Half a year ago, IBM was announcing a new type of augmented reality application that was designed to help people in their regular shopping trips and become the ‘best friend’ of every shopper. Now, this AR app has been finally launched at CeBIT in Hanover Germany.
The smartphone app will provide users with detailed information about the products they see on store shelves. Things such as nutritional information, ingredients or prices for different sizes of the same product are all available on your smartphone by simply scanning the product’s packaging with your phone’s camera. The augmented reality app recognizes the product and downloads the related information from a cloud database straight to your smart device.
According to IBM, the app will initially be sold to retailers for use as part of loyalty programmes and the first country to take advantage of this technology is the UK. Although the name of the retailer who will trial this technology has not been given yet, word of mouth is that Tesco might be the one. Previously, the retail giant has worked with Kashino AR to launch an AR app that allowed their club members to scan their catalogues for photorealistic 3D models of the products they had in store. More recently they have partnered with Aurasma to launch an in-store augmented reality dressing room for promoting their own F&F clothing brand.
IBM plans to eventually launch the augmented reality app as a standalone app if proven successful. They haven’t announced yet what mobile platforms will be supported, although the app was demonstrated on a Samsung Android phone. The price a user will have to pay for the app is also a mystery, however IBM sources have confirmed that the app will most likely be free to the retailers.
There are still no clear details on how much this app will be customised by each store or how many branded add-ons it will feature, especially in the free retail version. What kind of functional elements would you like to see in this app? How much would you use the AR app in your regular shopping trips?