Pokemon GO and the future of eCommerce

On the 6th of July, the world saw the launch of Pokemon GO for iOS and Android – an Augmented Reality (‘AR’ for short) app that seeks to encourage fitness and walking habits by looking for Pokemon in real world locations.

Popular since the 90s, Pokemon has always been a flagship franchise for Nintendo. In celebration of its 20th anniversary, Nintendo partnered with AR developer Niantic to bring these creatures into the real world. With imaginations always captured by Pokemon in the real world, it is no surprise that Pokemon GO has rocketed to the top of the download charts. Surprisingly though (or maybe not so surprisingly), it is already making a profit with purchases, despite being a free-to-download program – the in-app purchases for items and benefits have been a huge benefit for the developers.

That is great for Nintendo and Niantic, but what does this mean for everyone else?

There is only one word – possibilities. Possibilities for businesses to create, innovate, and grow with AR technology.

AR is a relatively new frontier for many people outside of video games – it has been a possibility that has otherwise only been touched upon in science fiction. However, with the development of products such as Google Glasses and further improvements to smart phone technology, AR apps and products may become affordable and easy to build with over the next 10 years.

What is most needed to make AR a reality is:

  • A digital platform to look at the environment through (such as Google Glasses, a phone camera, etc.)
     
  • 3D models of your products
     
  • Code to place these models into the digital platform and make it seem real
     

With these in place, AR technology can allow for people to manipulate the digital space, either in front of their eyes or on a screen, for their benefit or entertainment. They can place, grow, shrink, remove, or alter objects, and have a far more immersive experience compared to browsing or editing things on a screen.

Just imagine! Imagine being able to look around a bare room and fill it with furniture with the touch of a finger, able to move and customise it. Imagine being able to change the colour of the walls, seeing how the shade would look after it is painted. Imagine being able to look at the shelves of your home and see it full of products you would otherwise have to made a shopping trip to see in person. Imagine seeing clothes on yourself that you would otherwise have to try on… The possibilities are really endless for everyday businesses. It’s just a matter of finding what people would benefit from seeing at home in a 3D space.

Currently, Virtual Reality (also known as ‘VR’) and AR technologies are not commonplace, but it is easy to foresee them becoming more common and practical in the future. It currently costs as little as $5,000 to as much as $100,000 to make an AR app, but this price could potentially drop in the future as technology improves and becomes more commonplace.

While we don’t have any crystal balls or the ability to predict the future, one thing is for certain – that AR has a huge potential to grow and become a new frontier for any business to make their unique mark in their market.

Interesting times ahead!

Lisa

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