Augmented Reality in the Retail Fixture Market

Kyle Rennaker

First there was Natural Reality, then came Virtual Reality, and now the two merge together to create Augmented Reality. Augmented Reality or AR is alive direct or indirect view of the real world whose elements have been changed by a computer. AR has been used in many different industries and settings, such as educational classrooms and industrial factories. It has grown in leaps and bounds over the last decade and is expected to become a billion dollar business by 2018.

Augmented Reality is actually a fairly new term, coined around 1990. A brief history of AR would indicate a beginning starting back in 1957, when Morton Helig built a machine called the Sensorama. It was more like virtual reality by having a movie play back at the viewer with windand sound to stimulate a ride through the streets of Brooklyn. Then, in 1966, Professor Ivan Sutherland (consideredone of the founding fathers of modern-day Computer Graphics), invented the first head-mounted display. Even though his HMD was too cumbersome to wear, it became the first step toward modern-day Augmented Reality. Fast forward to the early 1990s, the term Augmented Reality was coined by Professor Tom Caudellwhile working on a Boeing project. He came up with a piece of software that overlaid the cable system in the building process. There were other individuals and teams in the early '90s that also help aid in the development of the modern AR system, such as LB Rosenberg.

With this growing industry, the impact on society is just starting to ramp up. But how can Augmented Reality affect the commercial casework and retail fixture industry? The answer is simple. AR can revolutionize the industry. In all aspects of the manufacturing process, AR can be applied. AR could be implemented from the design phase all the way to the install phase. There's no better way to convey what the sales floor could potentially look like than with the help of Augmented Reality. With mobile devices today,smart phones and tablets, it's fairly easy to convey the message to any potential client.

AR is not just restricted as a marketing tool. It could easily be used during the construction process of retail fixtures. For individual who are new to the building process of a particular fixture or need a refresher, having mobile tools that have AR capabilities will allow employees to have access to simple instructions.

Finally, AR could be used at the installation process, too. Installers could use AR for location placement and install instructions could all coincide with the information presented with the AR device. The potential of Augmented Reality in the Retail casework industry is endless. These are just a few ideas on how it can be applied.