When the 3-hour long Marvel movie was approaching the theaters, I went to an newly inaugurated supermarket to buy a new Avengers T-shirt, you know, to show that I am like a more-than-normal fan (which obviously dozens of people already are anyway).
All went well except that I wasn't able to find any!
Let's see if Augmented Reality can help me out. or should I say Augmented Supermarket. Not that my desired shirt wasn't in stock, but because I was unable to find the section of that supermarket which had clothes on display.
Two minutes later, and conversing with 3 of its employees, I was finally able to find the one, the one that would make me prepared for the epic movie, although I still wasn't prepared for what came in the end, but let's leave that for another day and ... move on.
Coming to the problem
It was then that it came to my mind, that this problem might be even more existential for people who are shorter. I am tall enough to sometimes overlook the shelves (being 6 ft), but not everyone is. And the same problem would be faced by the handicapped people, who might need assistance from the attenders of that supermarket to get to know about the location of a section.
So the next obvious question is, how to solve this one?
AR- The Augmented Supermarket to the rescue!
"a technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user's view of the real world, thus providing a composite view." Google
The main concept is that we need to somehow augment the real-world experience of a supermarket with information, and with Augmented Supermarket in a mobile application, we can bridge this gap (See what I did here? ). And we have an innovative Augmented Supermarket ready for us.
ImplementationWith the end goal (marvel movie) in mind, we thought about the various ways this could be achieved. After all the brainstorming, we decided to break it down into 3 steps to get started:
- Get the geofence coordinates of the supermarket (to identify if the customer is within the store or not)
- Get info & geofence coordinates of various sections in that store (so that later it can be related with user's current location)
- In the app, get the user's current GPS location and then process all the sections w.r.t. the coordinates of each section's geofence.
Step 1 and Step 2 are basically the data collecting steps, which is stored in either the app or can be stored in back-end for multiple outlets and stores. A visual representation of the collected data will be as follows:
A (literal) blueprint for the visual data that need to be stored Step 3 is where the actual magic happens.
Whenever customers enter a retail store, what they need to do is that just open the app on their smartphone, and with camera access, lift and point the phone in any direction.
The mobile app, which will have data of stores and their sections, and also the user's current location, can make an approximate guess about where the user is currently present, and what all sections are near or away from them and in which direction. A well-implemented version of this might look like this:
Allowing ordinary mortals like us, to see-through store shelves ;)
At any point, the app will decide what to show on screen and where to show it on screen based on the data which was stored before, and the relativity of it with the user's current location.
And there we have it: ShoppAR - Augmented Shopping Experience!
Future scope of augmented supermarketWith the basic functionality now clear, some side features that can complement this might include:
- show an ad in Augmented Reality mode, when a poster or code is scanned on the walls/shelves of the store
- show operating instructions for various products, such as to show how the drone on the shelf needs to be assembled before operating
- show simulation of how the product would look like with its dimensions in real life
- show discounts on a per-shelf basis in an augmented way over the real feed of the shelf from the camera
- in-app payments can also be added to checkout from the stores without going through the line
This is barely a scratch. With the enabling of Augmented Reality experiences on our extremely easy-to-carry mobile devices, a vast sea of possibilities exist, each one solving a problem that people won't even realize can be solved with just this!
But if you do find an extremely awesome way in which this and/or other technologies can solve a problem, have our team hash it out for you and make a real product out of it. As for the most marvel movies with Multiverse, well it was 10 on 10! But it is an "endgame in the multiverse" for one of my favorite characters was actually upsetting.
But then I remember what Vision said, and I quote - "A thing isn't beautiful because it lasts".