Professor Ko De Ruyter of Cass Business School recently noted that augmented reality (AR) has already positively altered the retail experience for consumers.
“Companies such as IKEA, L’Oreal, and BMW have added AR applications to their frontline service delivery,” De Ruyter told PhysOrg. “What our research shows is that AR is enhancing online and offline service experiences. The real-time and interactive blend of virtual and physical information results in a compelling experience of presence, where virtual objects become part of the physical world.”
To be sure, allowing consumers to virtually fit a pair of sunglasses to their face in a virtual mirror – complete with realistic head movements – substantially raises the customer’s perception of value for the online service experience.
“This results in the consumer feeling a similar degree of sensory input as if they had actually been in the opticians trying on the glasses,” he explained. “The consumer is then engaged in the experience of a self-paced assessment of what it the best product for them.”
As De Ruyter confirms, augmented reality clearly offers the potential to disrupt existing marketing practices.
“Embracing such consumer empowerment, organizations can gain the opportunity to enhance the service experience and, [while also] enabling personalization in traditional brick and mortar retail settings,” he added.
IDC’s Tom Mainelli expressed similar sentiments in a Recode article earlier this month, although he emphasized that the augmented reality space will require significant leaps in terms of hardware components, new types of interaction models and next-level applications.
“Another area of interest is the cameras, sensors, and microphones inside an AR device that will help capture where a person is, the people and objects surrounding them and, most importantly, what they are doing with their hands, their eyes and their voice,” he explained. “An essential element of AR will be the successful capture of human input on a device without a keyboard, a mouse or even a touchable screen.”
As we’ve previously discussed on Rambus Press, a new generation of intelligent sensors is expected to play a critical role in the evolution of augmented reality, with technology such as lensless smart sensors (LSS) poised to power future eye-tracking AR platforms and head-mounted displays (HMDs).
To be sure, lensless smart sensors are capable of optimizing future eye-tracking hardware via a combination of improved industrial design and lower power requirements. More specifically, LSS can be mounted much closer to the eye than cameras, while LSS-enabled Purkinje eye tracking, which employs fewer pixels than a focusing system, is more accurate than a camera equipped with a traditional lens. Meanwhile, AR and VR eyewear equipped with eye-tracking capabilities – such as those offered by LSS – reduce computational requirements for rendering a specific scene.