One can’t debate the importance of e-commerce shopping, especially during the past year when we all had to shift our daily activities to a remote mode because of the pandemic. It’s true that we were spending most of our time at home, but that didn’t change the fact that we still want to refurbish the living room, get that comfortable desktop for our remote-work setup and see what’s new on the market.
However, for such purchases, the in-store experience used to be the best option, which is nowadays becoming more of a risky adventure with lots of precautions.
This is why most e-commerce shops are adding AR capability to their customer’s experience by giving them back the advantage to preview a product’s placement, virtual try-on… etc, and shoppers couldn’t love it more! This is confirmed by a recent study from Business wire, which states that 61% of online shoppers prefer to make purchases on sites that offer AR technology. Moreover, 63% of customers say AR could transform their online shopping customers. Despite that, most of the shoppers feel that retailers are still failing to take full advantage of AR.
This failure can be explained by many reasons. The most prominent being the challenge faced by online retailers in providing adequate 3D models for each of the items sold on their site. This is crucial, as the 3D model needs to live up to the actual 2D image of the object and play its role in improving the shoppers’ experience and not disappoint them.
However, this is not easily achieved because of the scarcity of tools that convert 2D images to realistic 3D models, let alone provide them in a webAR environment. Well, that is up to now!
At Augmania, we’ve been working discretely for the past year on a new feature to democratize the use of webAR and promote a smooth shift to online shopping while offering the best user experience.
Our R&D team foresaw the need for online retailers to have an automated solution to convert 2D images of their products into 3D models, and thus started working along with top-notch researchers from the German University of Cairo to develop an online 2D to 3D webAR converter. The R&D activities are sponsored by the Information Technology Industry Development Agency (ITIDA) through Borg El Arab Innovation Cluster.
The converter will help anyone working in the e-commerce sector to level up their offering by adopting AR in 3 steps only, all in one place. The first step is for capturing 2D realistic images of the products, nextuploading them to the Augmania 2D to 3D converter, and finally, integrating the generated 3D models in webAR e-commerce experience generated using Augmania Easy Creator.
So in a matter of minutes, you’ll have your 3D models ready to be integrated into your online site. This will give the shoppers a real-time feeling of what the product will look like when placed in their environment, especially in the case of furniture. Essentially, using 3D models and AR will help your customers have more chances to pick the right product for their needs and minimize purchases’ returns.
The average mobile conversion without AR is about 3.5%. With AR, it increases to 11%. So, boosting sales is another goal checked here! The 2D to 3D webAR Converter will be officially available Q4/2021 on our Augmania Easy-Creator platform, so make sure to sign-up for free and keep an eye on our upcoming updates!
Let’s be honest for a second; I bet we all wished we could skip an office workday to spend it at home instead. Wouldn’t it even be better if we still could get the work done without leaving our cozy couches?
Well, I surely prayed for that. Mostly during the traffic jam, early cold mornings, extremely dry or rainy times, and on any other given day. Then on one sunny day, the stars have answered my wish. By the stars, of course, I am referring to the Augmania team.
As a multinational startup, with team members from Boston, San Francisco, Berlin, Tunisia, and Egypt, the Augmania work environment has been favoring remote-work since the early days. That is by putting the trust in its employees and collaborators to find their most suitable workspace and grow professionally and personally.
So, dear reader, you can imagine the dramatic changes Covid19 had brought upon our work culture;
You see, we weren’t able to get coffee from outside and it was horrible! It almost affected our productivity, but eventually, we managed to get by thanks to this fun AR experience developed by the team: augmania.co/costa
The rest of the consequences were familiar, as most of us already work from home regularly. Even if we didn’t meet as often as we wished, we still have a special team bond.
However, many companies nowadays are struggling to build and maintain that bond in the era of Covid-19 and the current work circumstances, and that is understandable. Flipping the switch is not always easy, but, it is a must now especially when 98% of remote employees would like to continue working remotely for the rest of their careers according to Buffer.
That’s why the team decided to share a couple of tips to help you become remote work heroes!
“Make friends with your kids – Even better, help them get along with your colleagues” Nouran – Tech Lead
Having kids can be regarded as a threat to parents trying to get work done from home. You never know when they’ll barge into the room during a conference call; Scream their lungs out, or simply want to play.
Well, it all happened with me, and you better start accepting the fact that it will happen to you too.
