19 11 / 2015

Reinventing Retail

image

While online shopping options have exploded in recent years, brick and mortar purchases still account for the vast majority of expenditures - 93% worldwide. Many retailers have struggled to be good at both the online and in-person experiences and their approaches vary. Apple stores have been designed to look like a gallery of technology and products, but be interactive, with friendly, knowledgeable staff. Even as their stores were packed, Apple has questioned how to increase the share of overall phone sales from 20% in stores. A recent report found that 41% of respondents believed an in-person shopping experience was going to be a disappointment when compared to any online one. One of the primary reasons cited was the web’s ability to recommend other products, which was not recreated in the store. Many brands are seeking ways to reinvigorate the retail experience.

Starbucks, long known for piloting new food and beverage offerings in its stores is exploring a new concept with their Reserve Bar in London. The Reserve store experience is based on a more luxurious setting, exclusive beverage offerings and amenities for the connected customer - ultra-fast internet and plenty of wireless charging points. As brands like Starbucks explore new concepts and store designs, augmented reality can be a powerful tool in assisting that process. AR enables brands to try out different options for displays and floor layouts without committing up front. It can also be a valuable way to maintain consistency across different store locations. SpaceView gives brands a way to quickly capture a room and experiment with the placement of different objects using augmented reality. We give retailers a way to better see the impact of decisions and work with teams, whether collocated or across the globe.

12 11 / 2015

The Time is now for Augmented Reality

image

After being touted by tech media for years as “the next big thing” augmented reality is happening. Revenue potential estimates over the next five years hover in the hundreds of billions. Many projections are based in part on the success of the smartphone market, which presents a viable and widespread platform for AR capabilities. Much of the media discussion around virtual and augmented reality focuses on VR devices such as the Oculus Rift and Hololens which show impressive potential, but likely have several iterations ahead of them before they achieve a strong market footprint. Even Oculus founder Palmer Luckey has warned that it may take a few generations for the Rift headset to take off.

Today, the hardware of leading smartphones and tablets provide a basis for augmented reality applications and can begin to solve real business problems. At SpaceView, we utilize hardware that is already institutional in businesses, and in the pockets of most consumers. Using augmented reality, we’re helping sales representatives provide better information to their prospects, speeding decision making and improving outcomes.

Our application can be used on a smartphone or tablet and allows sales representatives to work with their clients to incorporate real-time feedback. This enables clients to make better purchase decisions and submit approvals faster. The current standard for a visualization or rendering involves a lot of discussion to ensure that everyone is on the same page, collecting feedback and incorporating that feedback into a schematic or rendering that cannot be modified in real time and requires significant technical know-how to produce.

image

While the technology behind augmented reality is complex, we believe that using it doesn’t have to be. SpaceView uses complex algorithms coupled with the information from a device’s sensors to provide a 3-dimensional view of an existing space. Users then drag and drop items from SpaceView’s 3D library into the correctly scaled scene. The familiarity of existing devices and a clean interface design help our customers on-board their users quickly and incorporate use into their sales processes with ease. Thinking in terms of 3D visualizations can take some getting used to, which is why we focus on intuitive design to make the transition as seamless as possible.

The entertainment and advertising industries have been leveraging augmented reality technology for several years, but with the projected market potential we should expect to see expansion across a myriad of industries. Existing hardware makes possible the development of products and services that a few years ago would have been unimaginable. The time is now for businesses to leverage the massive potential of augmented reality.

28 10 / 2015

It’s Time for Visualization Technology to Catch up

image

It’s difficult to name a process that hasn’t been revolutionized by technology in recent decades. Businesses can develop and create information faster than ever before and thanks to advances in computing technology we can capture an image and send it across the world in a few seconds aided only by the smartphone we carry in our pockets. While the ability to share information faster has changed, much of how we evaluate a space, what objects to buy to fill it and how to place them has not.

When CAD software was first introduced to engineers, architects and designers, decades ago, it began a revolution in the way designs were presented and plans were made, expanding the ability of companies to develop accurate and reproducible documents. In the time since, 3D rendering software has advanced in sophistication, but the focus has been on the complex, time consuming work of the few, highly technical users. Computing technology overall, by contrast, has greatly expanded its reach to non-technical users in that same time period. What was once a tool for the engineer is now embedded into everyday life and nearly all types of work - technical or not.

Visualization technology remains largely focused on the highly trained and specialized user, while its potential user base continues to grow, especially as a visual merchandising tool. Retail companies scouting new space spend significant time and resources on renderings to ensure that the space under consideration can meet their needs and adhere to their brand experience. Each time Starbucks opens a new store or The Gap wants to update displays at their many of locations, they rely on rendering technology that can be time intensive and expensive or forgo it altogether due to those prohibiting factors. Visual display retailers can provide a rendering estimate for prospects, but it takes time to put together and accuracy can be challenging. Few platforms take advantage of emerging augmented reality technology, which combines what is, with what could be; in a powerful visual.