Brand managers need to think differently when it comes to AR – Part 2

Vivek Aiyer, Founder, CEO of Australia-based Appearition, shares his viewpoints on the application of augmented reality (AR) solutions in the OOH space in an exclusive interview with Outdoor Asia’s Rajiv Raghunath.

Edited excerpts (Part – 2):

How affordable are AR solutions?

When considering the cost of implementing AR solutions, just as in any traditional media communication there are a myriad of options that consider features, quality of the consumer experience, distribution and scalability. That being said, our recommendation remains to take AR as a communication medium. This means content remains king, and this is the key for AR/ VR success.

The entry to market can be quite affordable as this would depend on the audience and deployment variables. Just as a traditional media, AR related infrastructure and content creation costs are getting lower. A platform-centric approach to deliver AR solutions that allows for reusability of infrastructure to deliver experiences for scalable audience size and a cross-media platform content strategy would allow for brand managers to start to see clear ROI.

Typically, brands and planners in India tend to be conservative when it comes to use of digital technologies for OOH advertising, citing ROI issues. Would you advocate any steps to make AR/VR applications cost-effective to a large number of advertising brands?

I think there needs to be a shift in the mindset of the brand managers with regard to AR. With digital technologies it is not about the coolest innovation or newest technology – rather it is about what the brand managers and planners need to do be competitive in their own business and how they can provide better experiences for the end consumers. The end experience may be the result of a mesh different technologies. However, it is important that the end experience is a true reflection of the brand’s core values and market positioning. In that sense the AR strategy needs to be tightly coupled with their content strategy in turn the communication strategy.

Simple wins are the key to success. The consumer decision cycle consists of some distinct stages – research, evaluation, transaction, implementation support and referral. At each stage  – there is a small win to be won if the consumer is exposed to the right piece of communication. In turn, if we look at AR as a media that contains information, where and when is the consumer best positioned to receive this information such that it will increase their understanding of how the product can benefit them?

For brand managers and planners, based on particular pressure point for their brand, a simple use case can be implemented as a proof of concept. This proof of concept (PoC) would assist getting stakeholder buy-in and ultimately lead towards the larger goal of integrating AR in  a broader fashion. I would certainly advocate a simple PoC strategically implemented to allow for this.

Are equipment makers geared to support AR/ VR growth in market like India?

The device market in india is quite well evolved and would certainly be able to adapt. There are a range of AR/ VR devices hitting the market now, and priced competitively. The consideration is more relation to mobile bandwidth and throughput (data plan costs) when it comes to a price sensitive market like india. While this  too is improving, poor connectivity means the rich experiences AR/VR offer could be lost.

What are the proprietary solutions that you have at hand to cater to OOH advertising?

Appearition has developed a platform that allows for the easy integration and management of AR systems for the easy integration and management of AR systems and campaigns. We took the approach where solutions are highly scalable right across various industries segments. Some of our product lines include, butare not limited to 8AR (product line specific to the retail/ branding solution set), FloAR (enterprise and for productivity solutions), ARTIK (modules specifically for museums and galleries) and the BVRIK module (a real estate solution tool kit).

Source:  Outdoor Asia | November 2016

“Brand managers need to think differently when it comes to AR”

Vivek Aiyer, Founder, CEO of Appearition, shares his viewpoints on the application of augmented reality (AR) solutions in the OOH space in an exclusive interview with Outdoor Asia’s Rajiv Raghunath.

Edited excerpts:

Augmented Reality (AR)/ Virtual Reality (VR) technologies are not new to the Indian market. Yet, it has taken a long while for these technologies and applications to find a larger, ready market in India. What steps are needed to evangelise AR/ VR technologies & apps in the Indian market, more so in the OOH advertising space?

It is quite interesting to see the advent of these technologies. Both AR and VR are not new technologies, having been around for more than a few decades. Yet there remains a lack of awareness among the wider consumer audience.

The fact of the matter is that AR has been in our lives for years – used most commonly in weather reports on the news and in live sports broadcasts. AR is quite literally the augmentation (or improvement) of reality – altered with an overlay of information on a pre-existing line of sight. The difference in today’s experience is that handheld devices have replaced televisions – but the application of the basic technology has remained consistent.

In comparison, VR  is where the consumer of the technology is fully immersed in the virtual world. Common experiences include experience capsules at science museums, but due to cost implications, has been used more in a commercial sense for medical or training purposes. Once again, handheld devices have made the experience more accessible – but application of the concept remains the same.

Beyond the evolution of hardware, campaigns have too often been utilised as one-off flash-in-the-pan attempts to display brands “innovatively” – whereas at Appearition we believe that AR is a media channel, more than just a solution. A media channel, just like print, radio, television, web and mobile, before it. Just as a brand would identify a core messaging and then develop creatives and iterations for television or print – and more recently digital, concepts need to be developed to funnel through this medium – enhancing the consumer experience but staying completely aligned to core messaging.

