5 Ways Augmented Reality Is Changing Retail and Manufacturing

By Tyler Keenan

For years we’ve been hearing that game-changing advances in virtual and augmented reality (AR) are just around the corner. In the consumer world, however, AR has yet to become the ubiquitous feature of daily life that many boosters and prognosticators have hoped for. On the one hand,Pokémon GO may have opened up millions of users to the possibilities of AR. On the other hand, Google Glass did not.

That doesn’t mean AR hasn’t been growing, however. A report from IDC shows that AR spending is expected to increase at a rate of more than 113% per year for the foreseeable future. While video games remain the top driver behind AR spending, that looks like it may soon change. The sales, manufacturing, and retail sectors are all seeing increased growth in AR spending and may even surpass consumer spending by 2021.

In this article, we’ll look at some of the ways AR is already transforming the retail and manufacturing industries. Even if these developments aren’t as splashy as a phenomenon like Pokémon GO, they’re likely to change the way our products are built, maintained, and sold.

AR in Stores

In the coming years, consumers are likely to start seeing more augmented experiences when they go shopping. These may come in the form of apps that will need to be opened and connected to user-specific accounts, or in the form of in-store scanners and kiosks. So how are retailers using AR to improve the shopping experience?

1. Give customers more information about products.
In some ways this is the most obvious application, since many people already use their phones to comparison shop. A dedicated app, however, like that developed by IBM, can make this process even easier and more informative. With this app, consumers compare prices and features just by pointing their phone at a shelf. It could even rank and highlight options based on criteria set by the consumer: for instance, grocery shoppers with dietary restrictions could easily pick out gluten-free or vegetarian options from rows and rows of options. At the same time, someone browsing the electronics department could easily see peripherals that are compatible with their operating system.

This is just the start, however. It’s easy to imagine combining metadata stored in a database with machine learning and web scraping technology. Thus, someone who scans a can of tomato sauce might instantly see highly rated pasta recipes from Allrecipes or the New York Times, along with other necessary ingredients.

2. Allow shoppers to try before they buy.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, AR is making serious headway in areas where shoppers like to try out products before committing to them. Retailers in all kinds of different industries go to great lengths to allow shoppers to try out their products in-store: Think of the elaborately staged furniture showrooms at Ikea or the makeup counters in any department store.

L’Oreal’s Makeup Genius app turns users’ smartphone cameras into mirrors, allowing them to virtually try out L’Oreal’s products wherever they are. With the app, users can scan labels to match colors, try Go to the full article.

Source:: Business 2 Community

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