Tag Archives: Augmented Reality

Level Up: The Possibilities Brought to Life by Pok??mon GO

By Zoe Dowling, Lead
Research Strategist, FocusVision
In the few weeks since Pok??mon GO’s US release, it’s become
a hands down winner for this summer’s ‘craze’. Future generations will likely reflect
on these times with the same fondness as with the hula-hoop or (more recently)
the ice bucket challenge ‘ but for smartphones the needle has forever been
moved.
A Friday evening walk on Los Angeles’ Redondo Beach Pier
mirrored many landmark locations around the country ‘ a majority of visitors on
the Pok??mon hunt, many of whom came furnished with mobile battery packs and
chargers. Beyond the volume of active players, it was striking to note how
inclusive the game is ‘ from tweens to grandpas; from individuals and couples
to groups, everyone wanted to catch ‘em all.
What drove Pok??mon
GO’s unprecedented popularity?
Given the inclusive fan base of the game, its popularity
isn’t just a result of the 90′s kids eagerly reliving their youth, nor is it simply
techies delighting in the technological convergence and execution. While these
are contributing factors, there’s more going on.
Pok??mon GO is
accessible
The internet, social media and smartphones facilitate a
connectivity and global reach to the extent that memes and trends spread almost
instantaneously. News about the game swept across the country and the globe.
People want to be part of the newest trend.
At the same time, the game’s easy (and free) entry allows
anyone with a smartphone to participate themselves. Within minutes of opening
the app, you experience the wonder of being virtually positioned within your
physical location and catch your very first Pok??mon where Augmented Reality
delights. Perhaps also Pok??mon GO highlights the universal popularity of mobile
casual gaming, although maybe for the first time it becomes a visible, in fact
public, activity.
Pok??mon GO merges
technologies in a way that its predecessors didn’t succeed
Maps aren’t new to gamers but location-based gaming appears
to have gone mainstream. The use of GPS and walking your virtual character
around your physical world is very neat.

Aside from tracking your movements on the map, your physical and virtual
location are also linked by Pok??stops. Here you pick up Pok??Balls and other
items to add to your stash while learning about the micro-landmarks in your
immediate vicinity. During my first walk I discovered that my local diner is 40
years old and that the town library gardens are home to a small remembrance
fountain. Not to mention countless, hitherto undetected, Pok??mon to add to my
Pok??dex.
The inclusion of Augmented Reality (AR), which some rightly
say is a limited aspect of the game appearing only when you encounter a Pok??mon
and attempt to catch it, nevertheless delivers one of the most ‘wow’ moments,
being the final convincing glue between your physical and virtual worlds. These
technologies, coupled with classic game elements of a mission based activity
where you are awarded experience points, level ups and engage in traditional
video-game combat, deliver a compelling experience.
Pok??mon GO allows
users to concurrently escape and explore their world
Finally, it’s possible that the game brings a welcome relief
from this year’s bleak newsrooms. It provides a moment of escapism that you can
share, even just with slight smiles and nods, with the people around you.
Bringing us together, albeit for a brief moment, in an increasingly fragmented
world.
 The branded advantage
Whatever the reasons for Pok??mon GO immense success, it has given
us a glimpse of possibilities with geo-location and AR that up until now have
felt more like a futuristic hyperbole. The opportunities extend well beyond the
gaming world. For brands, the race is on to capitalize upon people’s engagement
with the game and drive traffic to their retail environments. Furthermore,
well-considered partnerships can also help position the brand as a player
within the cultural conversation.
McDonald’s Japan became the first official brand partner
with 400 restaurants as ‘gyms’ and the remaining 2,500 sponsored Pok??stops but
there’s also been many instances of unofficial linkage with signs on shop
windows offering ’10% discount for any Pok??mon captured here’ and countless
social media posts by brands all eager to be part of the moment.
Will Pok??mon GO
impact market research?
It’s hard not to start considering the implications for
research. From an immediate perspective the smartphone message, which should
already be loud and clear, is booming. People have smartphones. People are
using smartphones. This is where we’ll find them.
The willingness to use GPS and having your movements mapped
is an interesting one. In many ways, people already give out this information
freely with check-ins on various social media and review sites but perhaps this
takes it to a new level.
What would a shopper journey look like using an app with a
map overlay? What if there were virtual items within the retail environment
that people found during their journey to signal a feedback loop? What if we
could use AR to have people select items from a set of features and overlay
them to create a view of the environment as they’d like to see it?
In matter of few short weeks, this type of interaction with
research respondents feels entirely possible rather than a pipe dream. The
challenge now ‘ turning the potential into a reality.
Happy hunting!
About the Author: Zo?? Dowling
is the Lead Research Strategist for FocusVision, the global leader in research
technology. Her extensive background includes quantitative and qualitative
research design, data collection, analysis and report writing. She is an expert
in internet and mobile research, specializing in respondent engagement, as well
as online and offline qualitative approaches, including interviews, focus
groups and usability testing. For more information, visit FocusVision.com.