As a media channel, the right utilisation of these technologies enable the overlay of contextual information that enables decision making including purchase decisions – a key goal of any brand managers. In a nation as broad as India this enables the application of custom language communication depending on an automatic identification of the user’s location or pre-defined preferences. In the OOH space this enables experiences triggered by the once creative – but absolutely customised to the user being exposed to the experience – be they Punjabi,  Bengali, Marathi or Tamil. This is quite powerful as a method of customised engagement.

How effective are VR/AR applications in OOH advertising in the more developed markets? Have you handled any such project in those markets?

JCDecaux recently finished a campaign where they had integrated an AR application with Batman and Superman. The opportunity was for passers-by to “evolve” into their favourite superhero. The novelty factor was very high and it certainly had a very positive response. Tesco also had a highly successful campaign where consumers could “do their shopping” whilst waiting for their bus; the AR experience was triggered off by the media board on the bus stop.

Our approach to AR is to be more of an integrated solution. We haven’t been involved in outdoor specific advertising in that context. We have however been involved in several projects where outdoor based navigation that triggers off AR experience.This was used to promote tourism. Furthermore, we have been involved in arts and theatre productions, open days, etc. The point to consider is that a brand needs to have specific content for its AR channel just as it would for the other audio-visual channels. There needs to be an overall degree of consistency in how this content is being presented and the shift needs to be in the eyes of the brand manager to move away from thinking of this area as a novelty technology solution and start to incorporate it into planning as a new communication channel. There would have been a similar shift at the introduction of each new media – initially an exciting new innovation, but eventually just another medium as part of a multi-platform approach.

Are AR/VR applications more attuned to indoor advertising media, such as airport media, mall media, etc? Is there scope for their application on traditional billboards and the like?

Absolutely. Let’s consider a sample scenario – assume a brand wishes to launch a soft drink in a nationwide campaign. The brand manager would have content and campaigns ready for the traditional channels – print, web, mall media, etc. If we take the approach mentioned earlier where we see AR as just another media channel – it provides a novel fashion to present the launch campaign. However, it also offers the opportunity to merge other media through an integrated approach.

An AR app can be configured such that based on the temperature of the city that the consumer is in while using the app, it could initiate push message featuring specific discounts or promotions. Essentially the consumer experience when triggering off the billboard may be vastly different based on whether it is a 30-degree day or 20-degree day. Secondly the same AR app could attract on-premise customers where they take the app into a store in order to redeem vouchers  (vouchers redeemed off packing of the product), and last but not least, integration of location based e-commerce component.

This is the power of an integrated AR solution; it can spread across all traditional media channels and can bring them to life. The key to success here is not to treat them as once-off campaign, but have them all tightly linked.

Source:  Outdoor Asia | November 2016

Follow this space for part-2 of the interview.

Best Augmented Travel Apps to use On The Go

Augmented reality technology has already proven immensely successful in the realm of gaming and entertainment. It’s also made forays into industries such as defence and the military. But it doesn’t stop there. AR is making some interesting inroads into the industries of transportation and tourism through more augmented travel apps.

Related post: What is Augmented Reality?

AR apps for public transport

One such example is illustrated by a new breed of AR-based apps for public transportation. These apps take pertinent information such as train schedules, delays, stop information and so on and overlay it on real world images. For example, fire up an app, point your phone at a train map in New York City, and immediately your display comes to life with information about train schedules, turnstile date and even how many people are in the subway.






This is exactly how an iOS augmented travel app called Tunnel Vision works. Pulling data from the Metropolitan Transport Authority, the app draws over your camera feed, giving the user real time information. It also provides complementary information such as rent prices or median incomes of various neighbourhoods, giving the user a unique depth of information. Quite a refreshing change from gazing at a static train map for a few minutes.

Related post: How AR is changing the way we travel?

AR apps to overcome the language barriers

Similarly, if you find yourself travelling in Switzerland, download the Departures Switzerland app. This one doesn’t even require a map. Just point your phone in the direction of the nearest station or stop and a digital destination board overlays your image. It sure beats asking for directions, especially if you don’t speak the language. Already, the updated Google Translate app now features augmented reality capabilities. Imagine pairing that with a public transport/tourism app. You could confidently navigate the intricate train networks of Tokyo or Moscow without fear of complexity or language barriers.

Related post: Augmented Reality Transport Improving Daily Life?

Virtual tours

Furthermore, existing AR apps that allow you to take virtual tours of your intended hotel or explore local attractions. That would be amazing transportation-cum-tourism app. Augmented travel apps have helped tourists navigate train lines, to assisting cyclists in urban traffic and improving logistics transportation optimization. However, augmented reality has significant room to develop in this industry and will do so over the coming years.

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Immersive Technologies – Museum visits made interesting

We have seen that use of immersive technologies enhances productivity, aids emergency response situations, makes education interactive and simplifies shopping. Augmented Reality and museum visits – sounds like chalk and cheese isn’t it? Well, it no longer is.
Several museums across the globe have successfully incorporated Augmented and Virtual Reality in their channels.

