Sony Creates HoloLens Mixed Reality Game To Promote New Smurfs Movie

What Happened
To promote the release of the new Smurfs reboot movie, Sony Pictures is inviting moviegoers to explore the Smurfs village in a mixed reality generated by Microsoft’s HoloLens headsets. Collaborating with media agency OMD, AOL advertising content creators Partner Studio, and VR production company UNIT9, this mixed reality experience asks players to explore various exotic locations taken from the movie and eventually find a “Lost Village.” After placing on the headset, players can use flat surfaces and tabletops as foundations to activate the experience.

What Brands Need To Do
This is a commendable effort on Sony’s part to leverage interactive HoloLens content to drive engagement and interests. While HoloLens is still limited in its availability and therefore low in consumer adoption, it provides a platform for brands to create cutting-edge immersive experiences that will stand out from the run-of-the-mill VR content many brands have started dabbling in. In the long run, this type of interactive experience will provide the digital assets crucial for establishing franchises. When it comes to picking the right immersive content platform to develop content for, brands need to take its long-term value into considerations and chose one that best fits their campaign objectives.

How We Can Help
Our dedicated team of VR experts is here to guide marketers through the distribution landscape. We work closely with brands to develop sustainable VR content strategies to promote branded VR and 360 video content across various apps and platforms. With our proprietary technology stack powered by a combination of best-in-class VR partners and backed by the media fire-power of IPG Mediabrands, we offer customized solutions for distributing and measuring branded VR content that truly enhance brand messaging and contribute to the campaign objectives.

If you’d like to learn more about how the Lab can help you tap into the immersive power of VR content to engage with customers, please contact our Client Services Director Samantha Barrett (samantha@ipglab.com) to schedule a visit to the Lab.

 


Source: VRScout

Header image courtesy of AOL Global Partner Studios

Amazon Plans More Brick-And-Mortar Stores To Sell Electronics And Furniture

What Happened
As reported by the New York Times, Amazon is “exploring” the possibility of opening more tech-powered brick-and-mortar stores to sell furniture, home appliances, and consumer electronics. Augmented reality-powered tools will be installed in the furniture store for a virtual preview, whereas the planned electronics store that would be similar to the concept of Apple Store, but with a “heavy emphasis” on hardware and services like Echo speakers and Prime Video.

Amazon has already opened five physical bookstores across the country, with more planned to open later this year, including one in Manhattan. In addition, the ecommerce giant is also nearing the opening of its cashier-less grocery store concept of Amazon Go.

What Brands Need To Do
Make no mistake, Amazon is determined to make major inroads into the brick-and-mortar retail market after dominating the ecommerce market for years, and it has all the customer data and retail technologies to back it up. This imminent grand entry should sound the alarm for all retailers and CPG brands who rely on traditional retail distributions, who should have started preparing to compete with Amazon in the offline world yesterday. Walmart, for example, announced the launch of a tech incubator focused on virtual reality and artificial intelligence to boost its retail smarts. More retailers need to start equipping themselves with new technologies in order to deliver a digitally enhanced retail experience and fight off Amazon’s advances.


Source: New York Times

Sephora Partners With ModiFace To Break Down Makeup Looks In AR

What Happened
Sephora is betting big on augmented realities. The beauty retailer is working with AR technology provider ModiFace to perfect facial recognition technology for virtual makeup features in its mobile apps for customers to digitally try on products. According to Bridget Dolan, VP of the Sephora Innovation Lab, the technology can break down one virtual makeup application into a step-by-step layering process, while maintaining critical accuracy and reaching mass scale.

In its mobile app, Sephora has fleshed out its augmented reality offerings with a newly launched Virtual Artist tutorial feature that aims to drive purchases via virtual sampling and step-by-step tutorials. Once they are done with the AR-enabled tutorials, an “add to cart” button allows the testers to add products featured in the tutorials into their shopping carts.

What Beauty Brands Need To Do
Increasingly we are seeing beauty brands incorporating AR technologies into their products and services. L’Oreal’s Makeup Genius app and the BeautyU app from Covergirl are good examples of how beauty brands can leverage the advanced capabilities of smartphones to provide extra utility throughout the consumer journey. Beyond driving sales, those digital tutorials also help brands to collect behavioral data on individual user’s beauty needs and interests so as to better serve their customers with personalized offers.

How We Can Help
The Lab has extensive experience working with beauty clients to create and implement digitally enhanced retail experiences. The recently-opened NYX Cosmetics store at Union Square is a proud showcase of our team’s work in this space and elevated NYX as one of the most innovative digital beauty brands of 2016 named by WWD. If you’d like to learn more about how your brand can develop and implement digital-driven solutions to modernize your beauty retail experience, please contact our Client Services Director Samantha Holland (samantha@ipglab.com) to schedule a visit to the Lab.