At first, when Jamila’s voice started interpreting my meetings, I was embarrassed and constantly apologizing. There was nothing I could do to keep her quiet even when I was in a different room. So, I decided to go with it. Her voice became familiar to company meetings. They even greet her now and ask about her, and that saved me lots of embarrassment. This is only human, and it’s always a delight to realize you’re talking to someone as normal as you are.
“Remove distraction, keep the dog ” Rania – CEO
Sitting at home for a long period was honestly a first time experience for me. I think I’ve spent more time in the airports than at my own place before Covid-19. It was a bit of a challenge; Not that I am not used to remote work, but staying still amidst all the distractions was the real test. So, I simulated the office experience in-house! I created a comfortable work environment away from all diversion; TV, door, people, but not the dog.
You keep the dog. Not only it will shower you with love but it will also act as a stress reliever when needed.
Breaks are certainly necessary and helpful to release tension and recharge. Personally, I find great pleasure in having safe beach walks with Joujou.
Be part of a community and don’t be ashamed of talking to pigeons! Rihab – Marketing Lead
According to a survey held by Buffer, loneliness and communication are the biggest challenges for remote workers. The more time they spend on remote work, the fewer their chances for outer world interactions. That’s why I find it important to get involved in communities that share the same interests and work-lifestyle as me. It’s a safe place to communicate your worries, exchange tips, and thrive to improve your daily routine. Nevertheless, it still can get so lonely that you start waiting for that pigeon to show up again and strike a conversation. That’s totally normal – at least, according to my standards…
There’s no shame in making friends with birds passing by, and neighbors at the window to challenge our loneliness. As long as you don’t name your football Wilson and talk to it, you’re a perfectly normal human being.
So if you’re a part of any corporate entity, you probably have certain feelings toward buzzwords—amicable or not. Yes, those terms your HR team presents every year and wholeheartedly invites you to use. Usually (and thankfully), most of these don’t make it to the following year. Remember “blue-sky thinking”? Or “customer-centric” strategies (because companies before used to be marshmallows-centric)? Yeah, me neither. Well, what about inclusivity?
Now, that one still resonates, doesn’t it? That’s because inclusivity defies the laws of buzzwords. In fact, we shouldn’t consider it one in the first place. As an objective, inclusivity was finally popularized back in 2015 when researchers dug into its effects on workplaces. Since then, business juggernauts have been ranking inclusivity higher and higher as an objective.
Without a doubt, promoting inclusivity grants companies desirable reputations. Yet, that is far from the only reason inclusivity is in higher demand than ever. The more significant reason is that simply inclusivity improves performance.
In 2017, an Australian study showed that inclusive teams are 10 times more effective than non-inclusive ones.
Alright, hooray! Inclusivity is great. But, it sadly isn’t easy to accomplish. And the first step to doing so is to celebrate our diversity. When companies run celebratory initiatives and inhibit implicit biases, they assure personnel of all ethnicities, genders, and backgrounds that they belong.
Hence, it makes sense that AR has been used as a medium to show us all the diverse beauty of the human race. Also, it makes just as much sense for us to tout how wonderful some of these AR initiatives have been. So, Ladies and Gentlemen, here are 5 AR experiences that celebrate diversity and promote inclusivity:
1- AR & Inclusivity for Women in History Books
You know, there’s this old adage: “the victor gets to tell the story”. Unfortunately in some cases though, even victors don’t get to tell their stories. In most of the said cases, the victors are women. That is, women who achieve and change the course of history only for history books to neglect them.
But perhaps not anymore. A brilliant AR initiative, Lessons in Herstory is fighting to bring female trailblazers the mainstream reverence they deserve. Frankly, this AR experience takes no prisoners. The only way to activate it is by using smartphones to scan certain history textbooks that are dominated by men. Doing so unlocks AR content telling the stories of the women who contributed to change without getting credit.
Lessons in Herstory is a quintessential example of proper tech use to empower women and bolster inclusivity.
2- AR & Black History Month Celebration
From Michael Jackson to Will Smith going through a limitless array of talents, there’s no denying African Americans’ artistic legacy. You can find the influences of African American artists everywhere in pop culture today.
As we bid farewell to Black History Month this year, let’s revisit Snapchat’s celebration of the month last year. I’m talking about the “For Us, By Us: Art Through the Eyes of Black Millennials” AR campaign. The campaign focused on the artistic edge of African Americans. As such, Snapchat invited proficient African American artists to create artworks that honor BHM. After that, Snapchat displayed the artworks in its first-ever AR museum. It was a sight to behold and all Snapchat users had access to it.