Museums have been using AR-VR to their advantage to bring exhibits and artefacts to life. Let’s look at how this has changed museum visits:

Promotes easy learning

The ‘Story of Forest’ art, in Singapore museum, had about 69 giant murals, housed in the museum’s glass rotunda. Visitors use an app and hunt for flora and fauna within the drawings. After hunting various drawings, the photos are added to a collection. Visitors can use this collection to know more information on the plant or animal variety. These kind of fun exercises and over-lay learning helps them understand on an animal’s dietary plans, species and other general information.

Brings display to life

Smithsonian Natural Museum of History, Washington D C, utilised Augmented Reality innovatively. They launched an app called ‘Skins and Bones’, which brought animals to life using AR technology’s super-imposed pictures. Users can scan and point the app at an animal bone in display and view it in flesh and movement. These kinds of activities enable visualisation of extinct animals or artefacts.
Virtual Museum visits

Furthermore, the app also provided an immersive experience to users who were unable to visit the museum. They provided enthusiasts with ‘trigger images’ (See picture below) that they can aim at and experience the same picture from home comfort.

Image Courtesy

Hologram – Immersive walk-throughs

The Kennedy Space Centre in Florida, USA, brought former astronauts to life and enabled an immersive experience with them. Interactive pieces located throughout the building allow early astronauts and NASA legends to tell their stories.

Image Courtesy

Hologram – Immersive walk-throughs

The Kennedy Space Centre in Florida, USA, brought former astronauts to life and enabled an immersive experience with them. Interactive pieces located throughout the building allow early astronauts and NASA legends to tell their stories.

Image Courtesy

Interactive Learning

England’s Historic cities app serves as one-stop-AR interactive view of over 12 cities from Durham to Salisbury. This app is an example of learning while viewing. Users can know more on each city by clicking on the Augmented information on display.

Image Courtesy

This is blog is a re-written excerpt from

AR-VR in Retail: More than just a tool for marketing

Highlights of the Retail Trends Vol 2 of Deloitte

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) have proved their ability to enhance processes across industry verticals. They’ve proven to reduce errors, prevent mistakes and increase productivity. However, perception of these technologies in the retail space has always been a marketing tool.

Let’s look at the multiple use-case(s) that they have:

Pre-plan shopping trips

AR-VR can provide complete fore-hand information on a product – which will motivate people pressed for time to complete the long-due shopping. Often, shoppers race against time and retailers are against inverse staff to consumer ratio. AR-VR can solve this issue, two-in-one. This increases the buyer conversion rate.

Information Delivery

Target the right customer with right information. AR-VR helps retailers send personalised and targeted ads, product and offer information while shopping. This will ensure filtering unnecessary spam ads and enable customer to take notice of quintessential information.

In-store engagement

In a multi-product store or a mall, AR and VR can be used to assist customer navigation; collect information on customer preference (through a poll/game). These apps take self-help counter help to the next level.

Product customisation

Customers will be able to try multiple colours, shapes without having to physically try each product. Also, the visuals offer options to mix and match styles.

Experiential campaigns

True potent of what a retailer is trying to sell is often seen only when the actual product is delivered. AR-VR helps bridge this gap is visualisation and actual product by giving a realistic experience of the product before delivery.

Low-cost visualisation of high-cost assets

High-cost assets often carry a high cost sales cycle because of customers’ hesitation in purchasing something they can’t properly visualise. Using VR, models of high-cost assets can be developed at a much lower cost, increasing accessibility.

Lo-fi testing: Testing multiple scenarios in virtual spaces to iterate on solutions and identify the best customer solution to mitigate implementation risk.

These use-cases bust the myth that AR/VR is not just a gaming tool.

Deloitte says: the most successful adopters of VR and AR will be retailers which use the technology to enhance their relationship with customers, rather than replace it.

Excerpt from the Deloitte Vol 2 Virtual and augmented reality – a guide for Australian retailers

The Oodl story

Impressive Advertising is a leading advertising and branding enterprise, based out of Adelaide, Australia.  They produce print, online, video and audio advertisements and campaigns for their clients.

Advertisements are of many forms these days. From simple print ads to social media campaigns, there are plethora of brands targeting the consumers. However, today’s audience prefer more visuals, concise and innovative ads. An ad these days is not just consumed, but shared, liked and discussed about on social networking sites, more often than before. This form of ad consumption has paved way for more innovative presentation.

Adapting to changes in Digital Transformation has been the order of ad campaigns in the last decade. If everyone is doing the same, how does one stand out?

Met with one such need for innovation, Impressive Advertising decided to improvise using Augmented Reality (AR). The idea was to bring an image to life by augmenting it. Thereby, enabling the best of both mediums for a campaign – print and mobile.

Oodl it

Generally, while skimming through ads, extensions or teasers grabs one’s attention. Bearing that in mind, the team used Appearition’s 8AR platform to create an image recognition app called Oodl.

Oodl is an image recognition browser tool, delivering informative and relatable content embedded in everyday surroundings.

