Want to hear more from JF? Join us for a live Twitter Q&A on April 12th at 11am ET. Follow us on Twitter to learn more!


Read the full video transcript below.

Lindsay:  One of the biggest questions that comes up is ‘what’s the difference between augmented reality and virtual reality?’.

JF: Actually, AR and VR are two parts of a continuum. It means that on one side, you have reality and on the other virtuality. As you add more virtual elements to that reality, it becomes virtuality until you arrive in a space where everything is virtual.

What I think will happen in the future is that augmented reality and virtual reality won’t matter so much because it will just be mixed reality and you will just be able to swap and to shift between one and the other, depending on the need of the moment. Currently, there is no hardware that can do this. Either, you have augmented reality glasses like Hololens or virtual reality ones like Vive or Oculus. There is no device that can merge the two and has a perfect experience on both virtual and augmented reality.

LindsayA term we are starting to hear a lot is “augmented commerce.” How would you define augmented commerce?

JFThere has been e-commerce where you have a basic desktop, then m-commerce in which you use the mobile device to shop. Now, with the capabilities of augmented reality devices, it is time for a new term – augmented commerce – because it’s not just about using the capability of the phone; it’s using the knowledge of the environment to provide the best experience possible for the consumer.


Lindsay: What benefits does augmented commerce offer consumers?

JF: For the consumer, it’s to know how the product will look before buying.  Most of the time today, when you receive the product bought online, it is the first time you see it.  On the other hand, when you’re in the store, you don’t see the product at home, and it can make a huge difference– an 85 inch TV looks completely different in a huge retailer than in your home. By putting those products in the real world, it gives the consumer a good feeling about buying the objects, which removes uncertainty. When they receive the products, they get exactly what they have already seen; they don’t need to go through the pain or returning those products.

LindsayWhat sets Augment apart from the other AR vendors for retail out there?

JF:  All of the augmented reality apps that you see out there for retail are solely dedicated to augmented reality. Meaning, you have the main ecommerce app of the retailer, and then you have the augmented reality one. Why? Because today, there is no technology, apart from Augment, to integrate augmented reality inside an existing app.  We offer the ability to put augmented reality right in front of your customer in your app where you already have your audience. 

  Jean-Francois Chianetta augment

Lindsay: What are the challenges that remain for augmented reality adoption?

JF: First, the hardware. Right now, there is no hardware, which is really practical in day-to-day life. Hololens is really good in terms of experience, but you can’t really go out in the street with that. That’s the first step – getting the right hardware– and then, the content.  Right now, everything is made for mobile experience, but it doesn’t take into account the environment or what you see outside. The first step to get there would be depth-sensing phones, like the ZenFone or Lenovo Phab 2, because they will allow developers to start taking into account the environment when they develop their apps to create augmented reality experiences. Then, there is the augmented reality headset, which will become more and more practical with longer battery life. At some point, we’ll be there, and nobody will see the transition because it will be smooth.

Lindsay: One last bonus question for our audience. What do you see the next 12 months looking like for augmented reality? What does 2017 look like?

JF: There is a big trend in depth-sensing phones.  A depth-sensor is a sensor that is in the back of the phone, like the camera, that can read the environment and so. With that, we can understand the distances, the sizes, if there’s a wall or if there’s already furniture and those depth-sensors are coming to the front. At the end of the year, there will probably be 4-5 different devices with those depth-sensors and this changes dramatically the augmented reality experience because as we know everything about the space. We can place the right product in the right place, and we can recommend products depending on what’s available. If you don’t have a rug, we can say that ‘this rug will be perfect for the space that is available’. With those devices, we can elevate the experience to a level that has never been achieved before. That’s 2017. 2018 will certainly bring us the next augmented reality headsets, like the first consumer augmented reality headsets. That’s also going to be a very exciting year!

Want to hear more from JF? Join us for a live Twitter Q&A on April 12th at 11am ET. Follow us on Twitter to learn more!

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