Plus, the whole campaign was the brainchild of African American Snapchat personnel. Thus, it was inspiring to see Snapchat push for inclusivity by putting this special team in charge.
3- AR & Inclusivity for Handicapped Shoppers
Gratefully, there are more efforts today to give handicapped people easier lives than ever. Overall, governments are doing great at disabled inclusivity. However, they need to focus more on the emotional health of disabled people. Sure, public transportation buses contain ramps that make the buses wheelchair-friendly. But, think of handicapped people every time drivers help them hop on and off. Being deprived of independence has to take a toll.
Specifically, boosting handicapped people’s sense of independence is what our next AR initiative tackled. A Ph.D. researcher in Barcelona set on transforming shopping experiences for handicapped people. Conventionally, most stores sort products over high shelves that are difficult to reach on wheelchairs. Sadly, that leaves handicapped shoppers no choice but to ask for assistance.
Zulqarnain Rashid developed a game-changing AR app for stores to counteract this predicament. The app contains a database of all products in a store. Disabled people can use it to point their smartphones at any product. Right away, they’d get all the info they need on the product. Then, they could even make purchases straight through the app.
4- AR & Inclusivity for Deaf Theatergoers
Perhaps the most ambitious entry on our list, this AR initiative targets deaf people of good artistic taste. In 2018, the National Theatre in London decided there’s no reason deaf people can’t enjoy theatres. Consequently, the historic venue debuted AR glasses for deaf people to rock during plays.
These epic AR glasses displayed subtitles for every bit of dialogue and in complete sync. The memorable experience was the perfect way to empathize with hearing loss sufferers. Whatsmore, theatres in other cities like New York and Avignon have been following suit.
5- AR & Stonewall Pride
There was a time when police raids of gay bars were commonplace. But over 50 years ago, the LGBTQ+ community went full-on do-or-die. In the summer of 1969, Stonewall fought back. LBTQ+ individuals, who took Stonewall Inn in New York for a haven, resisted the police’s homophobic acts. Evidently, a week of resistance paved the way for today’s gay rights.
The bravery of the Stonewall people inspires the LGBTQ+ community every day. And it acts as a reminder to the community that they need to fight for inclusivity. In celebration of 50 years since the events of Stonewall, Google framed that reminder in AR. Enter, Stonewall Forever!
Launching Stonewall Forever inside Christopher Park (a park across Stonewall Inn) triggers a mesmerizing AR monument. Interacting with the monument unlocks stories documenting the triumphs of the community over the years.
It’s right there in the title, people. AR is for everyone! Now is your chance to try on this innovative tech! Apply now to Augmania’s WebAR creator and join in on the fun!
Okay, I know what some of you could be thinking. “Not some other AR jargon! We’ve just barely gotten our heads what AR even is!” It’s totally understandable if you share these testaments. Indeed, AR evolves at an incredible pace. But, just like we did with a concept like WebAR, we’re going to dissect what the AR cloud is.
It’s been called a lot of things, including the future of information and the rightful heir to Google search. Actually, the cloud has the potential to be all that and more. As the cloud is such a crucial topic, this blogpost will be presented in the smoothest way possible; in a good ol’ listicle!
So, here are 5 things you need to know about the AR cloud:
1- What is the AR Cloud?
Let’s kick this off with a nice surprise. Have you ever used your imagination to think of the world’s future with AR? Well, then, you already have an idea about what the AR cloud is. That’s because the cloud is the way to AR’s true potential. It’s AR done right!
To elaborate, the AR cloud is a digital copy of all the places on Earth. One day, the cloud will carry copies of the street where you live, Big Ben, the Sahara Desert, and literally everywhere else.
What’s in that for you, you ask? This, you curious soul, shall be answered in our next point.
2- How’s the AR Cloud Going to Affect our Daily Lives?
Imagine this scenario. You’re on your way to a job interview and you’re 15 minutes early. Unfortunately for you, you step into funky dog feces. Your shoes are in such bad shape that you can’t clean them. Also, you don’t have time to go back home to change. Your only option is to buy new ones, but you have only 15 minutes to do so.
Without the AR Cloud, you could be pretty panicked at that point. But with the cloud, all you’d have to do is let the cloud show you the nearest shoes shop. That could be through your smartphone, AR glasses, or soon enough, through AR contact lenses. When you arrive there, the cloud would show if shoes of the size and color you desire are available. You wouldn’t have to go into the store to check or ask. And if you’re lucky enough, the entire process would take only a few minutes.