The Oodl app cloud technology allows one to visualise digital information in a completely new way, taking you from a one-dimensional experience into a whole new world of exciting discoveries.

A holistic AR experience

To build their audience engagement goals they have produced adverts that include AR experiences throughout, created full page Oodl experience newspaper adverts and produced promotional card campaigns to entice consumers to download the app.

These posters and ad campaigns contain the Oodl icon, which when scanned through the app projects augmented information.

AR allows us to create computer-generated enhancements in video or animation atop of existing reality which is very exciting, says Trevor Worley, Managing Director, Impressive Advertising.

The 8AR platform

8AR is a SaaS based platform, therefore is highly extensible and can be easily customized and monetized. It does not require any coding, making it easy for enterprise to augment.

Customer response

We expect Oodl to develop in AR as it has easier consumer reach, i.e. anyone with a smartphone, says the team.  The UI designed is simple and attractive. Upon logging in and scanning an object, there is an auto-pop video and further information that appear alongside.

Customer response to the Oodl AR/VR feature app has always been met with a ‘wow’ beams the team. “AR market is where we see Oodl developing as AR is less intrusive and is accessible to every person that has a smart phone. It allows us to create computer-generated enhancements in video or animation atop of existing reality which is very exciting,” adds Trevor.

As more and more media options developed, Impressive Advertising was looking to combine the best of all worlds and found the answer in AR.


Stand out with AR. Get in touch with us to know more about launching your own 8AR platform!

Augmented Reality – The future of retail industry

Home delivery, telephone order and e-commerce. What do these things have in common? They changed the way we shopped. Introduction of these technology/ideas, enhanced our shopping process. Similarly, Augmented Reality (AR) is set to alter the face of retail industry.

AR is highly scalable and has multiple uses across this industry. A look at some interesting ways in which AR is expected to grow:

Trial/testing of a product:

AR helps to bridge the gap between a customer’s perception of the product and the reality. This is the quintessential need for physical shopping or trial for a product.

Furniture: In 2013, IKEA – the Swedish retailer tested the ropes of AR, by launching an AR-based app. It used AR-overlay of 3D models of IKEA’s products on the real-time feed of the camera. It helps visualise how a product would look at a given space.

Shoes: Sneaker-maker Converse created an AR app in 2010. When one points a camera at their feet, the app overlays a projection of the shoe on their feet.

Clothing: Ever stood in a never-ending queue ahead of the trial room only to find the dress doesn’t fit you? Well, AR is about to change the game in clothing trials using overlay.

Japanese retail store – Uniqlo tried to address this concern by enabling an augmented trial room. This room had a mirror with an LCD screen that let you choose the apparel you wish to try. The app then overlays different colors of the clothing to help you make the best choice possible.

Virtual makeup trial: Sephora, the makeup retailer launched an app – ‘Sephora Virtual Artist’ that enabled overlaying different makeup looks. Once the customer scans the face using a camera, the app detects the different organs like nose, lips, eyebrows, skin etc and allows you to try a shade.


Product information:

When shopping at a busy super-market, we are often sceptical of a product’s ingredients. The aisles are long and nearest assistant is pre-occupied. What if one had a personal assistant to share further information on every product? AR does just that, acting as your personal shopping assistant. Several retail big-wigs like Walmart, Tesco, Carrefour have been testing and experimenting with AR in shopping.

Chinese e-commerce retailer – Yihaodian, opened virtual stores across the country. This enabled consumers to shop on the go. The app has virtual shopping aisles; customers can select and arrange for a home delivery.

AR is already booming in several such retail verticals. Add the magic of AR to your business. To know more, drop us a message.

This blog is a re-written excerpt from an article first published in the

Image Courtesy (in the order of images used): 1, 2, 3, 4

The possibilities that AR can bring to Field Service

Vivek Aiyer, Founder and CEO of Appearition talks on how AR can impact Field Service:

What sort of structural easing will AR/VR bring to Field Service (FS)?

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are technoloies that can be used to enhance existing processes. I see a few aspects how AR/VR can enhance FS process: Reduce errors in a complex procedure; increase first time fix and in training and knowledge transfer.

At Boeing, AR training has had a dramatic impact on the productivity and quality of complex aircraft manufacturing procedures. The number of trainees with little or no experience who could perform the operation correctly the first time increased by 90%. For training purposes, using AR, an environment can be simulated even before the trainees are sent it.

GE engineers found that AR improved overall average production by 32%; productivity in wiring harness assembly by 25% and 46% faster whilst doing a warehouse picklist. AR/VR is changing the way things work.

Process wise, where can enterprises use AR?

These immersive technologies alone will not replace an existing process. AR allows for a contextual overlay of information that enables better decision making. The actual information can come from various sources and based on the type of process / workflow.  For example, AR lets you visualise data arising from Internet of Things (IoT) devices. This, contextually, in a field service environment is amazing.

This is very powerful, it will  enhance the way somethings are done. For instance, in case of non-frequent and complex technical procedures, AR will come in handy as a reference guide. It will reduce the time to complete tasks and prevent errors, where possible.