Do New Technologies Mean the Beginning of a Utopian Retail World?

New technological innovations that are increasingly flooding
the market are changing the way we live. Smart devices and the ever growing
ease at which we can shop online are continuously pushing the need for retail
innovation. Here are a few recent innovations that have caught my eye.
1.       Indoor Positioning Systems
Indoor positioning systems are
something that have come about to seemingly counteract shoppers having to waste
time searching aisle after aisle for exactly what they want. The system allows
shoppers to plan routes prior to visiting the store. It also allows for the
store to gather shopping preferences so the shopper can be sent coupons and
promotions based on their route. Personally I believe whilst this system is
good for shopping efficiency, it could detract from sales. Often shoppers see
items that they didn’t plan on buying and make impulse purchases. This comes
from browsing more of the store whilst searching for different things and
specific routes could hinder this.
2.       Augmented Reality
Augmented reality systems allow
consumers to virtually try on items that they are interested in purchasing. It
combines the physical real world content with the digital world to give the
consumer the opportunity to make a more informed decision. There are already
technologies such as a makeup mirror that allows the customer to see what they
would look like with different types and colours of makeup. There are also
systems to show furniture within homes and even 3D body-scanning technology
that gives clothes shoppers an idea of the fit as well as the look. Many of
these systems will be able to offer advice on other similar products and give
the opportunity to tweet and save pictures of how they look.
3.       Interactive Touch Screens
Touchscreens have become a
prominent part of today’s world. iPads especially are becoming commonly used
and more affordable. Retailers are experimenting on using touchscreen technology
in order to digitally enhance showrooms to serve as physical storefronts for
online retail operations. Wall mounted touchscreens free up store space and
provide consumers with a vast array of information such as price comparison,
reviews and images. It allows for purchases to be sent to the counter for
pickup or to be sent to a specific location.
Other new innovations include Virtual Reality systems that
allow to venture into digital shops and browse unlimited store items. Another
is Visual Recognition software that allows consumers to snap photos of items
and it will be recognized. The recognized item will then be matched to product
availability and pricing at nearby stores.
These new innovations mean that retail will become a lot
easier and consumers will be able to make more informed decisions. My interest
going forward in the retail world is whether the technologies mentioned could
be incorporated together. Augmented and virtual reality combined with systems
that allow to send the purchases straight to a home could spell a decline in
the need for physical stores. Shoppers would be able to shop from the comfort
of their sofa at home. However this utopian idea could still be well in the
future, but not entirely unlikely with the advancements that are continuously
being made.

About the Author:
Harry Kempe, a marketing intern at IIR USA, who works on various aspects of the
industry including social media, marketing analysis and media. He is a recent
graduate of Newcastle University who previously worked for EMAP Ltd. and WGSN as
a marketing assistant on events such as the World Architecture Festival, World
Retail Congress and Global Fashion Awards. He can be reached at hkempe@IIRUSA.com.  

