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Is augmented reality for real? - PC Retail

Is augmented reality for real?

AR presents unique opportunities for businesses, but they need to know how to make the most of the technology
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Tracy Smith - VP of Global Marketing and Branding, STM Goods

By Tracy Smith - VP of Global Marketing and Branding, STM Goods

Augmented reality is on everyone’s mind today. As Mugatu from Zoolander might say, ‘that AR, it’s just so hot right now!’ But with such new technology many people, experts and newbies alike, are asking whether AR is for real or whether it’s the latest shiny gimmick destined to fade away. The long term is anyone’s guess, after all, markets are about as predictable as raising teenagers – especially with new technology. But in the short term, at least for us at STM Goods, AR is proving to be a game changer.

We have long been known for creating quality laptop bags, backpacks and tablet cases on the market. So, what is a manufacturer of bags and fitted cases doing leading the market with AR? The answer to this question is actually the answer to the AR question itself: it’s all about innovation. Just as STM started two decades ago by pioneering the laptop-dedicated backpack, we have again pioneered the use of AR as a means of enhancing and improving product interaction for customers.

Our CEO, Ethan Nyholm, has celebrated the opportunity that AR presents to companies competing to communicate effectively with interested consumers, saying “nothing has ever given a customer the ability to explore our bags and cases quite like AR. Without assistance from retail staff, the customer can explore our products in ways they’ve never been able to do before. For a product as ubiquitous as backpacks, demonstrating the true difference our products present amongst competing products has never been as easy or as impactful as it is with AR.”

It would seem many companies are still struggling to develop a useful and profitable application for AR within their product offering and marketing. At CES this year, AR was at the forefront for several companies, but not as widespread as might’ve be expected at the world’s leading tech show. In the consumer electronics accessories market, it was no different. Industry giants failed to produce an effective or even functional AR experience.

But in the middle of a hall full of much larger companies, the rapidly growing STM Goods enjoyed a noticeably crowded booth from attendees clamouring to experience the AR experience presented. As captivated audiences craned to see backpacks materialise before their eyes, in vibrant 3D, fully interactive with clickable prompts, and even with x-ray vision.

For STM, AR stole the show, and for our retail partners it has sparked their imagination. Visions of consumers interacting with products in-store, in ways the larger online titans like Amazon can’t currently provide, is posing an edge for retailers that just didn’t exist before.

So will AR survive? Will it manage to emerge as a disruptive technology? Time will only tell. But for those companies with the vision to use it to the consumer’s benefit as STM Goods is doing, AR is a present reality that is already reshaping the future. 

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