“The Opportunities For AR at Retail Are Limitless”
Ahead of ‘Connected Frame’ being showcased at the Dentsu Aegis Network booth in dmexco next week, Isobar spoke with Mario Ballario, a Front End Developer from blue-infinity Linked by Isobar.
LBB> The Hublot ‘Connected Frame’ will feature in the Dentsu Aegis Booth in dmexco this year. Can you tell us more about this?
Mario Ballario> Our ‘Connected Frame’ display case offers customers an enhanced brand experience, integrated and customised at each point of contact. When customers walk-up and slide their arm under the display case, it retransmits all the user's movements, in real time, reproducing a 3D holographic image of their wrist, wearing the Hublot watch model of their choice. Display cases must deliver connectivity, interaction and customer experience, and combining the product with digital technology has been a great way to achieve this.
LBB> Did you work with any partners to develop the technology?
MB> No, the technology is proprietary to blue-infinity. We created virtual 3D models of watches with Cinema4D and Unity 3D software, which allows our team of creatives and developers to build experiences together. The virtual watches needed to be optimised by removing the number of polygons to render a design that is still true to form. The Unity application is connected to Leap Motion, a small sensor that connects to the computer and detects hand movement. We designed a mobile phone interface to select the watch and input personal data, with interactions connected to Salesforce CRM.
LBB> Can people transact directly from the booth?
MB> The booth can be installed almost anywhere, so even outside flagship stores, it creates a brand connection that might lead to a purchase decision. Thanks to the link with Salesforce, it’s possible for customers to enter their personal information and initiate contact, for example via email to make an in-store appointment or encourage an online sale.
LBB> How did the idea come about?
MB> As we like to stay ahead of the game, we sought to propose something unique to our luxury clients that would be both exciting to consumers and provide business value. Customers of our client Hublot benefited from an enhanced brand experience, integrated and customised via a unique point of contact.
Are there other opportunities for AR in retail environments?
MB> The opportunities for AR at retail are limitless. Retailers have already rolled out consumer-facing AR to virtually try clothing, makeup and accessories. What is unique here is that whilst most AR applications today are mobile based, our AR experience is accessible to all shoppers – an easily erected kiosk with no preparation or external devices required. The industry has seen conversion rate benefits of making consumers feel comfortable about a purchase, with AR technology helping reduce return rates from consumers making purchase mistakes.
LBB> Do you feel that are any security benefits to the luxury goods market using holograms?
MB> Holograms of luxury goods allow free product placement without risk of theft, so they can be enjoyed almost anywhere with minimal supervision.
LBB> What are the biggest challenges to the development of this technology?
MB> The smoothness of the interactive experience and producing realistic 3D models are the main challenges. Watches are very complex mechanical devices! Being an R&D project, we spent the time necessary for optimal development of a near-natural behaviour, to ensure customers feel comfortable experiencing it.
LBB> How can the luxury industry address broader challenges in product security?
MB> We deliver AIT Luxe authenticity solutions to luxury clients, which are a secure and real-time means of activating product warranty codes at purchase. Globally, 4,500 luxury points of sale are using our technology on mobile devices to authenticate over 1,000,000 transactions a year. These digital codes also connect brands and customers, so they can engage with offers and receive personalised services post-purchase.