When Amazon released its holiday press release on Nov. 1, one part jumped out at Richard Trask, managing partner of the Wilmington creative design agency Digital Eye:
Customers can shop when they want, where they want with the Amazon App, which now includes a brand new augmented reality feature, AR view, for customers to see how thousands of items look in their space before they buy
You may be most familiar with AR as the thing that makes it look like there are Pokemon in the park when you played Pokémon Go those two weeks when it was the big thing. Or Snapchat, when it puts that digital mask on your face. But AR isn’t just for fun and games — and with Amazon’s new AR feature, Trask knew it was time to jump into the AR game.
“Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook and Amazon are all putting huge resources into AR technology,” Trask said. “Gaming will probably be a big area, but beyond that, there are countless ways in which having 3D holographic images and information, as an overlay on the world, can add value. Today AR is used by pilots for heads-up displays, and by workers in manufacturing, warehouses and several other industries.”
In less than two weeks, Digitaleye AR has been launched, with a new website and new services geared toward businesses who want to use the tech on their own mobile apps or Amazon Marketplace shops. It’s the first of its kind in Delaware.
Amazon isn’t the first to apply the tech to shopping — IKEA already offered it, as did online furniture retailer Wayfair. But Amazon’s adoption of it will make it a must-have to compete in the online marketplace, and even in the brick-and-mortar space, where AR can be used for in-store promotions.
“In the future, AR has the potential to replace the computer screen as we know it -and mobile device screens too,” said Trask. “It will be used in personal communication, marketing, interior design, healthcare, education, entertainment, architecture, finance, corporate environments, and basically everywhere else. Combined with AI, it will even be possible to have a 3D holographic assistant who can actually think.”
It’s potential for the present isn’t too shabby either.
“One of the things we’re particularly interested in at Digitaleye AR is the potential to add 3D animated effects to traditional printed pieces,” said Trask. “Imagine receiving a special invitation in the mail that includes a holographic animation or video. Children’s story books will come alive with 3D animated images. Architectural blueprints could be in 3D. The possibilities are endless.”
Digital Eye is no stranger to firsts. When the company was founded in early 1995, it was the first website design studio in Delaware; in those early days of the world wide web, the company also established the first web-based traffic cam system in Delaware and Philadelphia.
So, is AR the future?