AR (Augmented Reality) offers consumers a try before they buy experience, allowing them to see and experience the product they are purchasing in real time. At Komodo, we want to explore real-world implementations of AR and how they can benefit various sectors. One such example is organisations that provide flooring and paving, two products that are usually bulk bought and can be very expensive. For years consumers have flicked through books containing images of various paving products or browsed through walls of examples in showrooms. This experience could be a lot more engaging and through the use of AR, we could prevent a number of potential headaches in the process.
Some providers have reached a halfway house with their current digital offerings allowing customers to take a photo, map out an area and change the flooring within the selected area. Whilst this does solve the problem to some extent, customers could get a better idea of the product they are purchasing by having the floor replaced in a live environment. Being able to move around and view the final product from multiple angles will prove a lot of value to potential buyers. A comparable example of this is the Dulux Visualizer App. This app allows the user to take an image or video, and paint the walls via augmented reality to determine which colour would work best. The app allows the user to choose from a wide range of 1200 paints, and enables users to get a strong idea of various colours on their wall without the need to paint numerous colour swatches or mentally visualise from paper literature.
Commercial uses and benefits
The proof of concept that we have created demonstrates how AR can be harnessed to provide real-time visuals for both consumers and professionals. By scanning the users’ environment and identifying the floor plane, we are able to project paving choices into the user’s view. This combined with object occlusion provides a photorealistic view, and a more complete and immersive experience.The cost savings through implementing such technologies could prove to be very attractive in many situations. Taking into example inner-city pedestrianisation works that cost tens of millions of pounds, giving architects and designers the ability to get a solid idea of what their proposed ideas will look like in real-time will enable them to iron out any potential flaws before any construction takes place. Identifying issues during the design phase will save councils a significant amount of time and money.
We can also see a use for this technology to promote collaboration between architects/designers/city planners. The devices used give the possibility for multiple users on separate devices, all collaborating and contributing to the visualisation. This could be realised with users in the same location, or it also provides the ability for remote collaboration.
Furthermore, providing a mobile solution using devices such as tablets opens the possibility for designers and planners to get first-hand feedback from stakeholders on site. For example in a city, the user could actively question members of the public to provide feedback on proposed plans and get first-hand experience of responses and feelings towards the changes.
Exploring various devices could also open up a further world for users to create in. Taking a concept like this and applying it to technology such as the Microsoft HoloLens or Magic Leap would make the whole experience a lot more immersive, giving the user a first-person view of the paving they have selected.
Practical for personal use
Recent consumer AR technology has grown substantially over the past few years and with the addition of Apple’s AR Kit, Google’s AR Core and similar mobile solutions, this proposed proof of concept will be available to an ever-growing number of consumers with 58% of consumers having access to a tablet in 2018 according to Ofcom. Organisations using this as a sales tool should see an increase in customer engagement and a potential rise in enquiries thanks to customers being able to accurately visualise what the final product will actually look like.
Allowing the user to choose from a large catalogue of resources allows for the personalisation of any area, further opening up the use of this concept for personal use. Giving homeowners the ability to preview a new driveway for their home and receive a guide price for material and labour costs, allows them to make a more informed and confident decision.
As the global AR market continues to grow, we will continue to see more solutions become available to consumers. An ISACA survey reported that 60% to 70% of consumers see clear benefits in using AR, showing that AR can be a powerful tool in many situations.
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