Augmented Reality for the baby industry - an interview with Stefan Eipeltauer of FOKUS KIND Medien
Axkid "One", TFK "Mono Kombi" and Chicco "Next2Me" can be placed in the room using the smartphone. ©ARkid
Terms such as Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) or Mixed Reality (XR) are constantly circulating in the media. But what is the status quo of these technologies and how can manufacturers and retailers in our industry use them? We talked to Stefan Eipeltauer, owner of the media company FOKUS KIND Medien and ARkid, the agency for modern product visualisation.
Futuristic vision or reality come true? How do you assess the current state of new technologies such as AR, VR and XR?
In fact, development has accelerated considerably in the last two years, and the efforts being made by companies worldwide to invest in hardware and software in this field are enormous. For example, by 2021, around 3 billion smartphones and tablets will be able to display complex AR applications through the interaction of cameras, sensors and advanced software.
Already today, almost every mobile device allows consumers to realistically view the digital twin of a product. This market is already technologically developed in its first stage, which means that AR is literally within reach in everyone's pocket. Apple's "ARKit", Google's "ARCore", Snapchat "Lenses", WebXR and numerous other tools provide the necessary authoring environments for this purpose. The only thing missing is creative and high-quality content. Now it is up to the manufacturers to communicate their brands and products to the consumer with this exciting technology.
VR on the other hand is currently in an earlier stage of consumer acceptance. The adaptation of VR glasses is developing more slowly than anticipated and the technology still has a number of hurdles to overcome. Sony, HTC but especially Facebook with its Oculus platform dominate the field. With 52 million VR glasses sold by the end of 2021, we forecast a small but interesting target group - but AR or XR glasses are expected to have more chances of rapid distribution. Nevertheless, the potential for this technology holds exciting prospects for the future.
What are the advantages of using AR? What areas of use do you see for the baby and children's equipment industry?
Realistic product visualisations in the living room of expectant parents are a valuable enrichment that, in my opinion, all manufacturers of products in the medium and higher price categories should engage with. The step away from the flat screen to spatial interaction creates playful enthusiasm among consumers and, scientifically proven, pairs this with a high level of memorability. You could not wish for a better touch point.
Stefan Eipeltauer, expert for product visualisation, sees great potential for the baby industry in AR/XR/VR. ©SI.MA.px
Not only for the consumer is this location and time independent availability of product visualisation exciting – think of lock-downs – AR also creates new applications in retail, marketing and B2B sales. For example, shops can be enriched with virtual experiences, colour variations of children's room furniture not in stock can be presented, animated folding mechanisms of prams or the correct adjustment of the child seat can be displayed through realistic 3D configurators online. The range of applications is extensive, but must be cleverly adapted to the requirements of the target group.
Which first steps do you recommend to companies interested in using Augmented Reality?
At the beginning of every successful project is certainly the open-mindedness for the diverse possibilities of this technology. In this context, strategic support by AR experts is highly recommended in order to numerous applications can be combined cost-effectively: digital photo shoots, product videos, 3D configurators for web shops as well as AR applications for the smartphone can be carried out within the scope of an implementation. To set up this process for the “literal extension of reality” in a meaningful way is a challenging task which we have already been able to carry out successfully for customers such as TFK, Chicco or Axkid.
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