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Should You Be Using AR in Your Business?

Trends and Insight 38 Add to collection

AR is a fairly new technology, right? Wrong, explains the team at Salamandra

Should You Be Using AR in Your Business?

AR physically bloomed, beyond a concept, in 1968 with Ivan Sutherland’s invention of a mechanical tracking system and first head-mounted display, which he quite aptly called ‘The Sword of Damocles’

Ivan Sutherland and his invention (left), The Sword of Damocles by Richard Westall (right)

Fast forward 52 years past the first commercial application of AR in 2008 and digital product simulation in 2010 to today where almost everyone has interacted with AR at some point in their life.

It’s a common misconception that AR is a rare form of tech to interact with. If you have ever taken a selfie on Snapchat, played Pokemon Go, scanned a QR code or unlocked your smartphone using facial recognition, you guessed it, you’ve used AR. 


So, what is AR?

AR is simply where we use technology to add layers of digital information onto our physical world. It comes in four different shapes and sizes… 

marker-based AR experiences use static images (trigger photo) such as QR codes which anyone can hover their smartphone’s camera over and be redirected to an AR app. The mobile scan will trigger the additional digital layer in video, animation, 3D or other. 

markerless AR works by scanning the surrounding environment (without a trigger photo) to retrieve the augmented reality content. In order to generate the AR content, you are usually required to scan a flat surface.

Projection-based AR uses advanced projection tech to simplify the complicated manual tasks that are part of a business’ assembly, manufacturing, sequencing and training operations.

Superimpositional AR replaces the entire view with an augmented view of the object or by replacing part of the object view with an augmented view.

These four types of digital layer implementation have a wide range of implications for both B2C and B2B sectors, from trying on a new lipstick shade with MAC to ‘holoportations’ for virtual meetings.

Why should businesses be jumping on the AR bandwagon?

As technology advances, AR becomes more accessible in our everyday lives and interaction with AR becomes more frequent. This will only increase as technology advances and what was once expensive hardware, becomes affordable and more readily available to the average Jo.

Life is full of curveballs and ‘pesky Rona’ has been the biggest one of this lifetime and has consequently advanced everyday use of AR. The rise of track and trace apps, through necessity following the eruption of coronavirus, has made scanning QR codes a daily occurrence within cafes, bars and other such establishments so, nowadays, people are well equipped with the knowledge to use QR codes and know exactly what to expect from them.

As more and more digital natives enter the business world, the more they will expect to interact with their digital collateral (and print collateral for that matter). According to research, up to 73% of B2B buyers are now millennials. The millennial generation of buyers have shown time and time again to expect the same kind of intimacy, immediacy and coherency as their favourite B2C brands, therefore, marketing using more immersive experiences such as AR is a no brainer really.

It’s not just for B2C! AR has specific advantages for B2B and is new enough that it still gives businesses that competitive edge that they need to stand out in an increasingly digitised business landscape. The most forward-thinking companies are utilising AR in a wide variety of applications, such as…

Training and Demos

AR can be very powerful when combined with real-world objects and equipment as a training tool. For example, tracking information and ‘x-ray’ or product explosion visualisations onto an actual product. This used in training could be particularly beneficial for employees working in dangerous or remote environments. AR allows for training to be overlayed onto equipment without trainers needing to be present such as people who work in offshore energy. It also allows your trainees to practise skills in a realistic environment, allows for training to be conducted almost anywhere and is more cost-efficient than hiring or using the equipment. This can be great for pharma demonstrations, health and safety training, fire safety training, educating on topics that are grounded in a business location like sustainability and HR.

Sales

AR can also be utilised in the word of sales as it presents an opportunity for product specific information or visualisations to be presented, triggered by and tracked to products. It can also be used to allow customers to ‘see’ a product in their own space – be that their homes – as used by companies like Ikea and Dulux, or for b2b, showing solutions or products in workplaces, or retail spaces. AR can also be used with interactivity to allow users to see how variations on a product would look in their environment – e.g. change colours and finishes

Interactive print collateral

For service-based companies, an AR business card can be an opportunity to create a really memorable experience – be that educational and relating to their industry – for example, fire safety tips overlayed onto the environment, or architectural overlay with blueprint style labels, or something that’s more fun and brand culture-related – e.g. bringing to life a brand mascot like our lovely boy Sal. 

​This can also be used on any print collateral, not just business cards, for example, magazines, leaflets, or event banners/stands or it can be tracked to digital collateral, for a more sustainable approach such as tracked to an email campaign or email signature. Check out one of our seasonal email signatures below! 

Whether you use AR for internal comms, training or in your marketing strategy, it provides a more interactive, engaging and memorable experience for your target audience. AR for your business not only positions your company as creative, innovative and full of personality but will leave a lasting impression and hopefully a smile on the face of your clients, customers or employees, boosting your brand awareness and position in your industry. 


So, should you be using AR in business right now?

Yes! Whether you are a B2B business or a B2C business, get immersive.

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Creative Agency: salamandra.uk

CEO: Christine MacKay

Art Director: Emma Rhodes

Animation Director: Nicholas Francisco

Animator: Marcus Bowler

Animator: Fred Watts

Animator/ Graphic Designer: Janine Getty

Genres: Animation, In-camera effects, Visual VFX

Salamandra.uk, Thu, 05 Nov 2020 16:54:37 GMT