Personal Data: Revolutionizing Our Professional Lives

Wearable computing and augmented reality will reveal our
lives to the world, and change every aspect of our working days.
You’re at work, reading a dashboard displaying data from the
tracking device you’ve been wearing to improve your health. Your sleeping,
eating and exercise habits have improved, but you’ve noticed a worrying
pattern. Every day from 2-2.30pm, for the past two months, your wristband
device has indicated increased levels of stress, as measured by perspiration.
The dashboard notes changes in your “little data”
‘ granular information about your health ‘ and lists potential diagnoses so you
can take action. In this case, stress could lead to hypertension and high blood
pressure. Looking at your calendar, you realize why those 30 minutes are
fraught with such tension. Your new manager ‘ we’ll call him Bob ‘ demeans you
during daily meetings, comparing you to colleagues in an attempt to raise
productivity. Visible on your screen are the results of his tactics: they’re
undermining your efforts to improve your health.
Two weeks later you’re standing with a group of colleagues
in your CEO’s office. You produce a report showing three months of data proving
you’re all suffering similar, adverse health effects. Timestamps indicate
tension spikes directly correlating to visits from Bob.
“If Bob stays on as a manager, our health premiums will
rise dramatically next year,” you say to your CEO. “More importantly,
unless things change, we’ll all need to look for new jobs based on a simple
fact as laid out in that report.” You pause for effect.
“Bob is killing us.”
We have the technology
This scenario might sound futuristic, but isn’t as
far-fetched as it seems. Someone at your office is probably already using a
Fitbit or other wearable device that tracks health or other behavior. No longer
a nascent sector occupied solely by Quantified
Self
 enthusiasts, Dow Jones estimates the health-sensor market to
surpass 400m devices and $4bn by 2014. The technology is already here; it’s
mainly privacy and protocol challenges that prevent the above scenario from
happening today.
In fact, the dashboards, data output and health correlations
described are standard for today’s wearable sensors. Many organizations already
are beginning to use them to help improve employees’ health and wellbeing while
lowering healthcare premiums.
It’s a trend that’s bound to make individuals less cavalier
about how they currently share personal data. After all, health information
holds intimate details that affect our economics, not just our privacy.
What’s more, the vapor trail of data we’re leaving about
ourselves will soon be visible on devices we’ll wear over our eyes and ears. In
effect, we’re becoming transhuman ‘ using technologies to enhance physical or
mental capabilities to the point where people and machines effectively become
one.
We’re essentially at that stage now, via ubiquitous
smartphones. We’re just under the illusion that, because these devices aren’t
part of us physically, they don’t control us.
The transhuman
employee

But technologies in the works today would integrate man and
machine even further. In August, Google filed a patent for an
advertisement-based system called Pay Per
Gaze
. Used in conjunction with a head-mounted device like Google Glass, the
company hopes to charge advertisers when people wearing the device look at
their ads. The patent also describes the next phase of the technology, “pay
per emotion
“, where pupil dilation or other physiological responses to
advertising stimuli would be measured in real time so Google can monetize your
responses.
Instead of advertisements, devices in the workplace could
monitor people’s faces for visual cues to track employee sentiments throughout
the day. Not engaged in a meeting? Your device could send a
“see-mail” to your boss indicating your blood pressure slowed during
a presentation indicating boredom.
Eye tracking could also be used to see if someone’s gaze
lingers inappropriately on the body parts of a colleague ‘ leer too long and
your data could appear in court. Whatever the behavior, the vapor trails we
leave at relating to our emotions, health and character will soon be visible in
ways they never have before.
While this type of work-based tracking may seem creepy,
people are already measuring themselves for these types of insights. So the
push to use these tools and methodologies is more likely to come from employees
who don’t want to stop using their devices during work hours than from a
C-suite mandate.
“I have no doubt these types of things will
happen,” says Brian Wassom, an expert on augmented
reality law
 and a partner at Honigman Miller Schwartz and Cohn LLP, a
Michigan-based international business law firm. “People could also wear
clothes with sensors to know which parts of their outfits are most appealing so
they can gauge their wardrobes accordingly.”
Your brain at work

