Using AR to enhance customer experience

Augmented reality technologies have been around for a while without however receiving the deserved attention. In many cases, Augmented Reality is perceived as too futuristic and not accessible. It was only this year in June when Apple announced ARKit coming to users’ phones, that AR moved a step forward on the feasibility and accessibility scale. Finally, an average user could use without much annoying setup and without extra hardware an AR application on his phone. Given the fast-paced developments in this industry, we will probably be able to buy quality AR/VR glasses for less than 20€ in the next years. But that is yet to see…

AR in customer experience

One of the most interesting implications of ‘accessible’ AR is using it in improving customer experience. Image you could enhance your customers’ vision when they enter your store and use this for example to highlight sales, new products and offers. IKEA is a great example of how AR could support the business in terms of interactive shopping and maybe increase customer satisfaction. Other examples include: in-door navigation in shopping malls, airports; visually enhanced tours in museums or showcasing products at home.

In-flight Augmented Reality experience

Sitting in the airplane during long flights can be very boring. Airline companies try to enhance the in-flight customers’ experience by providing paper magazines, or entertainment/infotainment services. But how about using AR to make the flight less boring? 
 In my visionary scenario, the user would use AR glasses to have a look at the current sky with live footage provided by the cameras placed on the airplane (something that already exists nowadays). Another option would be to use the view from the window, which is however very restricted and not available to all passengers. On another note, there is not much to understand from the sky from such a high point of view. That is when Augmented Reality comes into play. Using the plane’s current position we know where different 
 citites are located. We could use this to display basic information about nearby locations. I created two mockups to show this interaction.

The popups rise from the cities’ current location and are pinned to it. Basic information is shown such as: the name, current weather, a few words about the city and the distance from the plane.

Clicking on `Learn more` would show more detailed information about the city. Here is where the airline could as well advertise flights to that location and have the user look at current prices or offers. Other options that could be included here are: letting the user pin the city and read more even at a later point in time, incorporate flight offers and prices to the detailed view, take pictures of the current view etc.

How to create it?

  • We would need AR/VR glasses for the passengers or a phone and a cardboard to simulate VR.
  • We would need to use data from the airplane such as exact current location, speed and camera footage.
  • We would need to store the cities’ data somewhere. I would opt for an in-plane server since Internet may not be very fast on-board.
  • We would need to have current offers and flights from the airline displayed in real-time. This would require Internet connection and updates at least every minute.
  • We would need to create the AR application. Here different options can be considered.