Just a quick post to point you in the direction of the latest retailer to integrate our virtual dressing room software, The Webcam Social Shopper (WSS). Malaysian based Zawara just redesigned their entire site, and took that opportunity to integrate WSS into their product detail pages. If you want to see it in action, please click here.
Well, we have some more data for you. Back in February I told you about how Mattel and their agency, Attention, used the Webcam Social Shopper (WSS) to help fans of all ages step inside “Barbie’s Dream Closet” (more info). We now have three months of data on barbiethedreamcloset.com, and I thought you’d be interested in being brought up to speed on the results (spoiler alert: it’s doing really, really well):
As you can see, WSS usage is trending upwards, and the people using it are highly engaged.
If you’re interested in a more “raw” look at how people react while they’re actually using WSS, here’s a quick little video we shot while at Fashion Week. Don’t worry, it’s not some cheesy marketing video, just a bunch of candid reactions from people:
For those of you that weren’t able to make it the Augmented Reality Event, we wanted to share Matt’s presentation from yesterday (5/8). Titled “The Augmented Reality Retail Hype Cycle 2012″, Matt discussed the market viability and realities of several AR retail triggers within today’s marketplace (not 5 years from now), including: smart-phones, in-store kiosks (OOH), tablets, web and the digital living room.
We’d love to hear your thoughts and questions in the comments below. Also, we lost some formatting when importing the deck to Slideshare, so please excuse any irregularities…
Investment in augmented reality development is one key to our industry’s success. So we thought we’d aggregate, and share a list of our industry’s “success stories”. We’d like this list to not only be about the developers that are getting venture capital funding, but the large corporations that are validating the space by investing their resources/money towards AR as well.
As you can see, the space is starting to heat up.
We’ll try to update this list regularly, so please feel free to add anything I’m missing in the comments.
Flutter Raises $1.4 Million For Gesture Recognition Tech (Link)
13th Lab raises $700,000 to build its ‘UI for reality’ (Link)
Ditto Picks Up $3 Million From August Capital, Others For Its Virtual, 3D Eyeglasses Sales Site (Link)
How To Attract Justin Timberlake: Here’s The Pitch Dekko Used To Snag The Celebrity Investor (Link)
Total Immersion gets $5.5M to expand augmented reality (Link)
Layar Augments Reality With $14M in New Funding (Link)
Tonchidot Raises $12 Million Round B, Expands Augmented Reality/Social Gaming Platform SoLAR Globally (Link)
EU backs ST-Ericsson to deliver augmented reality (Link)
Google, Apple Making Augmented Reality Cool Amid CES (Link)
Microsoft And TechStars Launch Kinect Accelerator For New Kinect-Based Startups (Link)
Qualcomm opens submissions for its $200,000 Augmented Reality Developer Challenge (Link)
Blippar raises seed funding from Qualcomm for mobile augmented reality technology (Link)
Gamma III structures first round funding of Mobilizy GmbH (Makers of Wikitude) (Link)
HP Acquires Control of Autonomy Corporation (Makers of Aurasma) (Link)
Augmented Reality App Maker CrowdOptic Scores $500,000 In New Funding (Link)
More funding news in Poland: augmented reality game ShootAR is backed by IIF (Link)
Have you seen the coverage of these “3D Virtual Fitting Rooms”? Thanks to the power of the Microsoft Kinect several of these hacks products have entered the market over the past few months, and they’re getting a bit of media attention (wait, here’s another one that just launched yet is claiming to be the “first”). Because of these articles, I’ve been asked by a few people for my thoughts on these 3D Virtual Fitting Rooms, hence the post below. Hopefully this post will initiate a bit of dialogue among us, and whether you agree or disagree with me, I’d love for you to weigh in below.
So, without further ado, let me give you a run down of our thinking on 3D Virtual Fitting Rooms:
Depth Sensing Cameras – The cameras these executions are using are cutting edge and offer (developers) some huge opportunities to create compelling motion/gesture based user interfaces, and overall more sophisticated augmented reality user experiences. A depth sensing camera’s functionality is simply leaps and bounds more advanced than the average person’s webcam… it’s not even close. To borrow a Larry Miller quote: “It’s the difference between shooting a bullet and throwing it.”
Powerful Hardware Systems – When we’re looking at In-Store 3D Virtual Fitting Rooms, developers are able to control the hardware that’s powering the experience. That means they can create significantly more powerful applications since they don’t need to build software for the hardware the average user has at home (like we do). This is definitely a benefit.
Foot Traffic – These types of systems are pretty novel, and initially people will be interested in playing around with them. So if you’re one of the first stores to utilize the tech, you’ll probably generate a bit of extra foot traffic, and a bit of buzz.
