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QUOTES, COMMENTS AND BLURBS ABOUT THE EXPLODING AUGMENTED REALITY BUSINESS

It wasn’t until Apple introduced ARKit and Google launched ARCore, both platforms that make it easier for developers to create augmented reality apps, that companies, developers, and even the public began to see that augmented reality (AR) would become mainstream. Even though the technology for AR that overlays virtual images onto the real world had existed before, once these development platforms launched it became significantly easier to build apps. Since it became easier to build AR apps, there was a boost in the release of them on a scale similar to the adoption rates that Apple saw in 2008 when they opened the App Store. Ideas for AR applications beyond gaming began to percolate, and companies such as IKEA and L’Oreal started dreaming up uses for the technology that could enhance the customer experience. As with any new exciting technology—and AR is no different—many people have things to say about the possibilities and perils of adopting it.

Here are a few of our favorite quotes about augmented reality.

“I do think that a significant portion of the population of developed countries, and eventually all countries, will have AR experiences every day, almost like eating three meals a day. It will become that much a part of you.” —Tim Cook

“We wouldn’t have been able to touch this before [ARKit was announced]. If you even wanted to consider AR you had to work out how to do things like plane detection and for three guys in a room trying to make games, that’s huge.” —Travis Ryan

“There are a lot of issues that it opens up like for example who is allowed to place an augmented reality object where. Can someone from Burger King walk into a McDonald’s and place a Burger King ad there? What are the rules? It’s a whole new kind of field of consideration.” — Scott Belsky

 “A key part of that journey is making an open platform where any developer can create anything they want.” —Mark Zuckerber

“People are really craving for experiences such as virtual try-on apps, skin diagnostics and live streaming for influencers. Technology will only impact beauty more and more.”

L’Oreal demonstrated how it’ll soon allow customers of its NYX Professional Makeup brand to book livestreaming sessions with beauty assistants, likely the ones who work at its stores already. The assistants would then work with those customers just as they would at the store’s makeup counter.

“Facebook and L’Oréal share the vision that augmented reality is becoming key for product and brand discovery and purchase,” said Lubomira Rochet, L’Oréal chief digital officer, in a statement.

“We are at that magical moment when technologies have matured enough and consumer appetite for using them is growing everywhere. We are very excited about that new step in our long-term partnership with Facebook. One fascinating aspect of this partnership is that it keeps us innovating the beauty user experience. After having adapted our creatives and contents to a mobile-first world it will be very interesting to see how AR is going to change the creative playbook of our industry.”

Facebook has made numerous efforts to monetize its AR platform through marketing partnerships, including bringing AR ads to its News Feed, extending branded AR experiences to Facebook Messenger, and adding advertising-friendly capabilities such as image recognition.

TOP 4 REASONS YOUR BRANDS SHOULD ADD AUGMENTED REALITY TO THEIR MARKETING MIX

It wasn’t too long ago that augmented reality seemed like it would never become an actual reality, at least not on a large scale.

Of course, now we know better. Currently, many of the world’s most well-known brands are using augmented reality to improve their marketing efforts beyond anything that was ever possible before.

If your company has yet to do the same, you’re unnecessarily limiting your marketing plan’s potential.  

4 Reasons Every Brand Should Use Augmented Reality to Improve Their Marketing 

The Digital Age has seen more possibilities for marketers than any time period before it. Between the Internet and smartphones, companies have countless options for engaging their markets. With augmented reality, it’s become easier to make this engagement even more effective – leading to increased conversions. 

Here are four examples of how augmented reality can do the same for you.

1. New, Fun, and Buzzworthy Experiences Market Themselves 

Though AR has proven to offer a number of very pragmatic benefits, it shouldn’t be ignored that AR is also still a lot of fun. That’s important for marketers to keep in mind.

For example, Cadbury has been making delicious confections for nearly 200 years. No Easter basket is complete without one of their famous creme eggs, and they still run a beloved commercial from 1985.

Nonetheless, Cadbury still used AR for a Christmas promotion that offered a new filter for every day of the Advent calendar. Customers enjoy the novelty of using AR each day of the season, and Cadbury wins because these customers then go and share the images on social media. That’s free marketing for them just for providing a new, fun experience.  

Though a completely different company, Kate Spade, recently did something similar. The high-end fashion brand launched an AR app, My Little Paris Tapage, that acted as a tour guide for those visiting the City of Light.

