The Consumer of the Future Event

Origin Development - Consumer of the Future Event

How will the consumer of the future engage with the brands they buy regularly?

That was one of the main topics that we discussed earlier today at the Consumer of the Future Event hosted by EX3Labs at 1871 in Chicago. The event explored how consumer brands can engage directly with the consumer, by offering innovative solutions using emerging technologies such as augmented reality and virtual reality. The Origin Development team was there presenting solutions and answering questions about how mobile augmented reality provides new opportunities to enhance the consumer experience and help the brand better engage with their customers.

Why Talk about Technology When You Can Demonstrate It

Below are descriptions and screenshots of the prototype applications we developed for this event. All three applications use augmented reality to present users with experiences that are either impossible or more difficult to achieve using alternate technologies. Each application could also be used to provide data and analytics back to the company that produces them. This would give the brand access to insights about their customers’ shopping experiences that would be difficult or expensive to obtain through any other channel. All three are prototype applications that were developed within 2 days specifically for the event.

Origin Development - Consumer of the Future Augmented Reality Prototype Applications

Food Allergen Identification

Origin Development - Consumer of the Future Augmented Reality Food Allergen Indicator
The first application was very personal to our founder, who almost died from anaphylactic shock several years ago. The application uses augmented reality to scan food packages and identify if they contain known food allergens. The user selects which allergen they are concerned about using a button at the bottom of the screen, and then points the application camera at food packages. If the food item is recognized, the application highlights the package, either in green to indicate that item is clear of the selected allergen, or in red to indicate that the selected allergen is present in the food item according to the manufacturer. What makes this application powerful is that it can contain real time data. So, for example, if a cross contamination event occurs at a factory, the web API that the application draws its data from could be updated to notify consumers in real time that even though the package may not contain an allergen indicator, there may be an allergen present.

This simple application design could be applied to a number of different use cases related to diet planning. Instead of identifying allergens, a minor change to the application’s algorithm could indicate foods that are dangerous to diabetics, or foods that are restricted for anyone on the Whole 30 diet. The application is essentially just providing real time access to the information that is on the label, but it allows a consumer to rapidly screen multiple items while the item is still on the store shelf rather than pulling it off the shelf and searching the label for the information relevant to the consumer.

A Faster Coupon Application

More and more mobile coupon applications have been popping up, but they often require the shopper to do advance research and build a list of items they plan to purchase, or sort through digital ads to find coupons that are applicable to them. Why not allow customers to instantly search for coupons while they are at the store, looking at a specific item they are considering?

We decided to save everyone some time and built an augmented reality coupon list app that allows shoppers to simple point their camera at the item they want to buy. If a coupon is present, the shopper is notified by the item being highlighted in green and a summary description of the coupon appearing. The customer then has the option to tap the item, add the coupon to their list. At checkout, they simply show the list of coupon bar codes to the cashier.

Origin Development - Consumer of the Future Augmented Reality Coupon Finder
Origin Development - Consumer of the Future Augmented Reality Coupon Finder List

Who Says You Shouldn’t Play With Your Food?

Origin Development - Consumer of the Future Augmented Reality Box Top Game
The final application is a game triggered by the food packaging and played on a mobile device, with the game board being the food package. The game appears when the application recognizes the box of popcorn. It presents a little robot that needs to go around and collect popcorn, but the robot has limited energy to move. The player tries to maximize their score by collecting as many popcorn kernels as possible, but must keep an eye on the robot’s energy bar and collect energy pellets to keep the robot moving. This is a simple game, but it demonstrates a way that brands can drive more consumer engagement. Different games could be offered on different packages. Games could involve marketing partners such as Disney characters or Marvel superheroes. The options here are pretty endless.

The Power of Emerging Technology

The keynote speaker at the morning’s event was Howard Tullman – CEO of 1871, Chicago’s Technology Incubator – who highlighted the fact that innovation is affecting every company and every brand. He noted how the shopping experience is evolving and the pace of change is accelerating. Consumers expect instant access not only to the products they purchase, but to relevant information about products they are considering. Brands that are not taking advantage of emerging technologies – both to keep themselves relevant with their consumers and to obtain data to better understand their relationship with their customers – are already falling behind. Other technologies present at the event included demonstrations of virtual reality, autonomous vehicles, voice controlled artificial intelligence assistants, and mixed reality headsets.

Thank you to EX3Labs for hosting the event and inviting the Origin Development team to participate.

Origin Development - Consumer of the Future - Howard Tullman

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