 


Source: Glossy

Adobe To Supercharge Retail Management With HoloLens Apps

What Happened
Adobe has created three apps for Microsoft HoloLens that aims to supercharge retail management via data visualization. As reported by ZDNet, the trio of new AR apps consist of:

• Traffic paths. Using the HoloLens, store managers can view augmented data above the floor of a store showing what percentage of people have traveled down those paths. This would likely be recorded with beacons or cameras.

• Digital mirror overlays. By overlaying graphics onto a smart mirror, a store manager can see information about user demographics, such as how many items have been tried on in which color, and how many of those purchases converted

• Giving voice agents an augmented display. Screens provide a canvas for rich information display and interactivity that isn’t practical with voice output, at least today. By taking advantage of a virtual display, HoloLens users can interact with an agent such as Cortana and see visualized analytic information about their businesses wherever they might be in a room.

What Brands Need To Do
These new AR apps developed by Adobe highlight the potential of augmented reality in business use cases, granting retail managers the superpower of understanding customer behaviors and traffic patterns in stores in real time, which, in turn, allows them to more effectively allocate their resources and offer better customer services.

This retail use case is but one of the many ways augmented reality will transform the customer experience and help brands blend their digital assets into real-world scenarios. As AR technology continues to develop apace, more brands need to start thinking about ways that they can leverage it to create an enhanced customer experience with contextual and personalized offers.


Source: ZDNet

 

Pottery Barn Experiments With AR To Offer Virtual Furniture Previews

What Happened
Pottery Barn joins a growing list of lifestyle and home goods brands that are experimenting with mobile-based augmented reality technology to create a better shopping experience. The company is set to launch a 3D Room View app, which will allow users to add and move holographic models of furniture items in your room. They can also change the color of certain items to see what fits their room decor best before they purchase.

The app is built upon Google’s Tango AR platform. Pottery Barn says the preview service will start with a trial program in San Francisco, although the app will be available for all to download later this month.The company also has two other AR-powered web-based virtual preview tools in the works.  

What Brands Need To Do
Many of Pottery Barn’s competitors, such as IKEA, Lowe’s, and Wayfair, have launched their own AR-powered preview apps, so it makes sense for Pottery Barn to catch up. Choosing to build the app on Google’s Tango AR platform limits the mobile devices that it can run on, but it works as a starting point as the Tango-enabled tools are intended for in-store demonstration only. As more and more furniture sellers embrace AR technology to address one of the biggest concerns of online furniture shoppers – “how will this item look in my room?” – more opportunities that AR can enable for the online customer experience await for brands to explore.

If you’d like to get some help to figure out how augmented reality can enhance your customer experience and drive new opportunities for your brand, or simply to try out the HoloLens demo we have to experience the transformative power of AR, please contact our Client Services Director Samantha Holland (samantha@ipglab.com) to schedule a visit to the Lab.

 


Source: Engadget

Header image is a promotional image courtesy of Pottery Barn

SXSW 2017: Camera-Enabled Interfaces Usher In New AR Possibilities

What Happened
One trend that is evident at this year’s SXSW festival is that camera-enabled interfaces – digital interfaces that rely on cameras to work – are being adopted by more and more tech companies to deliver an AR-powered user experience.

There’s the YouCam smart mirror that can apply virtual makeup to your face and switch between different looks as a preview tool. They are teaming up with e.l.f. Cosmetics to host a livestream event to showcase the makeup brand’s product aided by its AR magic. Equally fun is the Philm app, whose live art filters will turn your boring selfies into artfully rendered images several styles, such as French oil painting or comic book drawing.

On the more sophisticated side of the AR spectrum, Sony brought back its projector-based touchscreen technology to SXSW and combined it with some unique user interface design to allow users to control holographic objects by gesture. Similarly, there is Lampix, an AR startup whose motion-sensing technology and cloud-based platform can transform any surface into a touchscreen that people can interact with.

What Brands Need To Do
All these serve as the latest examples of how brands can leverage the advanced capabilities of smartphones, especially the ease of image input via the phone’s camera, to bring the user experience to the next level. Such camera-enabled advanced interfaces are a great way to introduce AR technology to your brand’s digital assets and deliver an engaging customer experience. Brands should take advantage of this trend to experiment with camera-enabled AR interfaces and interactive experiences.

If you’d like to get some help to figure out how augmented reality can enhance your customer experience and drive new opportunities for your brand, or simply to try out the HoloLens demo we have to experience the transformative power of AR, please contact our Client Services Director Samantha Holland (samantha@ipglab.com) to schedule a visit to the Lab.

