Augmented Reality In The Real World
Augmented Reality (AR) is the bridge between actual and virtual reality. Where computer generated, virtual objects are simulated over a real world environment.
With Google stating that they have a bigger focus on Augmented Reality than Virtual Reality (VR) (9to5google, April 2016) and Digi-Capital predicting that AR will be a $90 billion industry by 2020 (compared to $30 billion for VR,) it’s easy to see why AR has been voiced as one of the rising trends of packaging for the past few years.
As the Internet of Things grows rapidly along with the use of social and digital means to increase brand engagement, AR is certainly a key method that can be utilised to enrich the user experience. Here’s our view on where with the greatest potential exists for implementing AR:
Agrochemical packaging for training in stewardship – AR has the power to make the information provided in booklet leaflets more accessible and relevant via diagrams and animations, thoroughly enriching the user experience. For example, with AR, customers simply hold up their smart phone to a pack to be shown images of the required PPE to wear and video instructions on how to use the product and then triple rinse the pack.Much more convenient than searching and reading through lengthy information booklets. AR has a further advantage, breaking language barriers if animations and images are used.
Pharmaceutical packaging for increased patient safety and adherence – Non-adherence is a huge and costly issue within pharma and the wider health service. AR could grow to be an extremely valuable tool in alleviating this problem. For example, diabetic patients could hold their smart phone up to their body and the correct areas to inject insulin would be mapped onto an image of their body, removing any uncertainty about the process. AR features, on tablet cartons for example, could also be used to supplement and replicate information from the PIL in a more user friendly way. PIL’s contain vital safety information, but often go unread or become separated from the pharmaceutical pack; using AR ensures that the information remains with the product throughout its life.
FMCG packaging to increase customer engagement – With global brands like Snickers, Heinz, Cheerio’s and Heineken already having utilised AR packaging via the app Blippar, other FMCG companies will certainly want to be jumping on this bandwagon. Heinz’s AR tomato ketchup recipe book is a great example of providing increased product and brand information in a way that’s useful and novel for the customer. Although ARuse within FMCG has yet to be fully exploited, even these ‘gimmicks’ can increase consumer touch points, cementing a brand connection and driving repeat purchases in an increasingly competitive market. There’s also the potential for brands and supermarkets to boost sales through AR, for example, the customer scans a pack of steak while shopping – a bottle of wine that complements the steak could be suggested for the consumer to purchase additionally.
There are of course some barriers to AR – these include the requirement for the app and a ‘smart’ phone. This may suggest a younger target audience, however, with 75 billion iOS and Android App downloads in 2015 and approximately 2billion smart phones worldwide, this may not be such an obstacle going forward.
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