You’ve been hearing the whispers; customers are talking about digital AR products. Are they expecting to find them on your website and on your app?
What happens if they don’t?
Loyal customers will take their business elsewhere. Your market share and revenue will be distributed to those engaging in AR and you can expect a ‘Thank you’ note from your competitors.
Why has AR become such an integral part of the customer experience seemingly overnight?
What has made customers shift their expectations drastically in such a short span of time?
We guarantee you won’t be kept in the dark much longer.
In this article you’ll learn:
- What are digital AR products?
- How are digital AR products being used?
- How 3D/AR is the next revolutionary step in digital commerce
What are digital AR products?
They are the virtual representations of your company’s products. Whether you sell complex machinery or a simple table, those products can be visualised as digital products you can display online.
Digital AR products are 3D models that are true to scale, colour, and texture. Using photorealistic rendering, 3D modellers can create 3D models of your products that are indistinguishable from their real-world counterparts.
3D models are the basis of all AR applications.
Whether you are looking to use a 3D viewer, 3D product configurator, or you wish to add preview placement to your marketing strategy, 3D models are the starting point for all of those endeavours.
How do you create a digital AR product?
To create a digital AR product, a company either hires a 3D artist to create the 3D models or they create one through 3D scanning. The optimal solution is typically dependent on the product itself:
- 3D artists is best for simpler products and products that don’t yet exist
- 3D scanning is usually reserved for more complex products
Companies can go through this process in-house (if they have the capacity) or they can hire a 3D product provider.
3D product providers offer the chance to create, manage, and publish 3D products, all from one place, while offering end-to-end services that allow the 3D content creation process to be scaled.
How are digital AR products being used?
In the manufacturing industry, digital AR products are proving to be something of a universal key that can be applied to any part of the manufacturing process.
It’s a match made in heaven.
AR can be applied to manufacturing within:
- Product assembly
- Employee training
- Quality control
Let’s start with the most obvious application of AR in manufacturing: product assembly.
AR can help simplify the process of assembling complex products by providing step-by-step instructions to the employee through visual cues. These guide them through the entire assembly process.
With AR, not only can existing employees work faster, but bringing new hires up to speed becomes a less resource-intensive process.
Next, we have maintenance. AR can improve the maintenance of industrial machinery as it can identify issues for the maintenance crew and suggest what needs to be fixed.
The maintenance crew can gain instant access to information such as operation times, the date of the last service, and even probable sites of failure.
AR can help identify unsafe working conditions. An employee can view a piece of equipment and see its running temperature, with the AR letting them know that the equipment is not safe to touch with their bare hands.
The same benefits apply to quality control. Visual inspection is a key part of ensuring product quality, which is why it is hard to automate. AR can make it simpler, however.
An employee using AR can quickly receive information about defective components, reducing the time required to inspect the product.
2. Design phase for R&D
Have you ever seen a Marvel movie where Iron Man plays with virtual representations of his technologies, creating groundbreaking advances in technology as he goes?
Well, that is not a far-fetched idea anymore.
Digital AR within R&D is a great example of technology stepping forward to simplify and streamline a process for all parties involved.
AR allows location-independent product interaction for development teams scattered across the globe, or kept apart by a pandemic.
Digital AR products allow for:
- Visualisation of products from anywhere in the world.
- Examination of details at every angle
- Comparisons of different states and variants of a model
- Adjustments to be made in real-time
Digital AR products allow different ideas, designs, and variations to be tested in the early stages of product development before the first prototype is created. It gives design teams a lot more room to manoeuvre.
No longer are they limited in the number of variations they can try out, as AR helps cut down on time and costs of prototype manufacturing.
It allows extensive analysis and testing to be performed on realistic virtual prototypes, meaning potential issues can be identified in the early stages of development.
By using digital AR products, designers gain the ability to create visual representations of products. These can be presented to potential investors, management teams and various stakeholder groups to improve the design team’s ability to communicate its benefits to the target audience.
As children, we all remember our grandparents looking at our textbooks and marvelling at how interesting and engaging they were compared to the textbooks of their own generation.
Well, we are happy to report that when we become grandparents ourselves, AR in education is what we’ll be complaining about.
AR is increasingly being adopted in education, especially to help students grasp difficult concepts and subjects. A good example is geometry, where students can use AR to manipulate geometric forms.
Digital AR products have the power to drive student engagement by providing visually stimulating lessons that are easy to understand. Students can scan their book pages and learn with 3D models. Teachers can even use 3D simulations that allow them to perform experiments in the real world.
Through the interaction feature of AR, students can engage with the subject they are learning about.
AR can almost double retention rates, making it a potent tool in education, requiring nothing more than a smartphone or tablet, internet connection, and an AR app.