At Home Hardware & Penetration – All of these 3D Virtual Fitting Rooms claim to work in people’s homes. And technically, that’s possible. They can be made to work in a home, but I’m going to get right to the point: do you have a depth sensing camera at home? Probably not. In short, that means you can’t use the 3D Virtual Fitting Room. The fact is PCs and connected TVs are a few years away from having depth sensing cameras integrated natively, so realistically your only opportunity to have a depth sensing camera at home is to own a Microsoft Kinect. So, let’s assume you have a Microsoft Kinect at home — after all, as of March there were already 10 million units sold. First off, as we discuss consumer reach, is should be noted that that number pales in comparison to the PC numbers Intel noted recently: over 1 million computers are sold daily and there are 1.5 billion in use. Second, Microsoft hasn’t announced details around commercial licenses for the Kinect. And that’s important. Will a retailer have to pay 50 grand to create Xbox applications? Will Microsoft take 30% of sales and kill any margins? Will they even allow a third party shopping application on X-Box Live or will they “reject” them when submitted? These are all questions that today we don’t know the answers to. So, if only a minority of people even have potentially compatible hardware, and those that do have no ability to access the software… how can people realistically use a retailer’s 3D Virtual Fitting Room at home?
Content Is King, And There Is No Content – This one will be quick: Manufacturers/Retailers don’t have 3D assets of their clothing items, and as of today 3D assets for augmented reality are cost prohibitive to produce. And without clothes, it’s not a very compelling “fitting room” is it?
“Fit” Just Can’t Be Done – Even if retailers could create perfect looking 3D assets in a cost effective manner, these alleged “3D Virtual Fitting Rooms” can’t accurately portray fit (i.e. where a garment would actually bunch, hang, or bulge on a person’s very unique body), or provide shopper’s with the tactile feedback that’s such a key component of the “promise of fit”.
What’s The Value-Ad For The In-Store Shopper? – Question: What exactly does the spate of 3D Virtual Fitting Rooms add to the current in-store shopping experience? It’s new… and different, sure. But does it truly help the shopper shop? Once they get past some initial “wow factor”, will it continue to add to the shopping experience? I mean, the actual dress is three feet away on a hanger. If they’re at home, I get it. It can help them to better visualize what the item might look like on them. But why would a shopper that’s in a store prefer to “hold up” a digital dress, rather than feel and interact with the real deal? They made the effort to leave their homes, and come to a store. Why would they then opt for an experience they could pretty much have at home on their laptop?
As I’m sure you can guess, in my opinion the “bad” outweighs the “good” for today’s crop of 3D Virtual Fitting Rooms. The technology is incredibly powerful but I think that the realities of the current marketplace make this technology an unwise investment for retailers. To be honest, if a retailer has the luxury of being on a development timeline that lasts a few years and can afford some R&D, then my advice would change. But with budgets being tight, if a retailer wants to make an impact today, I think it’s way more prudent for them to start with a 2D experience online. It’ll cost less; will be easier to produce/execute; will be usable by significantly more of their shoppers; and, already has data to support its effectiveness.
As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts below… And you can find me on twitter here.
This year we’ve seen some pretty cool “out of home” branded augmented reality executions. Below are videos from Disney, National Geographic and Lynx showcasing their work. As you’ll see, they are pretty similar in concept, and yet subtly different in execution.
It’s always fun to watch people’s reactions in these videos. Part amazement, part wonder and part pure joy. I like all three executions, but personally, the National Geographic’s one is my favorite. Admittedly, I’m a bit of a nerd about NatGeo (among other things). I love that channel. But I also love that they used some gesture controls to make the AR experience more interactive.
So what do you think? Which one do you like best? I’d love to get your thoughts below…
Hey Folks! Our newest augmented reality brand engagement is live, and you can check it out here. Unfortunately, we’re not cleared to discuss any of the details around the execution (in this blog) so this is going to be the extent of this post. But, you’re a smart crowd, so I’m pretty sure you’ll be able to figure it out once you click on the link above…
Note: The engagement actually launches as a pop-up off the site, so please make sure you allow pop-ups on the page.
Are you familiar with SocialVibe? Odds are, you’ve seen their work. They power user-initiated brand engagements on some of the web’s most visited networks. Networks like Zynga Games and Pandora. If you’d like more information on SocialVibe, Fast Company ran a great piece on them the other week.
Recently, we partnered with SocialVibe and Deutsch to create the “Anthem Blue Cross Webcam Exam” for Zynga’s network. It’s a fun, interactive Augmented Reality “Check-Up” that reminds people of the importance of seeing a Doctor regularly. It actually uses facial tracking to allow people to naturally interact with several Doctor’s tools, like that thinga-ma-bobby that they use to look at your eye (sorry for using such technical language).
Below, is a demo link for those of you that want to check it out. I’ve also embedded a few screencaps below as a mini walk-through to showcase the engagement. I’d love to get your thoughts on the execution in the comment section, and as always, you can find me on twitter here.
