Published on October 24th, 2012 | by admin0
Brave New World – Shopping With Augmented Reality Apps
50 years ago, views and opinions of augmented reality were more science fiction than science fact. However in 2012, research into augmented reality, and the ways it can benefit users, couldn’t be more important. Augmented reality is a real-time view of a real-world environment, where environmental elements are ‘augmented’ by graphics, GPS data, video and sound. Many major businesses all over the world continue to invest in AR, however critics believe that experimental research into the field is wasted by brands looking for an easy PR win.
News that IBM has created an augmented reality shopping app has caused a stir in technology circles however, and critics believe that at a time where high street shops are closing at an alarming rate, an AR application may be more of a novelty than a useful tool. Although the app is still a prototype, it does sound promising. Shoppers will be able to register profiles with their personal data preferences, and then have products related to their personal profiles advertised to them. For example, if a user was allergic to certain ingredients, the app would only recommend foods that were safe to consume.
The app even contributes to protecting the environment, and can also be used on an iPad kiosk/evopad kiosk. If a user wanted to know how to reduce their carbon footprint though purchases, then the app would only recommend products that had biodegradable packaging. Users can even scan products with their smart phone camera, and the app will tell them how their profile relates to the product they’re about to purchase. IBM believe that in time, and with more people using the app, they’ll be able to create a social media ‘augmented reality’ forum, where users’ reviews of products will be forwarded to related profiles – pretty smart huh?
Whether the app will actually benefit shoppers is another question altogether. According to market research, users don’t seem too interested in scanning products with their phones every time they need to know something. Furthermore, with all the health-related information easily available on the internet, users are more likely than not to already know whether foods are good or bad for them.
If you’re a fan of online shopping, then maybe this app is for you. IBM say it’s speedy, easy to use, and will provide all the information you need on a product in a matter of seconds. If you’re not a fan of online shopping however, then you’ll hate it. In order to get the information on a product, you’re going to have to scan it with your smartphone. Furthermore, from clothes to food, many people like to touch and smell their purchases before they buy them. Senses play a big part in purchasing decisions, and users may feel distanced from a product if they can’t physically handle it.
In reality, this app has the ability to change the way people shop in a big way. The percentage of people that own smartphones has exploded over the last year, so the app already has an application platform. As long as product information is kept up to date, and users’ profiles can be easily linked to products that match their preferences, then IBM will have successfully integrated augmented reality into personal shopping. Whether users need an abundance of product knowledge when they’re shopping is another argument altogether.
This guest submission was contributed by Lloyd on behalf of Evoke Kiosks.