Virtual Reality is a computer-generated simulation of reality that allows users to interact.
Augmented Reality, on the other hand, is the blending of virtual reality into real life, where an artificially created world is superimposed on our natural perception.
Long limited to tech fantasies, augmented reality and artificial intelligence have finally crossed the chasm into being…well, useful. AR integrations in apps from stores like Magnolia and Ikea have solved a major problem with online shopping: they let you see products in your space before you buy. Just point your phone at your living room and see how that new couch or coffee table fits in. Similarly, Gap’s DressingRoom app is bringing the AR magic into the apparel space by enabling users to see garments on a mannequin of their selected size. And it won’t stop there. A future is in sight where you’ll be able to point your phone in the mirror and see how those same threads will look on your body.
Meanwhile, chatbots have finally found their place. Brands are figuring out the best way to use artificial intelligence isn’t to replace humans, but to help them. Relegating digital agents to the grunt work, like sending out tracking numbers and shipping updates, is freeing up human capital for complex tasks, like handling customer concerns, dealing with special requests or building business strategies. Finally, human and machine are working in harmony to create a better experience for the customer.
One of the IMHO most amazing innovations, which I found during one of my research journeys, is Google® Duplex®. I’m so free to say, that I am really informed about the new digital world, but this one just made me breathless. Have a look for yourself.
I have no Google® Home or Alexa® at home yet. Even my smart TV just arrived a few weeks ago (and I still didn’t find any advantages).
But I love my Google® Assistant App on my smart phone! I was born in 1964 (that makes me a generation X man) and I’m still an amateur when typing on my virtual keyboard (I started to type with my thumbs, but I gave it up). So this, oh so friendly assistant who’s always happy when I call her, is really convenient and comfortable for an old guy like me 😉
And this kind of inventions have also a great impact on e-commerce (B2C AND B2B). People are getting more and more used to the comfort of these new features. Brick and mortar commerce can enrich the customer experience by augmented reality, like smart mirrors.
They can recommend matching add-on products and show relevant advertising when a customer enters the dressing room. The “Inspirational Mirrors”, walls of screens, survey passing visitors at the entrance and suggest various fashion styles from the catalog of goods.