Augmented Reality: The Next Major Revolution for the Customer Experience

Solimar Systems

The next major revolution for the customer experience; that is a tall order, but we believe Augmented Reality will truly change the way our clients deliver and customers receive print and digital communications. Even Apple’s Tim Cook has been in the news betting on AR as the next big thing.

Augmented Reality, or AR as it is commonly referred to as, has actually been around for quite a few years. But what is it? Different from Virtual Reality, AR is defined by Merriam-Webster as:

An enhanced version of reality created by the use of technology to overlay digital information on an image of something being viewed through a device (such as a smartphone camera).

In the Customer Communications Management landscape, marketers, printers and customer experience owners have been trying to add-value to print for decades. From spot color to QR codes, there have been many innovations that have sought to connect the physical print and digital customer communication experience.

QR codes are probably the most memorable from the past decade as they allowed for a barcode to be placed on a printed piece that could have links and other information embedded in them to connect a reader to digital content. The drawbacks, however, included an infringement on the design and brand look and feel (unfortunately QR codes aren’t the prettiest) and the requirement to scan them with a QR code app from a smartphone or tablet.

So how is Augmented Reality (AR) going to revolutionize the customer experience given the innovations of the past?

With AR there are a few major benefits:

No requirement to change the design of the document or communication

With AR you define an object used to indicate a position or place on the document, mailpiece, poster…really any physical item–often referred to as a “marker”–that then triggers the experience using an app on a smartphone or tablet equipped with a camera. This is significant for documents and communications that are already designed because you don’t have to redesign or add something to the piece that takes away from the aesthetics of the design. You can also leverage legacy customer communications that may be difficult to modify or steeped in regulatory review if major changes are applied. In many ways, AR will breathe new life into your customer communications in a much easier and engaging way than are currently available with a technology like QR codes. Of course, if a message is needed to promote the AR experience, Solimar Systems can help with our post-composition capabilities in Rubika.

Ability to embed enriched digital content in the “Air Space” of the communication

The air space of a communication is considered the air above an object. In the CCM world, we would consider this the space above a printed statement, Explanation of Benefits, insurance policy or letter. Using AR your customers can engage with the printed piece through personalized interactive videos, dynamic charts and graphs, payment buttons and presentment of digital coupons that can be saved directly to a smartphone or tablet. This enriched digital content connects the physical and digital experiences—creating a lasting, positive impression for improved customer loyalty and satisfaction.

Solimar Systems

Easily embed into existing branded app with Solimar and RealityBLU

Solimar has partnered with RealityBLU to provide personalized and dynamic AR for the customer communications and commercial printing industries. Leveraging Reality Blu’s innovative approach, AR can be integrated with existing branded apps. Why is this important? From a direct mail perspective the USPS states that response rates jump from 3% to 37% when AR is added. AR paired with print and mail will also allow you to take advantage of the USPS Postal Promotion Program, a 2% discount, that has allowed some large-volume mailers to see millions of dollars in postal savings. The key is a quick start up, value-oriented pricing and seamless integration to your existing Customer Communications Management production workflow; the benefit of Solimar and RealityBLU solution.

Solimar Systems

Provide Accessibility to customers with low or no vision

Accessibility has continued to be an issue of growing concern. From Global Accessibility Awareness Day to regulations that increasingly require more accommodation from providers, having an experience that makes it possible for customers needing accessible communications to understand and act is important. With AR, it is possible to create an engaging experience with the branded app and regulated document that they interact with every month. Moreover, as up and coming generations age, the comfort and reliance on smartphones and tablets will continue to go up. Align your delivery of accessible communications with this trend, while meeting customer experience expectations and simplifying the implementation and rollout.

The time for AR is now and the possibilities for changing the levels of engagement, satisfaction and response from your customers are endless. From interactive personalized video and gamification to dynamic information and bill payment, AR allows you to leverage existing communications while developing the next generation of communications for your audience. And don’t forget to consider the possibilities for the packaging and labeling market. Many commercial and transactional printers are looking at leveraging the latest digital print technology to open doors to new markets; AR not only aligns with those ideas, but proves competitive advantage over others in the marketplace.

For more information, call the Solimar Sales Team at +1.619.849.2800.