 


Sources: as linked in the article

Shazam Adds AR Capabilities To Its Music Recognition App

What Happened
Shazam has launched an augmented reality (AR) platform to its eponymous music recognition app, allowing users to unlock 3D animations and product visualizations by scanning Shazam codes in the app. The company first branched out to visual recognition in 2015, letting users scan a mini-Shazam code (think QR-codes) to unlock extra digital content on their smartphones. Shazam’s new AR code-scanning technology will be powered by Zappar, a London-based AR startup, and will be available for users and brands worldwide.

What Brands Need To Do
While the AR technology that Shazam is integrating is not exactly new, what it does bring to the table is the massive global reach of its app, which recently surpassed the milestone of one billion downloads. By launching this AR platform, Shazam effectively gave tens of millions of smartphone users a quick and easy way to unlock AR content on their mobile devices. Brands should take advantage of this new platform to experiment with AR content and add fun, interactive experiences to their posters and packagings.  

If you’d like to get some help to figure out how augmented reality can enhance your customer experience and drive new opportunities for your brand, or simply to try out the HoloLens demo we have to experience the transformative power of AR, please contact our Client Services Director Samantha Holland (samantha@ipglab.com) to schedule a visit to the Lab.

 


Source: Business Wire

Header image courtesy of Shazam’s press release

Nike Deploys AR In Store To Demo Customized Shoes

What Happened
A Nike store in Paris has started using augmented reality to show customers what their personalized running shoes would look like. Working with SmartPixels, a French AR company, Nike is letting customers configure the colors of a running shoe on a store tablet and use a hologram projector to overlay the colors onto an actual white shoe. This way, Nike hopes to give customers a better look at how their customization would look in physical form as opposed to a flat digital rendering.  

What Brands Need To Do
Pokémon Go introduced U.S. consumers to mobile AR technology last summer, but brands are only starting to explore the possibilities that AR marketing brings. At this year’s CES, we saw brands like BMW and Gap showcased AR apps made for product demos. And this AR initiative from Nike points to a new way that retail and fashion brands can experiment with AR technologies and deliver a captivating customer experience.

If you’d like to get some help to figure out how augmented reality can enhance your customer experience and drive new opportunities for your brand, or simply to try out the HoloLens demo we have to experience the transformative power of AR, please contact our Client Services Director Samantha Holland (samantha@ipglab.com) to schedule a visit to the Lab.

 


Source: VentureBeat

Baidu Begins Integrating AR Into Search And Exploring AR Marketing

What Happened
Baidu, typically regarded as “China’s Google,” has launched an AR lab to develop and deploy AR services in a variety of areas. Baidu has been actively experimenting with augmented reality for two years and has shipped some basic AR-powered features with its Baidu search and map apps. Baidu is also reportedly working with a number of big-name brands including L’Oreal, KFC, and Lancôme for AR ads that allow Chinese consumers to interact with virtual products on their mobile devices. Besides Baidu, Chinese tech giants Tencent and Alibaba have both came out with scavenger hunt-like games that hide AR coupons around real-world locations for consumers to discover.

What Brands Need To Do
Pokémon Go introduced U.S. consumers to mobile AR technology last summer, but brands are only starting to explore the possibilities that AR marketing brings. At this year’s CES, we saw brands like BMW and Gap showcased AR apps made for product demos. New York Times created an AR game for 20th Century Fox to promote movie Hidden Figures. Baidu’s AR initiatives point to many ways that brands can experiment with AR technologies and deliver an interesting customer experience.

If you’d like to get some help to figure out how augmented reality can enhance your customer experience and drive new opportunities for your brand, or simply to try out the HoloLens demo we have to experience the transformative power of AR, please contact our Client Services Director Samantha Holland (samantha@ipglab.com) to schedule a visit to the Lab.

 


Source: Forbes

Realtor.com Previews New App Feature Powered By Augmented Reality

What Happened
Realtor.com is developing an AR-powered new function for its mobile app. Aiming to make it easier for users to access details about the real estates available on the site, the company has created a new Street Peek feature, which allows users to point their camera at a house to see information such as listing or rental price, recently sold price, and the number of bedrooms from the real estate website’s database. Additionally, Street Peek would also display a map of the houses nearby when you tilt the screen. Realtor.com is set to officially launch this feature first in Android app later this spring, with the iOS version to follow.

What Brands Need To Do
This upcoming feature showcases how augmented reality technology can help brands bridge the physical world and their digital assets. French department store chain Galeries Lafayette is using mobile-powered AR to create a unique in-store narrative to lure in holiday shoppers. Beyond retail and real estate, AR can be a great way for customers to envision your products in their lives and to launch interactive digital experiences from signage or product packaging. With more and more consumers become accustomed to AR-powered app features thanks to the popularity of Pokemon Go, brands need to start exploring ways to use augmented reality to deliver a next-level user experience.


Source: Engadget