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Santander's AR App Lets You Walk in the Shoes of the Working Homeless

Arnold launches first-of-its-kind immersive augmented reality experience

Santander's AR App Lets You Walk in the Shoes of the Working Homeless

Santander Bank North America and Arnold today released a project film and launched a new consumer app for the 'In Someone Else’s Shoes' program, a social impact initiative aimed at reminding us that everyone deserves to be treated with respect. The experience seeks to spread respect through understanding of the working homeless, a group that represents 25 percent of the homeless population. By shining a light on some of the challenging realities facing this population, 'In Someone Else’s Shoes' offers participants a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in a reality many are unaware of with the hope of building awareness, changing perceptions and helping individuals and families secure more permanent housing.

Available this week for iOS and Android, the 'In Someone Else’s Shoes' app gives consumers the opportunity to continue the experience, engaging with cutting edge augmented reality (AR) technology to better understand some of the issues and challenges of being homeless while being employed full-time. The app allows participants to experience immersive day-in-the-life moments drawn from real-life experiences of the working homeless population. For every app download, Santander will donate $1 to organisations committed to getting people into more permanent housing.

“This piece of content was purposely designed to put the viewer in the subject’s shoes and see things from a different point of view,” said James Bray, executive creative director of Arnold. “Together with Santander, we wanted to leverage the power of augmented reality to allow the viewer to empathise and connect with the character. We brought together the best-in-class thinking of our emerging technology team in the Havas group as well as our partner Arcturus to create the end-to-end customer experience.”

The 'In Someone Else’s Shoes' experience is a breakthrough in AR technology as the first real-time re-targeting volumetric content ever released, as well as the longest AR volumetric piece released to date. The experience is pioneering the integration of volumetric video, photogrammetry and computer graphics. 

The program kicked off last month with interactive art installations set up in high foot-traffic, pedestrian areas in Boston. Through the 'In Someone Else’s Shoes' immersive AR experience, participants were introduced by video to the plight of the working homeless through the life of 'Jen', a full-time employed nurse’s assistant living in her car, and then step into her shoes through a series of immersive augmented reality experiences depicting a snapshot of her life.

“At Santander Bank, we’re committed to ‘walking the walk’ by ensuring that respect is at the foundation of everything we do, from how we interact with our colleagues to how we connect with our customers and engage our communities,” said Michael Cleary, co-president of Santander Bank and head of consumer and business banking. “By bringing attention to a segment of the population who are misjudged by society and don’t feel respected – the working homeless – we hope to reshape the narrative around this issue and help close the respect gap.”

This initiative aligns with Santander’s customer promise to ensure that respect is at the core of everything the Bank does and aligns with a recent study, which found a disparity between how people think they behave towards others in comparison to how their behaviour is perceived. The data indicated that 94 percent of Americans consider themselves respectful, but only 24 percent believe that other people show respect.

Throughout the 'In Someone Else’s Shoes' activation, more than 2,000 people engaged with the immersive experience in Boston, driving more than 4,800 pedometer app downloads, and generating over $200,000 in donations from Santander to Heading Home, a non-profit organisation which has been pioneering programs to end homelessness in Greater Boston for four decades. Santander wanted to share the AR technology experience with the broader consumer market via the consumer app, which is available in the Apple App Store or Google Play.

“Heading Home is incredibly thankful to have been the beneficiary of Santander Bank’s ‘In Someone Else’s Shoes’ local activation and to have worked with the bank to help drive awareness of the challenges our clients experience daily,” said Danielle M. Ferrier, Chief Executive Officer at Heading Home. “Santander’s support helped Heading Home provide 200 individuals and families with rent, security deposits and emergency management funds, which will allow them to successfully move from shelter to housing and remain housed.”

To support the working homeless population and participate in the immersive AR experience, consumers can download the “In Someone Else’s Shoes” app from the Apple App Store or Google Play.

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Category: Banking , Finance/insurance

Genre: Creative technology , People