In the past we’ve addressed some of the technical limitations that we see with the mobile augmented reality space in general. In this post, I want to get very specific and address why we don’t currently develop our ecommerce augmented reality software for the mobile market (as we get this question a fair amount). For those of you that are unfamiliar with our software, The Webcam Social Shopper, I’ve embedded an introductory video below.
Sorry, for some reason we’re having trouble embedding the video. If you don’t see it above, you can view it on YouTube here.
Okay, so back to the question at hand: Why don’t we develop for mobile? The short answer? It’s simply not strategic to do so. Let me explain our thinking:
The Addressable Market Is Just A Fraction Of The Computer Market
Our shopping application functions like a mirror, so that means people need to have their screen, and their camera facing the same direction (AKA a forward facing camera). For the computer market, that’s just the way it works… but in the mobile space, that essentially leaves us with two consumer devices: the iPhone 4 and the iPad 2.
Like all businesses, we need to be laser focused and strategic with both our financial and human resources. So let’s look at where we can have a greater impact now. Let’s look at the potential consumer reach for PCs, iPad 2s, and iPhone 4s:
Sources: In September, The Daily Beast stated that 30 Million iPads had been sold. Back in March at the iPad 2 launch event Steve Jobs noted that 15 Million iPads had already been sold.
iPhone 4: 50 to 75 Million sold (note: we don’t know how many of these are replacements for a previously purchased iPhone 4).
Sources: At the recent iPhone 4S event, Apple CEO Tim Cook noted that the iPhone 4 accounts for half of all iPhone’s sold. Back in March Steve Jobs noted that since 2007 Apple had sold 100 Million iPhones.
Okay, so let’s put the combined iPad 2 and iPhone 4 sales at the high end of that range: 90 million units. It’s an impressive number, but those sales totals are just 6% of the PCs that Intel states are “in use”… and it should be noted that Intel also states that PCs are selling at a rate of 1 million per day. And here’s another metric for you: 93% of digital traffic is consumed by PCs. That means that the entire Smartphone and tablet market (i.e. not just Apple’s two most recent product launches) accounts for only 7% of digital traffic consumption.
So, when looking at the addressable markets, it’s pretty clear that the computer has the upper hand.
It Would Be A Horrible Experience For The Shopper
For the sake of argument, let’s assume that the PC market didn’t dwarf the mobile market. Let’s assume everyone had a Smartphone and they all had forward forcing cameras. There’s still a rather large usability issue keeping us from developing for those devices. And that’s the arm length of the average person. If you noticed, in the video embedded above, the young woman is standing roughly 4 – 6 feet away from her computer. That’s because she’s visualizing if a dress’s style is right for her, so she needs to see her entire body. If you’re holding a Smartphone in your hand, you just can’t hold the phone far enough away to have that experience. And at the end of the day, if we aren’t providing an amazing experience for the shopper, than what the heck is the point?
Now I get it, mobile, especially the iPhone and the iPad get an overwhelming amount of media attention. Are they revolutionary products? Yes. I’m not debating that. Is the future bright for mobile? Of course. But that’s the future, and as a company we’re focused on how we can make the biggest impact in people’s lives today (and over the next 5 years).
Did you know that one day after download, only 20% of users come back and run an iPhone app? And after a month, that number drops to 5% (chart). For us, it’s not about producing an augmented reality app that people won’t use but will get us covered by the press. It’s about measureable impact. It’s about disrupting the way people shop online today, and providing them with a significantly better experience. On computers we can do that. On mobile devices, we can’t.
What do you think? Are we right? Wrong? As always, you can find me on twitter here.
In the past we’ve shared the data we’ve collected on our augmented reality work. But we truly love it when others in the industry share their findings as well. Below, you’ll find data from a study that the folks over at Hidden Creative conducted on Augmented Reality and the Sales Process. I’ll let their information below speak for itself, but I’d love to get your thoughts in the comments…
From Hidden’s Blog:
100 people were shown a display advert for a child’s toy, while another 100 people were shown the child’s toy as an interactive augmented reality experience. Each person was then asked two questions:
Would you consider buying this toy for a child?
How much would you consider paying for the toy?
The duration of engagement the audience had with each format was also monitored. Let’s look at the headline figures:
Likelihood to buy
After viewing the 2D printed display advert, out of 100 parents, 45% would consider buying the toy for a child. Out of those who viewed the augmented reality experience, 74% of the parents would consider buying the toy for a child.What we found even more intriguing was the price point at which the parents were prepared to make the purchase.
We Are Organized Chaos (WAOC) is Zugara’s (www.zugara.com) interactive marketing and advertising blog where we’ll be featuring some great projects and discussing upcoming trends in the digital world. Work — good and bad — will be critiqued. Hope you’ll enjoy reading our insights and thoughts on interactive.