5 augmented reality examples using Apple’s AR Kit to bring products to life

Following Apple’s big event of the year on September the 12th and the arrival of the much awaited iPhone 8 and iPhone X, we wanted to take a look at Apple’s ARKit in a little more detail.

We’re starting by exploring practical ways (augmented reality examples) in which this new addition to the augmented reality ecosystem will transform retail, and specifically, the ability for retailers to showcase their products in innovative, immersive and interactive ways.

Before launching into the augmented reality examples, let’s take a quick look at the context and opportunity that the launch of Apple’s ARKit (and the presence of Google’s ARCore running closely on its heels) presents to businesses from all industry sectors. Here’s a quote from TechCrunch which neatly sums up the numbers involved:

“With the launch of ARKit, we are going to see augmented reality apps become available for about 500 million iPhones in the next 12 months, and at least triple that in the following 12 months – as we can now include the numbers of ARCore-supporting devices from Google.”

So, in summary, 1.5 billion AR-ready devices in the hands of 1.5 billion potential customers. The numbers are compelling so let’s take a look at the potential use cases for retailers looking to tap into this burgeoning new market.

Soft furnishing AR product visualiser

Let’s start small and take a look at this product visualiser demo which allows potential customers to choose their product (in this case a cushion) and place it in the real world (on their sofa). This AR cushion visualiser is something we did as an agency with Tesco a few years back and now, with ARKit and markerless AR experiences, this demo makes the process even simpler.

Product visualisation using AR in this way is the ultimate ‘try before you buy’ and the next logical step for the online shopping experience. Online retailers started with quality product imagery, moved on to product video and then 360 products that shoppers could spin in their browser/app.

augmented reality examples for e-commerce

With AR, shoppers now have the ability to place a range of products in their own home and get an even more realistic sense of the product they’re looking to purchase.

Your favourite Swedish furniture placed in your home using AR

As well as smaller products, AR provides retailers of larger products with the ability to virtually get their products in consumer’s homes without the need for them to even leave their living room.

Probably the biggest and most publicised ARKit example seen so far is the IKEA Place app which is set to launch at the end of September. IKEA have history when it comes to augmented reality although the utilisation of ARKit has enabled them to take their huge range of (bulky) products and put them in their customer’s homes before they even step in store.

In an interview with TechCrunch, Michael Valdsgaard who heads up digital transformation at IKEA, talks about the maturing of the AR technology used in ARKit and his belief that now is the start of AR as a truly transformative technology:

“There is no need for special skills, no goggles, just take your iPad or iPhone and get going…. We really think AR is going to change everything that we know today.”

AR car configurator and visualiser

This next augmented reality example using ARKit shows the power of the technology to create truly compelling product demos that could go a long way to helping retailers in the sales process.

What we particularly like about this ARKit demo is the quality and realism of the experience. Not only can you place a full size virtual car on your own drive, but you can also configure the car by changing the colour and even drive it away!

Whilst it’s not quite a test drive, it is a playful way for the automotive industry to get their products in the hands of their target audience in a compelling and truly engaging way. It’s the type of AR experience that can build that all-important brand engagement and deliver it on a large scale.

Augmented reality examples of 3D food visualisatioin

So, we’ve looked at a number of augmented reality product visualisations which work because, on the whole, they look great as photorealistic 3D models. But what about organic products such as… food?

Early examples of AR menus have tended to focus on bringing the physical menu to life using augmented reality and providing information and entertainment to add value to the restaurant experience. However, with ARKit, the ability to create much more realistic 3D models has opened the door for a new type of augmented menu.

Using photogrammetry techniques, restauranteurs can capture and showcase their dishes to customers in the restaurant or order online. For those who can’t decide what they fancy or those that get ‘plate-envy’, this is a great solution and something we’re sure to see become more and more widespread.

Design led and user-focussed AR product visualisation

And finally, we’ve included this next example because of the attention to detail that the developer has placed on the UX and UI. The subject of this ARKit demo is the iPhone which looks great although it’s the interface around the product which really hints at a future where we as consumers will be interacting with the physical world in an entirely new way.

We’ve already talked in detail about designing for augmented reality experiences and this example is similar to AR experiences that we have delivered for brands such as Delphi. The idea of consumers interacting with a user interface overlaid in the physical world isn’t new although ARKit now provides the ability for designers to explore new ways to sell the features and benefits of products and new ways of getting users to interact with virtual products.

As you can see from these 5 great augmented reality examples, the potential for retailers to showcase their products (and services) in the best possible way using AR. We’re excited to continue to play such a big part in this augmented revolution and are currently working with a number of clients, creating AR product visualisation apps that will act as the ultimate sales tool for their products.

Showcase your products with AR

For more information on how to bring your products to life with augmented reality, please call us on 01604 453 177 or drop us an email.

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