How can firms combine AR/VR for best-of-breed solutions? (Mixed-solutions)

I’d say, before a firm adopts AR/VR in any of their vertical, they should first analyse where it will fit. More often than not, enterprises try to find a problem for a solution to be adopted. If we consider AR as a technology, that  is a process-enhancer, not a process by itself when adopted correctly within an enterprise right, AR can work wonders with powerful use case and demonstrable ROI for training, monitoring and maintenance for FS.  Currently, Appearition is working towards a technology on liaising Artificial Intelligence (AI) and AR for error reduction.

How agile should businesses be, in terms of adopting a technology?

For a FS enterprise, usually, a task/process should ideally make money, save money or meet a compliance requirement. If a technology can enhance the ability and agility of an enterprise in any one of these three aspects, then I don’t see why an enterprise should wait to adopt it. Any solution that optimises our processes needs to be adopted immediately.

From an AR perspective, I believe it has the power to enable decision making in processes. Appearition is currently focusing on harnessing this power of decision making through AR.

In terms of wearable technology, I see glasses require more reliability before businesses can start using them. For now (about 1-2 years), a mobile/tablet-based AR is here and ready and usable now.

What are some industry verticals that can use Appearition’s FloAR platform?

It’s highly scalable and extensible, requires absolutely no technical knowledge to use it. It can be very useful for enterprises like – infrastructure, telecommunications, networks etc. With respect to regions, we have customers in Australia, and now we are very excited to be a part of the Indian market. AR is able to apply the multi-lingual overlays (text/video) options – The staff may not be equipped in English/regional language and can benefit from overlay in their language. True potent of AR can be viewed in such markets.

The Role of Management in the Changing Paradigms in Service

A look at the highlights of 2017 USA Field Service Benchmark Report:

Technology and Digital Transformation continues to shape the service industry. Most of the respondents said, their strategy was ‘mobile first’. Growing emphasis on mobiles and abundance of data is enabling organisations to focus on mobile technology and transformation.

 Key take-aways from the report

  1. Breed-solutions are the fad, as opposed to single platform solutions. The idea is to achieve maximum efficiency to embrace digital transformation.
  2. Most respondents said – they’ve been prioritising a mobile first mindset due to the increasing accessibility and growth of mobiles.
  3. To bridge the gap between knowledge and digital transformation – seems to be the quintessential need of the hour for enterprises.

Technology adoption

Among many booming technologies this year, 72% respondents said they’ve adopted or planning to add the ropes of cloud to their business. 30% of the businesses have added or planning to add the ropes of Augmented Reality (AR).

“I was quite surprised to see that technician adoption of new solutions ranked so highly as a challenge. With today’s technology, equipment comes to consumers, employees, and to businesses more and more without a real need to instruct on its use. The perception of complexity is really what holds technicians back. We invest a lot of time and energy into making technology easier to understand, and we deploy tools in the field that are as easy to operate as common applications you can run on IOS, Android, or a Windows device,” says Martin Knook, CEO Gomocha

 Need to evolve digitally

Surprisingly, 42% of the respondents said they initiated/ adopted digitisation and automation of field service activities to reduce costs. 34% of them wanted to go digital to increase transparency and ensure viability as a business.

Digital transformation trends

Technology is ever evolving. There is constant need to adopt to these innovations. The question here though, is how adoptive are businesses? 35% of the respondents said they’re agile enough to adopt an innovation cycle every three years. While, 28% of the enterprises preferred to work with solutions that were scalable and relevant for at least ten years.

This article is a re-written excerpt from the 2017 USA Field Services Benchmark Report. The graphs were sourced from the same report.

AR and VR the next big thing in the industry

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) are often believed to provide digital and off-field technology solutions. Generally, they are perceived as a tool for marketing, digital branding, audience engagement, education, retail promotion etc. AR and VR can be used in several sectors and context from manufacturing to fire and safety operations. Yes, AR and VR can be applied for several such Field Service Management (FSM) based work.


AR and VR have a vast use case in this field. AR programs can be designed for product training, controlled simulations, emergency response and evacuation, remote access vision etc. AR/VR supports in cost reduction and saves man-power on these activities by enabling self-instructional images/videos. Apart from creating an immersive experience, it creates a personal walkthrough assistant for people out in the field.



Fire & Safety and Emergency Response (ER):

AR/VR can transform the way we respond to an emergency. In some cases, information on people trapped inside building can be checked via sensors and visual over-lays. For Fire & Safety evacuations, AR/VR provides instructional walk-throughs and directs to access points proving information on their current situation.

Ship Building:

Building heavy machinery and ships are very time consuming and requires large volumes of handbooks to train, record procedures for cross-reference. Using AR to prompt tools and display the procedure to assemble them saves several man-hours and creates an almost-error free assembly of the products.

Inspection and Maintenance:

For some business as usual, AR/VR can reduce workflow time on inspection & maintenance and assist in detecting errors. Since 2011, Airbus has been using AR technology to improve efficiency in its quality control. Using its Supply Augmented Reality Tool (SART), Airbus employees can use visual overlay images on real systems to identify the faulty parts for repair. These kind of AR activities save time in creating an incident report and follow ups by enabling on-the spot solution.

