IBM Announces Mobile Augmented Reality Shopping App

A recent IBM Institute for Business Value report confirmed that consumers actively seek shopping advice from peers, family, friends and strangers, and are eager to opt-in to retail programs in exchange for coupons, rewards and discounts. Moreover, these consumers will have the capability to browse store aisles and product images remotely, via their mobile devices, as well as receive advice, personalized coupons and product information.

IBM Research is developing an augmented reality shopping app to provide this experience. The technology addresses the fundamental gap between the wealth of real-time product details available online, and the in-store shopper’s inability to access these current details as part of the browsing experience.

The app is slated to work as follows: Upon entering a store, consumers download the app on their mobile devices, register using their telephone number or loyalty cards, and create a profile of preferred product features. The video camera on the mobile device recognizes products according to shapes, colors and other features using advanced image processing technologies. The retailer’s back-end computer system, powered by IBM Smarter Commerce software, delivers information to the mobile device, where advanced augmented reality technologies overlay the information on the product images. Consumers have to option to integrate information from their social networks can be integrated into the information stream.


“In the age of social media, consumer expectations are soaring, and people want information and advice about the products they’re going to buy,” said Sima Nadler, Retail Lead for IBM Research, in a company press release. “By closing the gap between online and in-store shopping experiences, marketers can appeal to the individual needs of consumers and keep them coming back.”

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