The coronavirus pandemic has had a particularly beneficial effect on the development of augmented reality - no great loss without some small gain! More and more customers are coming to buy via AR, which obviously draws the interest of businesses.
AR technology — what is it
What is AR technology? Augmented reality or AR is a development of the already well-developed virtual reality technology or VR. However, while VR places the user in a virtual space, AR places virtual objects in the physical space of the user.
Three approaches are used to relate virtual elements to real space:
- Markers. This is the simplest and most "ancient" way of binding: a marker is placed in the physical space, which the software recognizes and relies on to place the virtual elements. An example of this is "smart printing": pointing a smartphone at a marker in a book or an advertising booklet, the user sees the "animated" illustration. An interesting approach was used by Tissot to try on watches virtually: a potential buyer put a paper bracelet on his hand, the software solution replaced the model on the smartphone screen with this or that watch model.
- Markerless method. It is a development of the previous approach - the software recognizes certain objects of the surrounding reality and "assigns" them as markers. Various face filters and masks work according to this principle: different parts of the face that are used for binding serve as markers for them. IKEA has developed an application that allows you to "estimate" how this or that furniture will look in the interior. In this case, the marker was the floor surface.
- Spatial placement. In this case, satellite navigation data are used to georeference virtual objects. As an example we can remember the already legendary game PockemonGo, as well as less known similar games, where the participant also had to perform certain actions, moving physically on the real area - Ingress, Resources.
Whatever the method of tying the virtual objects together, the augmented reality device must have sufficiently accurate accelerometers and gyroscopes, as well as a high-quality video camera, to make the illusion work. Although most modern gadgets meet these conditions, the development of specialized AR helmets does not stop.
AR and customer communication
The development of artificial intelligence has taken communication between the company and the client to a whole new level. For decades there have been voice assistants controlled by selecting options from the phone keypad. Later there appeared chatbots responding to simple commands. But a modern chat-bot doesn't need commands - the user simply enters his question and gets an answer. If necessary, the software will clarify the client's problem and ask a leading question.
And today's telephone assistants are able to distinguish human speech and do not need to press the keys on the phone, the customer simply communicates with the robot, as if it were an employee of the company. There is only one step left to supplement voice communication with a visual image: a virtual manager appears right in the client's room. In this case, the answer to the question can be promptly illustrated with appropriate pictures, tables, video instructions.
Augmented reality can play a major role in optimizing self-service. More and more often customers tend to refuse the services of managers and prefer to keep interaction with company employees to a minimum. With cashless payment, the customer can go all the way from choosing to closing the purchase without interacting with live people at all. This paradox is difficult to explain, perhaps there is an overabundance of communication in today's world. In any case, the success of self-service depends on explaining each step of the process to the customer as conveniently as possible, and augmented reality is the best way to do this. A virtual manager does not demand attention, is not annoying and can be switched off at any moment.
AR and internal business communications
Business efficiency directly depends on the quality of communication between departments. Traditional telephone communication can no longer meet the needs of business, and it is being replaced by video communication, spreadsheets for joint work, text chats, transmission of multimedia - graphics and video files, voice messages.
However, all this does not cancel the need for "live" meetings and conferences. Augmented reality allows you to hold such meetings without having to move physically in space: each participant will see other meeting participants in his office. High level of data encryption makes the level of confidentiality comparable to a face-to-face meeting.
A conference in augmented reality becomes more informative, as any presentation can be illustrated by a "virtual whiteboard" on which graphs, slides and diagrams replace each other literally at the wave of the hand - this effect is achieved with the help of gesture recognition.
Augmented reality SDK — an AR developer tool
Taking into consideration the high efficiency of augmented reality as a means of business-communication with both clients and partners, the development of applications with AR elements will attract a lot of attention in the nearest future. Banuba offers the augmented reality SDK, a tool for developing augmented reality applications and integrating AR elements into the finished software environment.
The package includes:
- Banuba face filters & effects - a set of so-called masks, both fun and virtual makeup. Due to the advanced facial part recognition system, the full effect of the makeup actually lying on the face is provided. The masks can dynamically change depending on the emotions that the artificial intelligence distinguishes (joy, surprise, fright).
- The filter-beautifiers are the real pride of Banuba. Smart rejuvenation system automatically removes wrinkles and skin imperfections, adds shine to eyes and hair, and, on the contrary, makes skin matte.
- Video processing tools - cropping, highlighting the human figure, special effects, background changes. Video SDK also includes a basic editing kit.
- Sound tools allow you to add a soundtrack and background sounds from the library, and remove noise. There are voice processing tools, including such popular ones as helium effect, robot voice, etc.
- Web AR - a set of tools for integrating augmented reality elements into the browser version of the site. The user gets all the benefits of AR without installing special software.
Due to the simple and intuitive interface, it is not too difficult to learn how to work with the augmented reality toolset. You can do it yourself, using a detailed manual, which is included in the kit. Development and implementation of augmented reality elements is an effective step towards increasing business efficiency. You should start today in order to avoid being hopelessly behind tomorrow.