Inventory Management:

Often, it takes time to locate the right aisle/stack whilst arranging or onboarding goods. In 2015, Logistics firm DHL tested an AR program to manage stacking at a Netherlands inventory. The pilot proved that AR ‘vision picking’ resulted in 25% increase in efficiency. The staff worked with VuzixM100 that used Ubimax’s xPick software to assist the task. Staffs reported faster and error free task completion using these.



AR Digital Transformation and the Indian Market

Ravichandran Lakshminarayanan, Member, Board of Advisors, Appearition India speaks on Augmented Reality, Digital Transformation trends and the Indian market and more:

Your take on the AR/VR market in India.

Though AR/VR arrived, so to speak, may be about three years back, significant impact or adoption (usage) is yet to be seen, be it in the consumer space (though we have VR centres in some malls or VR headgear sold with smart phones) or in the enterprise space.

AR/VR is certainly going to be a game changer for industries like retail, real estate, entertainment, and tourism in India.

Education is another area where we will see significant AR/VR adoption. (I foresee not only schools & colleges taking advantage of the power of AR/VR, but many other formal and non- formal fora including corporate/industrial training will take advantage of these frontier technologies).


Mobile market in India – Smartphones undergo constant metamorphosis. What features do you think they need to adapt to stay abreast with the AR/VR tech?

India is a price sensitive market. Today there are more than 300 million mobile phone connections, in India. Mobile phone sales literally skyrocketed, only because device prices came down drastically.

Mobile phones are going to drive AR/VR usage and it is very important that the AR/VR capable phones are priced right for the Indian market.

Next is content in local languages like Tamil, Hindi, Telugu, Kannada. For AR/VR to drive mass usage/adoption, local language content will be a key.

Last but not the least, the devices(phones) will have to be more user friendly than they are now.

 Your take on digital transformation for businesses these days.

Today there is no business that can shun or stay away from digital transformation. The degree of transformation or rather what percentage of the business is digital versus non-digital may vary from business to business but there’s not a single business that’s 100% non-digital.

In the Indian context, this is so particularly after the introduction of GST.

Though it has taken time, businesses have understood the benefits of digital transformation.

How has the Indian market reacted to digital transformation so far? What are some factors that seem to aid it/ factors that act as a barrier?

The Indian market was quite reluctant to accept/embrace digital transformation, initially.

The reasons were:

  • market did not understand what digital transformation is.
  • market could not see value in digital transformation immediately
  • digital transformation was taking firms/players out of their comfort zone
  • firms were unsure of the payback period if they opted for digital transformation.

Slowly but surely as a few early adopters took hesitant steps towards digital transformation and started ‘seeing’ the benefits, more and more firms followed. Today, I dare say, there are very few firms, if any, that have not been touched at all by digital transformation.

Today everybody understands that digital transformation is not only inevitable but benefits all. Firms are still evaluating their ROI and hence pace of adoption is not ideal yet.

There are obstacles and challenges, the foremost being connectivity not only in terms of speed and price, but in terms of reach. There are still many areas in the country where connectivity is very poor or non-existent .

Technologies like 5G and other indigenous technologies and solutions, will hopefully, address this issue.

What are some barriers that companies face while venturing to a new geography?

In my opinion the most important barrier is culture. The culture in each geography is unique and the sooner companies understand the local culture the better for them. The next important challenge is to understand the local laws, business environment. There could be challenges in effective communication besides language differences. The pace at which things move, including the pace of business negotiations can vastly vary. Distance and time could be a challenge, too. Finding and hiring people who are trustworthy and competent can be a challenge. Establishing franchises, signing up agents and other business associates may take longer than what companies ‘back home’ are used to

What sort of obstacles did you face while setting up your e-commerce venture and how did you overcome them?

The very first challenge was not being able to register a domain name, from India.

(Internic was the only share registry and for registering any domain one had to pay $100; the only way to pay was online; this was not possible from India. I had to take the help of my sister in US, who paid this $100 and we registered on Aug 15, 1997.)

One of the foremost challenges for a start up in a sunrise industry, which the online space was, way back in 1997, was getting the right people to come on board. We leaned on friends and other contacts to get the initial few hires.

The next challenge was funding –VC/Angel funding culture, back then, was literally nonexistent. Raising capital as equity was very difficult if not impossible. Debt funding or in Indian parlance, a bank loan was the only option.

Banks lend against tangible assets – land, building, plant & machinery – and also insist on security for the loan. Here was a business that had no tangible assets (except some PCs and servers and switches and modems – assets that depreciated faster than the mercury rising in Chennai summer) and a business model that was at best vague (actually from the bank perspective, it was all Latin and Greek).

The Bank Manager, professed he understood nothing, but said he was impressed with my sincerity of purpose and sanctioned the loan. (“As a breed we are risk averse, but if we do not take some risk to support highly qualified technocrats, when we get an opportunity, then we do not deserve to be sitting here”, he said!)