Essentially, that’s what the AR Cloud is all about. It’s about increasing productivity and facilitating our daily lives. The key is that all that happens without having to scroll through endless pages of Google search. Instead, the AR Cloud will have our eyes always focused on our real environments.
3- Why Do We Need the AR Cloud?
As hinted above, the ease of info visualization is where the AR Cloud’s power lies. For sure, reading text has propelled humanity for millennia. However, humans still digest info best when they observe and interact.
Another perk of the AR Cloud is persistence. Current AR experiences all last for a short while and have no long-term effects. On the other hand, info on the AR Cloud stays there and can be accessed forever. In addition, when the AR Cloud is established, everyone will be invited. It will be one neverending mega multi-user AR experience. Consequently, it could make way for innovative collaborations and intimate relationships.
4- Who Coined the Term the AR Cloud?
So this isn’t just some good-to-know trivia. It’s always important to know and follow the pioneers behind the tech. That’s because they usually have their fingers on the pulse of the scene. For instance, Kevin Ashton coined the term Internet of Things over 20 years ago. To this day, he remains an IoT expert with solid insights and predictions.
In the case of the AR Cloud, we have Ori Inbar to thank. Without a doubt, he’s a world leader in AR with founding Augmented World Expo as one of his achievements. In 2017, he coined the term as he addressed the limitations to ARKit and ARCore on Medium.
A few months later, he discovered a number of companies operating on his premise of the AR Cloud. Basically, one could argue that Inbar ushered these companies into existence. So it’s high time you give the man a follow!
5- What are Some AR Cloud Use Cases?
As mentioned a few moments ago, the AR Cloud could transform shopping experiences. Of course, that doesn’t go for shoes stores only, but for all brick-and-mortars.
Beyond the scope of shopping, the AR Cloud has great potential in gaming. Mainly, its promise of shared experiences is what’s significant here. Google’s Just a Line game is a simple but mighty fun example of an AR Cloud game. It allows players to “draw on the world” and to do so together. That includes everything from tic-tac-toe battles to collaborative graffiti masterpieces. Plus, the game is a great opportunity for networking activities during events. In addition, Just a Line could be more than just a game. Google believes users could use it to customize their homes together.
In time, the AR Cloud will be involved in all walks of life and that includes sports. Recently, Harvard Business School’s Digital Initiative took a dive into that matter. Among the uses discussed were AR for coaches that could lead to unprecedented training techniques. During matches, coaches could use AR to visualize info such as shooting percentages. Then, coaches could provide immediate feedback to the players. This brings a whole new level of competitiveness to sports and excitement to fans.
Augmented Reality is the most promising tech in the world today with use cases everywhere. Try it on for yourself right now when you sign up to Augmania’s WebAR creator!
Folks, let me tell you: living in Berlin comes with perks galore, especially on the artistic side. For five months, I’ve lived here to study and to commemorate Augmania’s launch in Germany. And as my wonderful stay nears its end, I must say I’m enthralled by the art scene in Berlin. Simply put, art is unavoidable in Die Hauptstadt. What’s cooler, interacting with artists and getting to know their backstories have been highly inspiring. All in all, I loved being in Berlin because it’s a city that bolsters self-expression.
Yet, occasionally, I did come across artworks like this:
Specifically, this one I pass by every day on my walk back home. And while pedestrians usually deem it funny and cute, it always makes me ponder its message. Forgive my old-schoolness, but I’ve always believed that art is at its most successful when people do interpret it. Hopefully, for the artist’s sake, these interpretations are close to his/her intended message. To me, that is true self-expression.
Anyway, my interpretation of the artwork above is a bit dark. From the first time I saw it, the grizzly bear represented the (nearing endangerment?) species known as introverts. And the artwork a whole pictured introverts’ struggles with self-expression in today’s world. Despite its proven capability as a hunter, the grizzly decides to lie on its couch and stay the night. That’s eerily analogous to introverts avoiding self-expression against their creative competence.
What rattled me the most was the realization that even in Berlin, some, possibly including said artist himself, struggle with self-expression. It’s sad to think that there are still plenty of creative ideas and stories that haven’t seen the light.
Of course, the main culprit here is none other than fear of judgment.