Again, did the app directly market the brick-and-mortar store the company was promoting? No, but it was a lot of fun, which was enough to generate sufficient buzz for the opening of their shop. 

2. Personalization Has Become More Important Than Ever

The next evolution in online marketing is to add personalization to your website. In short, personalization is the practice of providing a customized experience to each unique visitor. So, for example, instead of every customer seeing the same selection of a company’s inventory, they see only those products they’ve proven to show interest in. 

74% of companies that use personalization as part of their marketing strategy have enjoyed an increase in sales. It’s hard to think of any other single change a business could make that would reliably improve their profitability like that.

That’s probably why Anthropologie turned to AR to transform its online inventory into a customizable furniture library. The company turned 96,000 items into 360-degree images that can be viewed in 3D.  

What’s more, shoppers can then choose from style, color, and fabric options – among many others – to customize the experience further.

Best of all, using AR, shoppers can actually see what the furniture would look like in their homes.

It doesn’t get much more personalized than that.

3. Apple Has Made AR Accessible to More of Your Market 

Not enough can be said about Apple’s role in bringing augmented reality to the masses. Much like the iPhone helped skyrocket the popularity of YouTube, Apple is now doing the same for AR.

When Patrón launched their augmented reality app, the tequila company’s VP of marketing was asked what their reasoning was. He responded:

“Augmented reality has been around for over a decade, but now it’s ready for mass consumption. With the release of the new Apple iOS 11, augmented reality became a native feature on their operating system. In the past, you had to download an AR app, and then find the brand experience, etcetera, so that you were finding a door to a door to a door. Now, with Apple’s immense consumer reach, AR is easily available on a mass scale. It’s ready for prime time.”

Apple remains the most popular smartphone manufacturer, meaning most of your market probably has a device in their pocket that is capable of synching with your company’s AR experience. This has played a major role in so many big brands adopting AR. It’s become clear that augmented reality and mobile marketing will soon be nearly inseparable. 

4. Adding AR to Your Current Product Is Easy to Market 

Despite how popular AR has become, there are still plenty of people who haven’t experienced a polished version of it.

Many of those people may be in your market.

Even among those who are familiar with AR, you can deliver a unique experience unlike any they have enjoyed before – and market it as such.

A few companies have already done this exceptionally well.

A lot can be learned from how Target used AR to double their Christmas tree sales this year. Instead of estimating the size of a tree, ordering it and possibly being disappointed when it’s unboxed, customers can get a better idea of what it will look like in an actual setting before placing an order. AR demonstrations and 360-degree views of products help to manage customer expectations, and likely lead to fewer product returns.

It’s not just major brands. Currently VacuumCleanerMarket.com is using our AR eCommerce solution to increase conversions during their holiday sales. During a highly competitive time, it’s difficult for consumer to make confident decisions. Using the AR viewer on the product page, allows potential customers to instantly preview the vacuum without the use of the app.

None of the companies in these examples actually changed what they were selling. They just added augmented reality to a part of the offering, which was enough to improve their marketing efforts. It wouldn’t be surprising if they actually reengaged former customers whose interest was rekindled by the promise of an AR experience. 

Augmented Reality Could Become Your Marketing Plan’s Most Powerful Asset

As you can see, unless some of the biggest brands in the world are very mistaken, augmented reality is an extremely powerful marketing tool. Expect to see even more household names adopt it in 2019.

Will your company be one of them?

Whether you’re ready to take action or still have a number of questions, NexTech is here to help. Contact us today and let’s discuss how AR can play a major role in your business’ marketing success.

ARITIZE SNAPSHOT: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AR, VR, AND MR?

WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AR, VR, AND MR?

AR, VR and MR are all acronyms used to describe digital experiences that allow people to feel as though they are part of a virtual world at different levels. With immersive technologies developing so fast, and thanks to the acronyms, many people are becoming confused as to how each differs. Hopefully the following information will clear up some of the confusion for you.

difference between VR AR MR
Augmented Reality (AR)

Augmented reality is the overlaying of digitally-created content on top of the real world. Augmented reality – or ‘AR’ – allows the user to interact with both the real world and digital elements or augmentations. AR can be offered to users via headsets like Microsoft’s HoloLens, through the video camera of a smartphone like our ARitize mobile app or without an app via advanced AR plugins like our ARitize eCommerce tool. 