Though the potential of the web/online was fairly well established globally, India was slow to adopt or embrace this ‘new economy’ and hence every ‘pitch’ had to be from ‘ground zero’. One of our (founding team) important roles was to evangelise Internet& ecommerce; evangelise we did with passion and enthusiasm. This not only got us noticed but became a competitive advantage, too.

There were many more challenges including getting the right office space, etc.

There were so many Foreign Exchange rules & regulations that receiving or sending money out of India was a huge task. We did $ transactions wrestling with a plethora of forms and multiple agencies.

Do you see similar obstacles for firms these days, despite a bridge that filled the knowledge gap?

Certainly not. Thanks to information/knowledge available in one click, for anyone, and the more business friendly environment, many of the earlier day business challenges do not exist. However, each new firm (or old firm) has a unique challenge. It is much like a baby’s growth – from conception to infancy to childhood to adolescence to adulthood – at every stage in the life of a firm there are unique challenges. A successful firm is one which understands this and also understands every challenge is a possible opportunity.


Mark Sage, Director of Augmented Reality for Enterprise Alliance (AREA), spoke to us about the Enterprise Augmented Reality market, Digital Transformation trends and more:

With a focus on creating value and ROI for AREA members, Mark Sage’s goal is to develop a robust and active ecosystem for AR. His background includes a strong interest in mobile, AR, VR, and IoT and he is excited to work with enterprises, providers and research organizations to the benefit and growth of the AR within the enterprise.

What does the AREA do?
The AREA – Augmented Reality for Enterprise Alliance – is the only global, membership-funded non-profit alliance dedicated to help accelerate the adoption of Enterprise Augmented Reality (AR) by supporting the growth of a comprehensive ecosystem. The AREA focuses on four strategic objectives, namely:

1. Thought leadership: They create, collect and curate up-to-date AR technology content, created by neutral thought leaders and experts.
2. Networking: They facilitate an environment for the AR community to connect and share experiences, partnerships and insights related to AR technology.
3. Education: They are looking to close the AR skill(s) gap by supporting education courses and jobs promotion.
4. Reducing barriers to adoption:  They organize committees to focus on adoption issues. including Research, Security, Functional Requirements and Safety.

What’s the AREA focusing on now and where’s it headed to?
The AREA works on creating thought leadership content to help business decision makers understand the benefits of AR. As the ecosystem grows, the AREA is also focusing on breaking down the barriers to adoption in implementing AR enterprise solution.

What’s your take on the AR market from now until 2020?
The Enterprise AR market is in its infancy; more deployment was seen last year. It’ll be interesting to see how many enterprises adopt AR this year. Like I said earlier, I see the AR market heading towards to actual solutions beyond trial and testing.

What are some of the key industries where you think AR will change the game?
Aerospace, Manufacturing, Automotive, maintenance across many verticals, Shipbuilding (design and task walk-throughs), and more. In all these industries, AR will have to first move on from trials to fully commercialised solutions. Once this is achieved, it will change the way we digitise and function. AR will enhance efficiency.

What are some of the factors that’ll aid smooth digital transformation and some that’ll be a barrier?
In a few words, how can organisations work towards it?There are organisations that are still print-heavy and traditional. Others have established a digital stronghold. Enterprises in both the extremes seem to face barriers with digital transformation. The key is to implement these changes step-by-step. Be clear on the problem (use case) you are trying to solve and focus on it. Trying to solve too many problems at once can create confusion.

What are some developments you are expecting in the AR market? (Software and wearable technology) 
I look forward to more clarity on the best use cases. The AREA is playing a huge part in it, helping enterprises decide what’s best for them through its members thought leadership content. Improvement in wearable technology and increased battery life and other key factors that the AREA has outlined in its AR hardware and software requirements will help.

Benefits of Immersive Technology in Education

Prosper Cumps-ruelle

Prosper Cumps-Ruelle, Developer, Appearition

In the past few years, many new types of technologies have emerged to help us embrace new ways to learn, view content and interact with it. By consequences, existing technologies and techniques are getting reviewed for their efficiency, reliability and cost.

Some game changing innovations that can revolutionize learning and teaching are the three main immersive technologies: Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) and Mixed Reality (MR).

When it comes to studies, VR and MR can make a difference in a student’s learning by providing it more engagement with the material, a more immersive interaction (and in turn, less distraction), advanced and more relevant testing as well as getting the students hands on simulations early on. Each aspect of those immersive technologies can add a major improvement on almost every milestone of a student’s journey.

Interactive theory

Theory modules could be improved using VR by granting the student a broader look of its study material, as well as ways to interact with it. In the case of medical studies, students learning the details about bone and joint structure would gain the ability to view a given 3D object of an articulation, move around, twist and deconstruct the joint to have a better understanding of how it truly works. It would also make the understanding of specific diseases on certain body parts easier to visualize by animating the body part deterioration, which wouldn’t be as easily done with either objects or videos. The biggest challenge with theory modules is that students struggle a lot keeping themselves engaged with constant intensive learning, which is where immersive technologies and gamification can come in to help.

