Meet the team conducting research on the exciting future of Augmented Reality
Imagine you are shopping online and you could immediately try on this summer’s hottest outfit, sunglasses or makeup without leaving the comfort of your home or waiting for an online order to arrive. Imagine you could, with the swipe of a finger, see how different furniture items look in your living room. So-called Augmented Reality or AR applications are making these scenarios a (marketing) reality.
AR is the science and art of using digital technology to overlay virtual content (e.g., product images, information or instructions) into a person’s perception of the physical world. Maastricht University’s School of Business and Economics (SBE) is the proud home of the Augmented-Research initiative – a global research group dedicated to studying AR technologies for marketing. Under SBE’s research theme Data-Driven Decision-Making (D3M), the group, which includes Dr. Tim Hilken (Assistant Professor), Prof Dr. Dominik Mahr (Professor of Digital Innovation and Marketing) and UM alumnus Jonas Heller (PhD Candidate at UNSW Business School), is leading in its field.
In their recent publications, they show that customers may feel a sense of ownership over digital product holograms in a similar fashion as they do for physical products (Journal of Interactive Marketing), that seeing 3D holograms of food items from a restaurant’s menu helps customers make better choices (Journal of Retailing), and that AR presents a new form of online product trial to address the increasing problem of product returns (Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science).
With a recently secured D3M primary data collection grant for the “Digital Reality Hub”, the group also seeks to expand its research efforts through the acquisition of cutting-edge AR devices such as the Microsoft Hololens 2 or the MagicLeap AR headset.
Finally, the next time you are at Coffeelovers, be sure to keep an eye out for a brand new AR menu in with mouth-wateringly realistic 3D images of Coffeelovers cheesecake or muffins to go along with your coffee. As part of an Augmented-Research field study, Coffeelovers and SBE are working together on this research project to study how AR can help restaurants and cafés to better promote their food and drinks!