While much of the consumer interest, investment activity and industry hype first focussed on virtual reality, augmented reality is increasingly becoming more prominent thanks to its lack of dedicated hardware. The accessibility provided by AR by not completely restricting the user’s vision along with the vast potential of untethered usage have increased its popularity. 

According to a recent report from Tractica, the installed base of actively used mobile AR apps will grow from 292 million in 2015 to more than 2.2 billion by 2019, representing a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 76%. As demonstrated by the phenomenal success of Pokémon GO – as well as AR’s rapid uptake as a tool in industrial and creative workplaces – AR has an opportunity to enjoy substantial success reaching large audiences.

For more insights into the opportunity AR presents, check out Why the biggest brands are running toward AR eCommerce and why every brand needs an AR strategy now

Virtual Reality (VR)

As virtual reality has evolved and found different uses in different sectors, several different definitions have emerged, most of which significantly overlap with one another. Discrepancies exist. The following elements, however, are near universal in framing what VR offers:

  • Computer-generated stereo visuals which entirely surround the user, entirely replacing the real world environment around them. Many believe this definition rightly excludes 360 video from true VR.
  • Content is consumed and experienced from a viewer-centric perspective.
  • Real-time user interaction within the virtual environment is possible.
Mixed Reality (MR)

In a mixed reality (MR) experience, which combines elements of both AR and VR, real-world and digital objects interact. Rather than just being added to the real world, the experiences instead are interactive to a point where they can be used in many applications. Characters and scenarios can be mixed real world surroundings. Mixed reality technology is just now starting to take off with Magic leap and Microsoft’s HoloLens as two of the most notable early mixed reality apparatuses.

Which One Is Right For Me?

Augmented, virtual, and mixed reality technologies are quickly developing. Figuring out which fits your brand best can be intimidating at first.  The core advantages for  implementing augmented reality is that the technology is easily available, the usage is intuitive and the adoption is far outpacing VR and MR.

At NextTech AR Solutions Corp., we can guide you through the many benefits of augmented reality. No matter what market you serve or how much of a budget you have to do itcontact us today and we’ll help you create a winning immersive strategy.

CAN AR BREATHE NEW LIFE INTO ECOMMERCE?

Ecommerce represents the single biggest evolution for consumers since the introduction of the mail order catalog in the 19th century.

This evolutionary step has advanced especially quickly, as well. Sites like Amazon and technology like smartphones turned something as simple as shopping into the kind of experience sci-fi writers used to imagine.

And yet, this progress shows no signs of plateauing anytime soon. Actually, just the opposite is happening. The introduction of augmented reality (AR) technology is ushering in a completely new era of ecommerce.

Those companies that are fastest to embrace  why they need an AR strategy, will enjoy a major edge over competitors who struggle to adapt.

3 REASONS AUGMENTED REALITY IS THE FUTURE OF ECOMMERCE

There are a number of reasons more and more companies are adopting augmented reality as part of their marketing and sales approaches. Many of these reasons are industry-specific.

However, no matter what industry you’re in, if ecommerce plays a role in contributing to your revenues, there are three very important reasons you should pay attention to the growing popularity of augmented reality.

1. Smartphones Are the Dominant Method for Accessing the Web

Far too many companies are relying on ecommerce strategies designed for a time when people only used traditional computers to access the web.

That’s changed.

Today, 77% of U.S. consumers own a smartphone, so it should come as no surprise that these devices now surpass traditional computers as the most popular way people go online.

Augmented reality generally relies on mobile devices to provide users with the experiences companies want to offer them. The unprecedented success of Pokemon Go already proved how quickly the market would take to AR. Manufacturers took notice of this, too.

Mobile devices and AR are a perfect fit for one another. Manufacturers understand this and are now designing devices that better support this technology. Devices that are unable to do so will soon be considered outdated. The same will go for ecommerce sites that deny mobile-users the experience of augmented reality that they want.

2. Ecommerce Takes Personalization to Another Level

The future of ecommerce belongs to companies that get personal with their marketing. Specifically, this means leveraging personalization to offer each and every website visitor a completely unique experience based on their preferences – similar to how an employee would treat them in a physical store.

In short, the days of one-size-fits-all content are coming to an end. The same goes for ecommerce companies that expect consumers to decide whether or not a product is right for them by using their imaginations.

Augmented reality is taking personalization to a whole new level in a very interesting way, too.

