Augmented Reality for education and engagement in Retail

My car’s engine just popped out of my bonnet!

As Melbourne, Australia hosts the latest Formula 1 Grand Prix, Mercedesme hosted an exclusive event for members of the Australian and international media. Participants met two of Mercedes-Benz’s newest cars, with a twist.

Digital content was superimposed on vehicles so that a 3D engine emerged from the bonnet of the AMG GT R before exploding into component parts and retracting to show labels. On its rear spoiler a small digital version of the AMG GT R sat spinning on a virtual turntable, changing colour and size at a touch.

Participants wore Epson’s Moverio Augmented Reality (AR) headsets while inspecting the new Mercedes-Benz A-Class and AMG GT R, which enabled them to view interactive 3D virtual models, videos, and text. A viewer sitting in the A-Class could look around and see key new features highlighted with digital labels.

When visiting a store to look at a car, a washing machine, or even a box of cookies, prospective customers are no longer reliant on printed material. They can choose their own focus, they depth of information, and even their language, and they can interact with it.

 “Applications like virtual training of expensive and dangerous scenarios, or integrating back-end data to streamline operations, are rewarding problems to solve.” said Vivek Aiyer, CEO at Appearition, which created the AR software application, “However it’s consumer facing apps like this one that enable everybody to have a little creative fun, bringing cinematic AR closer to reality.”

Retailers are beginning to realise that the technology exists for anybody to use AR and VR through their own smartphones and tablets or dedicated high-end devices like the Moverio headsets. Products can be customised, and purchases can then be made with a salesperson or in an App.

Looking beyond current capabilities, as makers of headsets like Epson increase usability and bring down prices, we are likely to see people wearing them every day, even in the street, making the experience both hands-free and immersive.

“Success comes from collaboration. This taste of AR in retail celebrates Epson’s sponsorship of Mercedes in this year’s racing season. For an Australian-owned business like Appearition, it’s gratifying to be invited to work with respected global partners like Epson and Mercedes.

Collaboration comes from persistence. We initiated a partnership with Epson two years ago. The software was built using Unity, another partner with whom Appearition co-launched an Australian Centre of Excellence in 2018, focusing on Immersive Technologies for the Enterprise sector.” said Vivek.

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