4. eCommerce product visualisation
Product visualisation is one of the most potent uses of digital AR products. By creating 3D models of real-world products, companies gain the opportunity to bridge the gap between the online shopping experience and the retail shopping experience.
For a start, product visualisation is a far more engaging tool than 2D product images, proven by the fact that 82% of product page visitors choose to activate 3D viewers and 34% interact with 3D viewers for more than 30 seconds.
By providing customers with the chance to visualise their products from the comfort of their homes, companies gain a powerful tool to help them fight buyer hesitancy and increase customer understanding of their products.
Using product visualisation, purchases are less likely to disappoint customers, driving down return rates by as much as 40%.
Combined with achieving lower return rates and higher user engagement, utilising digital AR products is an obvious choice, with a return on investment potent enough to convince even the most sceptical managers.
5. Health care
AR in health care is the next big step into the future. That’s why the global AR healthcare market is projected to reach $4,2 billion by 2026.
And that’s because augmented reality can be applied to:
- Training of doctors
- Diagnosis of life-threatening conditions
Digital AR products can be instrumental in the training of health care professionals. The adoption of AR technology was accelerated by the Covid pandemic, as the virus prevented medical students from doing the ‘ward round’ – central to their training.
Technologies such as the Microsoft Hololens are being used to assist in surgical procedures, allowing surgeons to access the patient’s heart rate, body temperature, and blood pressure, all while performing surgery.
Here’s a surgical example of the capability of AR; in June 2020, neurosurgeons at John Hopkins University in Baltimore used AR to help place six screws during spinal surgery.
Furthermore, AR is also being used for vein detection. Drawing blood can be a difficult process for many patients and doctors. AR can provide doctors with a real-time image of the underlying vasculature, making finding a vein a simple and painless process.
AR can also help doctors diagnose their patients. Oftentimes, patients can struggle to communicate their issues to doctors, but AR can be a useful tool to help patients explain their problems.
AR can also be used to help educate the patients about their condition, providing them with better insight and understanding of their medical issues.
6. Gaming and entertainment
The gaming industry has been the biggest user of digital AR products so far. The technology has provided gamers with unique opportunities that have quickly been taken up by various development companies.
Which is why the VR and the AR markets have mostly been taken up by gaming as it represents nearly 80% of all revenue generated.
AR gaming combines the real world with a digital overlay that allows people to play their games out in the wild. It is an advance for which many gamers have waited a long time for.
Instead of merely sitting behind their computers, AR games allow their users to go out into the world and interact with it through an AR app. The imagination of the gamers literally comes to life – you can understand why AR games are enjoying such popularity.
But beyond the individual experiences, AR games give people the opportunity to be social, to share their games with their friends, collaborate, and compete.
By allowing players to interact with the real world, AR games provide people with an added dimension of intrigue and interest for the user.
AR offers massive benefits for the construction industry in every part of the process.
AR can help facilitate more accurate and effective planning. Once designs are completed, employees can walk through the plans on-site while using AR, finalising the logistics and identifying potential problems.
AR can be used to create client presentations, offering a chance to see the realistic version of the finished product. Any necessary changes can be made before the construction team begins building, saving both parties time and money.
AR can also measure spaces. By using AR, companies can create models to accurately determine the dimensions of a property and gain a realistic understanding of what the finished product will look like.
And finally, AR allows for greater safety measures. The safety of the construction crew is paramount on any building site and AR can assist in ensuring it, whether by offering the chance to create a more detailed safety plan or by adding augmented hazard signs to equipment on the construction site.
How 3D/AR is the next revolutionary step in digital commerce
Since the inception of eCommerce, there has been a major gap between the experience of brick and mortar stores and their online counterparts.
Without the ability to examine products up close, hold them in their hands, or try them on, consumers have lacked the confidence to proceed with more expensive or complex purchases.
This is where 3D and AR have stepped in to revolutionise the process.
|Virtual ‘try on’||Customers can try on pieces of clothing, makeup, or glasses.|
|3D viewers||Customers can examine a product from every angle.|
|3D product configuration||Customers can customise their products according to their needs.|
|Preview placement||Customers can place products into the environment they mean to use them in to see if they will fit.|
Together, benefits like that not only overcome the challenges of online shopping, but provide a customer experience no brick and mortar shop can hope to match.
Give your customers a reason to shop with digital AR products
Now that you’ve learned about the AR revolution that is taking place in the eCommerce industry, there’s no excuse to delay integrating digital AR into your business.
AR and 3D products are quickly becoming tools that will take companies into the future, and ensure their ability to create immersive customer experiences while driving sales, brand reach, and customer loyalty.
Don’t let your competition get ahead of you by taking advantage of these tools first. Contact Plattar and learn how you can integrate digital AR products into your business today.