For example, our ARitized AR Ecommerce tool allows a user to take objects from cyberspace and see what it would look like in their actual living space. No more measuring for dimensions and then imagining what a piece will look like before spending the money to purchase it and the time to set it up. Now, users can decide whether or not the products right for their home before ever spending a dime or even leaving their homes.

Converse is another company that understands the importance of augmented reality and clearly has for some time. Back in 2010, a lot of companies still weren’t sure about what ecommerce was. Meanwhile, Converse debuted The Sampler, an app which allowed customers to see what different shoes would look like on their actual feet.

In the very near future, it will be a no-brainer for customers to do their shopping on ecommerce sites that support this level of interaction and personalization. Why use your imagination when you can literally see the results? It doesn’t get much more personal than that.

3. Still Represent Real Potential

Though smartphones may currently reign as the consumer’s favorite tool for enjoying augmented reality, a new king of the hill may be on the horizon.

While the fanfare surrounding Google Glass died quickly, that’s hardly uncommon for brand-new forms of technology. In fact, Snap Inc., the company behind Snapchat, is already promoting their third version of camera-outfitted glasses. One of the main selling points of these spectacles is the AR experience they can support.

What’s most interesting is that, despite wearable technologies like Oculus (which Facebook bought for $2 billion) and Magic Leap (which Google has invested $542 million in) that support virtual reality, augmented reality clearly represents the much bigger business opportunity.

By 2020, virtual and augmented reality companies will be worth $150 billion. However, only $30 billion of that will be for virtual reality (VR). Many companies understand the opportunity this technology represents for entertainment. The reason 80% of that total is going to augmented reality is because far morebusinesses will leverage AR simply to engage their markets and make sales. It’s becoming as essential as having a website.

With the likes of Amazon and Google getting in on the action, AR-outfitted glasses clearly have a major role to play. By looking through glasses, instead of a phone, consumers have both hands free to interact with any augmented reality that’s helping with their shopping experiences.

What many are finding surprising is that this type of AR technology is also finding a home in the fulfillment-side of ecommerce. Once again, fulfillment professionals can use both hands to do their jobs, which has proven to increase efficiency as much as 15%.

IS YOUR COMPANY READY FOR THE FUTURE OF ECOMMERCE?

Consumers will always use the Internet to research products and make their purchases. That said, how they use the Internet to do so will continue to evolve.

Augmented reality is the perfect example. Consumers want a three-dimensional experience akin to the one they would enjoy in a physical store.

Are you able to give it to them?

If not, there’s still time to harness AR as a competitive edge before the rest of your industry invests in it.

At NexTech AR Solutions Corp., we’ve turned AR adoption into an effortless and affordable process. Contact us today and we’ll walk you through each step of our proven approach.

WHY EVERY BRAND NEEDS AN AR STRATEGY – NOW!!

Not too long ago, augmented reality seemed like something from science fiction.

Of course, in the past decade, augmented reality has become, well, a reality.

Companies from a number of different industries have already discovered its benefits. More are sure to follow, which means, if you don’t already have an AR strategy in place, now is the time to start.

4 Reasons Every Brand Needs to Create an AR Strategy – Now!

With so many other priorities to chase, it may seem like an AR strategy is one that can wait. However, there are four very compelling reasons you should make it a major focus for your company.

1. Augmented Reality Makes Data More Accessible Than Ever Before

The Age of Big Data” was a term first coined back in 2012 to describe the years that were to follow, when data accumulation would explode to unprecedented levels.

While far greater amounts have certainly been accumulated since then, the vast majority of companies have been at a loss as to what to do with it. In most cases, big data hasn’t led to big insights.

One reason for this may be that a two-dimensional approach is no longer sufficient for analyzing data that can so thoroughly describe a three-dimensional world.

As Professor Michael Porter explained in the Harvard Business Review, most data is trapped on two-dimensional pages and screens while the physical world is three-dimensional. The gulf between the real world and the digital world prevents people from completely exploiting the volumes of information currently available. Fortunately, augmented reality (AR) closes this gap through a set of technologies superimposing data and images on physical objects and environments.

Professor Porter goes on to explain that augmented reality allows people to put “information directly into the context in which we’ll apply it,” improving our ability to absorb and act on it.

Many companies have been aware of AR’s potential for quite some time. They have years of experience using this technology in their product development, manufacturing, marketing, training, service, and logistics.