Technology in practice

Practical modules could be improved with both VR and MR by letting the student manipulate objects either in virtual space using VR, either in real space while being given additional information using MR. For engineering students, a MR workflow would let the student interact with objects with either virtual labels tracking real objects being manipulated. Furthermore, extra tutorial information for an experiment, such as the current step, the rules, safety precautions, will be available. For some potentially risky practical experiments, VR could help out by providing the student a realistic environment without risks, allowing the student to learn by trying without the fear of failing.

Creative Reality

Creative students could also benefit a lot from those technologies on both theory and practical sides. When it comes to creative fields, such as design and art, communication could be greatly improved by having hands on easy-to-use immersive devices. In design, prototyping is one of the most constraining bit because of the need to provide accurate information within a limited time. Certain fields of design, such as game design and 3D modeling/animation often requires the students to either go through a lot of writing or a lot of work to express a simple idea; while tools such as Tilt Brush (by Google) could provide a quick visual (perhaps animated) understanding of the idea.

A holistic learning environment

Immersive technologies could help testing students’ knowledge more properly than paper tests or most assessing methods currently used. When applied properly, VR/MR can create an environment suited for series of testing specific to the material: In the field of medicine, it can simulate an accurate stressful situation where a patient is going through an emergency while its family is screaming in the corridor, an electric engineering student can experience diagnosing an electric installation on a rough and windy day, architecture students could experiment structure design against various natural catastrophes or crowd simulations, design students could spend less time accurately brainstorming a prototype before getting started with the production, etc.

Using the growing Immersive Technologies, there’s a possible improvement in every field of study, in various aspects, allowing students to have a more engaging, smoother and fun learning.

Shaping the role of educators with technology


Digital transformation will impact job roles in future. Hence, it is important to shape the role of an educator. Market leaders predict that Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality (AR/VR) will change the basics of how teachers teach.


Immersive technology will enter e-learning and classroom learning in near future, making teachers mentors first, says Michio Kaku, Physicist and Author. A recent Technavio study predicts that online higher education market in the US is set to grow at a compound annual growth (CAGR) rate of 20% until 2021.

If teachers start using technology as a medium of instruction whilst teaching, it will enable students to learn the ropes of this at an early stage.

Some ways in which teachers can use AR/VR technology in classrooms:

  1. Smart class: Moving away from traditional projectors or picture projects, teachers can use AR to overlay an animal or forest picture for a social science class or produce a square or hexagonal shape for geometry.
  2. Presentation skills: Adding fun to Powerpoint, teachers can promote the use of AR/VR and prompt students to learn further by pointing at an object.
  3. Beyond classrooms: AR/VR can be used anywhere with just a small, handheld device. This can enable teachers to make field trips and lab visits even more interesting with prompters and overlays.

The Technavio report further says AR in education market will grow steadily at a CAGR of more than 82% by 2021. Educationists say, students are increasingly interested in learning things that are aided with an augmented overlay or e-vision. In such an environment, the students are completely engrossed in the space around them. These enhance students’ cognitive and interactive skills.

Based on an article published in Edtech and EdSurge.

AR/VR Magic in Education

AR/VR’s immense potential in the field of Education is picking up with several colleges inculcating it in their activities. A snapshot of how technology has added value to what they do:

Iowa State University

How does a player train at a centre on par to the field experience without having to visit one? That is where VR came-in handy for the students and faculty at the Iowa State University.

Virtual Reality Applications Centre

The University’s football coaches collaborated with the Virtual Reality Applications Center to recreate a live match effect just like at Jack Trice stadium to help players train.

The virtual action takes place in the C6, an immersive VR environment in the VRAC. The players wear a VR headset and practice in a live stadium setup with virtual opponents. This enabled students to place themselves in the centre of action.

Savannah College of Arts and Design (SCAD)

We might just be few steps away from an actual teleporting facility. In the virtual world, one can place themselves on the other side of globe at the touch of a button.

VR Recruiting Toolkit

People at SCAD have done just that, sending out Google Cardboards to 30,000 of their recruits last year, enabling them to view their campuses across the globe. The excitement of the students to view their home for next few years and the parental concern of where their ward will be resolved at the touch of a button.

Utilizing the other fruits of VR, the university took to AR to provide enhanced course catalog with AR videos and animations that aided course study for several students.

Texas A&M University – Virtual Campus Tours

VR campus tours have become tech fad at most universities. Texas A&M University unveiled immersive 360-degree VR tours at SXSW in March, showing how VR aides as a recruitment tool. The VR tours also relieve the management and students of having to work a mutually agreed date and time of tour as it enables tours from anywhere, anytime the student wants. Furthermore, the virtual tours provide a much-detailed over view of all the aspects in a campus as opposed traditional walk-in basic over-view.

Embrace excellence in the field of Education, setup your own AR/VR facility at just one click.

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Based on an article that was first published in