This data could also be used to make work life more
sustainable. For example, Neumitra, a Boston-based company, is developing
wearable and mobile technologies that monitor the effects of stress on the
brain’s health and performance. The technologies aggregate health data to
provide insights about when employees are at their best or when they need a
break.
Neumitra’s work is proving that working smarter means
recognizing the fundamental limits and power of the greatest asset that
knowledge workers possess ‘ their brains. Neumitra founder Robert Goldberg
explained:
“The number of hours a truck driver can be on the road
is strictly limited, but staff at hospitals are pushed to work an insane number
of hours and still be expected to be at their best.”
Real-time data showing the balance of working efficacy and
wellbeing could help leaders recognize when employees ‘ and their productivity
‘ would benefit more from a protein shake or a nap than longer nights at the
office.
Rewards-based tracking provides another positive way for
organizations to introduce these methods to employees. Take Allstate’s
Drivewise App as a precedent. It monitors customers’ driving, alerting them of
higher-risk behaviors and rewarding safe drivers with lower insurance rates.
Drivers might’ve been expected to baulk at the idea of having their cars
monitored, but the offer of lower rates ‘ seven out of 10 drivers save money
through the program ‘ has attracted volunteers.
Similarly, offering rewards for improved behavior ‘ on a
voluntary basis ‘ will be a primary way to make employees feel comfortable with
sharing their personal data in the workplace.
A data with destiny

It would be a mistake to think that devices revealing data
about health and behavior can be kept out of the workplace. As more people
monitor various aspects of their health ‘ from cholesterol levels to their
number of steps each day ‘ data is getting personal. It’s inevitable that
you’ll soon see the impacts at work.
As these technologies and data become increasingly available,
transhuman resource departments ‘ in which human resource professionals help
navigate the intersection of carbon and silicon in the workplace, balancing
workplace productivity and ethics ‘ will become standard.
The scenarios involving sensor-enabled devices and
augmented-reality-visualization tools are endless. But now is the time for
organizations to establish protocols regarding privacy, ethics and etiquette
that make sense for their stakeholders. It’s best to develop a vision for
handling these issues now; otherwise, when the day of this data arrives, you
may not like what you see.
About the Author: John
C. Havens is the founder of The
H(app)athon Project
 and author of the upcoming book, Hacking Happiness ‘ Why Your Personal Data
Counts and How Tracking it Can Change the World
. John will also be speaking
at The
Future of Consumer Intelligence
, May 19-21, 2014 in San Francisco, CA. To
learn more about FOCI 2014, click here: http://bit.ly/GOzmEn

Augmented reality glasses on the way from Google?

Can you imagine walking around with a pair of glasses on and targeted information appears in the lens of your glasses?  According to a recent post from Fast Company, Google is working very diligently at making this a reality.  Their connection with the Android makes the technology possible, and their extensive database with user information would allow anything that appears on the glasses lens to be selected specifically for the user.

At this year’s The Market Research Technology Event, we’ll have a full day symposium on Mobile Research & Technologies Symposia, which looks specifically at new technologies like this that can look at how people use technology on the go, and possibly how augmented reality could fit into the picture in the future. As a valued reader of The Market Research Event’s blog, we’d like to offer you an exclusive discount of 15% off the standard rate for The Market Research Technology Event when you register and mention code MRTECH12BLOG! If you have any questions about the event, feel free to email Jennifer Pereira at jpereira@iirusa.com or visit the webpage.

What impact could technology like this have on the user?  What would be the advantages for marketers with an augmented reality like this?