Essentially, the cliche of all of us living under microscopes couldn’t be truer. In some way, we’re all connected nonstop to the public eye and expected to behave in a certain manner. For some (i.e. extroverts), they shine under that pressure. Contrarily, introverts might end up hiding their true selves in fear of not fitting in and the subsequent cynicism.
However, I, personally, am of the notion that introverts can never really shut off their desire for self-expression. How else could an introverted artist create the reflective grizzly bear artwork above?
So, it’s my belief that introverts do self-express, but they do it subtly. One of the qualities leading researcher of introversion and bestselling author Susan Cain assigns introverts is indeed subtlety.
In most cases, subtlety is a way of self-protection to them. They do tell their stories, but in a subtlety that ensures they don’t fall into wrong (and judgmental) hands. To get access to their stories, you have to unravel that subtlety. In other words, you have to commit and spend effort to gain their trust. You have to leap into different realms of thought to witness the fruits of their self-expression.
In hindsight, that sounds like a pretty efficient strategy for safe self-expression. But, what if I tell you there is a much less complicated way to reach the same effect?
Introverts of the world, allow me to elaborate on the powers of Augmented Reality in self-expression.
If a show of commitment is what introverts require before letting others in, then AR could be just the answer. With AR, people literally traverse to a different reality to explore and unlock content.
Then, in essence, an introvert could create any form of self-expression and then add an AR layer to it. It would be almost like showing everyone the tip of the iceberg. But in order to see the iceberg in all its glory, people dip into the water aka use AR. Except, in this case, only those who feel a connection to the work of self-expression would be stimulated enough to know the full story.
Actually, I think there’s no better way to take this discussion further than by providing examples. So here are some AR tools introverts could use for self-expression.
1- Augmented Graffiti
So it’s only right that we start with the form of self-expression that triggered all this: graffiti. Graffiti is a universal language of self-expression. Artists have used it in every situation there is, including during revolutions. Of course, that’s because of the easy exposure, being on the streets for everyone to see. Cities like Berlin even encourage graffiti. Look no further than all the masterpieces over the Berlin wall.
Now, let’s go back to the graffiti of the grizzly on the couch. Imagine if the full story behind the artwork was accessible via AR. The graffiti could trigger another series of artworks, a music track, or even a short movie in AR. To unlock the AR content, pedestrians would only have to scan the graffiti with their phones.
You know what would be extra awesome too? That would be if the graffiti artist actually updated his/her artwork with new AR content every week. We’re talking a never-before-seen platform for long-term storytelling here. Personally, that would be an epic reward for me as I pass by the graffiti every week.
2- Augmented Tattoos
Tattoos are among the oldest tools for self-expression ever. Originally, some tattooed because they believed tattoos had therapeutic effects. Today, people get tattoos for emotional health. It doesn’t matter if the tattoo honors a passed loved one or celebrates a special day. Many love telling others their stories through the tattoos on their bodies.
With extroverts, their tattoos are usually big, loud, and self-explanatory. On the other hand, introverts get, again, subtle tattoos. That’s the aforementioned tip of the iceberg in the context of tattoos. As such, introvert tattoos only hint at what their possible meanings could be.
Like with graffiti, tattoos too could get the AR treatment to become augmented tools of self-expression. That would be an innovative form of AR print to expand the stories behind tattoos.
Here’s an example of a tattoo coming to life in AR:
3- AR Filters
Quite easily, AR filters might be the most popular AR tools. Brands use them for promotion all the time. Even, Taco Bell is famous for getting 224 million attractions with its Taco AR filter. But in this blogpost, we’re going to focus more on user-generated AR filters and their influence as self-expression tools.
Since not everyone can afford the trip to Paris for social engagement, social media users, especially millennials and Gen Z individuals, have taken to AR filters to gain a following. Also, it’s now easier than ever to create custom AR filters using Spark AR Studio.
Last year, Instagram user Johanna Jaskowska created her super viral filter Beauty3000. The filter turned users’ faces glossy, metallic, and fitting of a dystopian world. As of now, the filter has had over 400 million views.
The potential of AR filters use as a means of self-expression has even led to new stunning inventions. In a dazzling display of technology, Russian teen Mikhail Murtazin created an AR filter based on Flappy Birds. What’s so impressive? Well, you play the game by blinking!
Called Flying Face, the gamified AR filter has amassed 1 billion views. And rightfully so! But what it really demonstrates is how far AR and an urge for self-expression can go together.
The time to self-express in AR is now! Join Augmania’s AR creator and tap into your creativity without ever worrying about code!