A number of companies have even been founded on this technology. Just one example is AcuVein, a company whose technology leverages projection-based augmented reality to map a patient’s veins on their skin, making it easier for health professionals to find them.

However, more and more customers are becoming accustomed to AR, as well. Brands  like ourselves, that can provide them a three-dimensional method for understanding product info  will find themselves with an enviable competitive edge.

2. Customers Love the Immersive Experience Offered by Augmented Reality

Of course, it’s also fair to say that a lot of the fanfare behind augmented reality is simply because customers enjoy using it. The technology is so new and unique that it benefits from a real novelty effect. In this regard, companies that create an augmented reality will enjoy greater engagement from their markets for no other reason than it’s “fun.”

This is no small advantage for the companies that wield it, though. Snapchat is the perfect example of what can happen when a company uses AR to engage its market. The company did very little to its actual offering other than add augmented-reality filters, but, even though their version is a very simplified one, the results speak for themselves.

Other companies have learned from Snapchat’s example (notably, rival, Facebook), but the social media giant isn’t resting on their laurels. In a leaked company memo, CEO Evan Spiegel confirmed that the future of Snapchat lies with augmented reality. They’re focused on three core building blocks of AR, namely: to understand the world via the Snapchat camera, to provide a platform of creators in building AR experiences, and to invest in future hardware in transcending the smartphone.

Clearly, their research shows that augmented reality is growing in popularity.

3. Augmented Reality Can Encourage Impulse Purchases

Retail companies have always implemented strategies that, among other things, focus on winning impulse buys. Everyone is familiar with the displays near points-of-sale that make it easy to quickly purchase one last item.

Ecommerce companies have done their best to adopt this approach. After all, the average U.S. consumer will spend $5,400 on impulse buys every single year.

Unfortunately, the vast majority of impulse purchases still happen in-store. One reason for this is that shopping online almost immediately puts the brakes on any impulse decision. There are always several steps that a customer must go through in order to complete their planned purchase, much less adding more items to their carts.

Augmented reality may be turning the tide, though. All the way back in 2014, Lacoste introduced an augmented reality app. Their “LCST Augmented Reality Retail Campaign” turned into a big win for the company as it allowed customers to “try on” Lacoste clothing via AR and then share the looks online.

This accomplished two things. First, more customers made purchases because of encouragement from their social media followings. Second, the “Snapchat effect” ensured increased engagement. As more people saw their friends posting images using the app, more people partook, leading to more sales.

4. Augmented Reality Will Help Retailers Embrace the Amazon Effect

Retailers may have an easier time with impulse buys, but they’ve struggled to adapt to the Amazon Effect.

This phenomenon describes how customers have come to expect an in-store experience that’s similar to what Amazon and other ecommerce stores offer. In short, they want engaging content without necessarily needing to speak with an employee.

As you can see from the video below, this is one of the many benefits that companies can enjoy in their physical locations by leveraging augmented reality.

Currently, one of the most popular ways retailers are trying to embrace the Amazon Effect is with digital signage, in-store digital displays with which customer can interact.

Augmented reality can provide many of the same – if not more – benefits without forcing companies to budget for the same kind of overhead.

Beginning Your Augmented Reality Strategy

Despite all the potential of augmented reality, creating a promising strategy doesn’t need to be some herculean task. As we covered above, even if all you do is use AR to offer a more engaging experience, your company could enjoy a banner year.

At NextTech AR Solutions Corp., we are making augmented reality a reality for companies of all sizes and across a number of different industries.

No matter what market you serve or how much of a budget you have to do it, contact us today and we’ll help you create a winning AR strategy.

CFN MEDIA INTERVIEWS NEXTECH AR SOLUTIONS INC.

CFN Media interviews NexTech AR solutions Inc. (CSE: NTAR) COO Reuben Tozman at the New West Summit 2018.

THE STATE OF INDUSTRIAL AUGMENTED REALITY: A SPOTLIGHT ON INDUSTRIAL INNOVATION

The State of Industrial Augmented Reality is an ongoing series of market research and analysis conducted by PTC. These reports explore the robust and increasingly complex opportunities presented by the Industrial Augmented Reality (AR) market. Tapping into PTC’s 30 years of technology expertise, 30,000 global customers, and 1,000 technology and service partners, the State of Industrial Augmented Reality series delivers actionable trends and insights across the entire IIoT ecosystem.