AR enhancements arrive for online shopping and work

Two augmented reality (AR) developers have released new solutions and upgrades designed to enhance the online shopping experience for consumers and change the way people work.

Toronto-based NexTech AR Solutions has released the Try-It-On AR experience for online shopping, promising to enable consumers to see what they would look like wearing glasses, headwear, jewellery and more.

The new solution for online retailers uses facial tracking capabilities and artificial intelligence-assisted computer vision technology. It tracks eyes, with support shortly to follow for lips, ears, mouths and other zones above the shoulder.

Once the Try-It-On technology is integrated into an online shopping site, according to NexTech, consumers can begin ‘trying on’ items using the camera on their preferred desktop or mobile device. The technology can also be embedded and used in banner ads and social posts on Facebook as part of a digital marketing strategy to drive store traffic and convert shoppers into buyers.

“One of the most significant pain points that remains in online retail for a consumer is the inability to try something on before they buy it. This often leads to frustration, the ordering of incorrectly sized items, and unnecessary returns that are costly to the retailer,” explained Evan Gappelberg, chief executive officer of NexTech.

“NexTech’s new Try-It-On AR technology eliminates the issue by enabling retailers to offer a virtual fitting room to their consumers to assess the look and fit of an item before purchase.”

Washington DC-based enterprise AR software provider Upskill, meanwhile, has brought its Skylight AR platform to Android and iOS smartphones and tablets, complementing its existing support for smart glasses and Microsoft HoloLens.

Skylight’s new support for devices will enable workers to “seamlessly” access helpful information for their tasks, collaborate with others through live video and capture insights as they work on any device, according to Upskill. Hands-on workers can also seamlessly transition between devices, starting the day on a smartphone to review work orders and continuing on smart glasses when tasks require keeping their hands free.

“Upskill’s mission is to empower every hands-on worker to be successful. That’s why we believe it’s critical to bring the digital enterprise all the way to the hands-on workforce, with the right information available to them at the right time with minimal disruptions.”

Brian Ballard, chief executive officer and co-founder of Upskill

“Upskill’s mission is to empower every hands-on worker to be successful. That’s why we believe it’s critical to bring the digital enterprise all the way to the hands-on workforce, with the right information available to them at the right time with minimal disruptions,” commented Brian Ballard, chief executive officer and co-founder of Upskill.

“With the latest enhancements to Skylight, it makes critical data, peer collaboration and the unique fidelity provided by augmented reality even more accessible. Skylight accelerates organisations along their digital transformation journey, regardless of where they are today.”

Hoot acquisition

NexTech has also just announced its acquisition of Hoot, which provides three-dimensional (3D) and 360-degree product photography, spin and zoom technology to online retailers, with just a snippet of code that is used to quickly embed the 3D experience onto a site.

The Toronto-based company plans to offer the Hoot platform alongside its own suite of AR technologies for online shopping.

Gappelberg commented: “We are excited to acquire Hoot and to add another high-quality, industry-leading ecommerce solution to the NexTech suite of product offerings. Coupled with our AR eCommerce solution our AI Machine learning, and Try-It-On technology, we have built the ecommerce industries most powerful end-to-end solution positively impacting a retailer’s bottom line through increased conversions, sales and decreased cart abandonment.”

This is NexTech’s second acquisition in 2019. In late January, it announced the purchase of the VCM business owned by AR Ecommerce.

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