality including a speedometer, a 180 degree blind spot camera and mapping, all in front of the wearer’s eyes.
So as you can see, AR isn’t just for the big boys,smaller companies can also use this cutting edge technology to transform their business or brand, opening up a whole new world for their customers and employees.
In our view, augmented reality will be the foundation for the next shift in human interaction and engagement. So whether you’re looking to boost sales, focus on logistics, solve real world problems or just tell a great story, contact Fuzzy Logic to discuss how we can help you translate augmented reality into business reality.