For a rundown of the biggest developments in Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality from the past 12 months, check out our 2016 roundup, Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality – The Year In Review. And for a look ahead, check out the 5 top Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality technology trends for 2017.
As retailers continue to come up with new mixed commerce solutions for retail, they also keep adding to the lexicon. Just a few years ago, concepts like “virtual reality for retail” or “the endless aisle” didn’t exist. Today, businesses are scrambling to get up to speed on the latest sales solutions that can help them survive in an increasingly challenging retail environment. This Mixed Commerce Glossary aims to eliminate any confusion around mixed commerce, and bring everyone up to speed on a concept that is changing the face of brick and mortal retail.
The blending of traditional brick and mortar retail with e-commerce, often using new technology like AR and VR to improve the sales process and transform it into something that approaches entertainment. Mixed Commerce unites the consumer’s experience online, in-store and at-home into one confidence-building, awe-inspiring visual experience. Some key terms associated with Mixed Commerce:
Mixed Commerce Format The medium or physical host for a Mixed Commerce transaction. Examples include a small footprint kiosk, or a mini-retail setting utilizing AR and VR for users to explore and interact with realistic digital 3D products.
Mixed Commerce Catalog A retailer’s or manufacturer’s listing of 3D digital products available in AR and VR commerce formats.
Endless-Aisle Solution Mixed Commerce provides manufacturers and retailers the ability to showcase an unlimited number of products within an endless-aisle experience.
Store-Within-A-Store Also referred to as “shop-in-shop,” Store-Within-A-Store is an agreement in which a retailer rents part of their sales floor to be used by a different company (typically a manufacturer) who then runs another, independent store. The manufacturer typically has full design control over their space, and hires their own staff.
Non-Digital Attributes Characteristics like “touch” and “feel” that retailers rely on to drive consumers into stores. Although it’s difficult to describe comfort, quality and feel virtually — AR and VR help bridge the gap.
Social Shopping As outlined by RetailTouchPoints.com, Social Shopping involves “meeting up with friends in mixed environments — the mall or grocery store — as if they’re shopping together in-person, even though they aren’t. Texting and smartphone video chat already allow this to some extent, but VR, AR and mixed commerce will push the digital social envelope even further.”
Virtual Reality (VR) Technology that puts the user inside a fully immersive, computer-generated virtual environment. VR is currently accomplished via head-mounted displays like the Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Playstation VR, Samsung GearVR, and Google Daydream View. A simpler version of the experience is available through low-coast solutions like Google Cardboard and View Master VR.
Augmented Reality (AR) The superimposition of computer-generated images into a view of the real world generated by an intermediary device. Typically accomplished via smartphones and tablets, but now being advanced by tech like Microsoft’s Hololens or Google’s Tango platform.
Mixed Reality (MR) Also called “hybrid reality,” Mixed Reality is the combination of AR and VR to produce environments and visualizations where physical objects and digital imagery co-exist and interact in real time.
Diminished Reality (DR) Digitally removing an aspect of a real, physical environment via computer software.
Head Mounted Display (HMD) Hardware used to view a VR environment or experience, HMDs have thus far taken the form of headsets that fit over the user’s head and are held in place with straps.
Oculus Rift Consumer ready VR headset developed and manufactured by Oculus VR. After starting out as an independent developer, Oculus was acquired by Facebook for $2 billion in 2014.
HTC Vive VR headset developed by HTC and Valve Corporation that utilizes sensors and controllers to allow the user to walk around and interact with a defined space.
Playstation VR Released by Sony, PS VR is a peripheral addition to the popular Playstation 4 gaming console. The PS4 iteslf received an spec boost to power the new hardward, and was rereleased as the Playstation Pro in October 2016.
Samsung Gear VR A mobile VR headset manufactured by Samsung in collaboration with Oculus. The headset houses a Samsung Galaxy mobile phone, which plays stereoscopic video that appears to have depth when viewed through the Gear VR. Because it relies on a smartphone to power the imagery, Gear VR is decidedly less powerful that the Rift, Vive and Playstation VR.
Microsoft Hololens An AR headset with a holographic computer that allows the user to see the world around them and superimposed digital content laid atop the real environment. Proponents say it offers a less isolating experience than a VR headset with many of the same benefits.
Google Cardboard A mobile VR viewer developed by Google, the Cardboard is a low-cost alternative to expensive computer-based headsets. Coming in at a tiny price point (as low as $1.99) and compatible with iOS and Android devices, Google Cardboard has lowered the barrier for entry for consumers to get a taste of VR technology, though the experience it allows is primitive compared to more expensive devices.
Google Daydream View A low-cost VR headset developed by Google that is compatible with Google phones. Meant as a competitor to the Samsung GearVR, with which it shares major design elements.
Google Tango Augmented Reality computer vision platform built-into smartphones and tablets. Tango uses sensors to detect and map the external environment, allowing users to place and move computer-generated 3D objects in the environment.
Positional Tracker Hardware that uses positioning technology to detect the position of corresponding positional tracking device, typically found in headsets and hand tracking devices.
3D Compose The construction or design of 3D replication of a physical or imagined environment on a mobile tablet or phone. Typically done with a finger or stylus.
Networking The communication between a mobile phone or tablet and visual display such as a large screen or virtual reality goggles that translates the input on the mobile phone or tablet onto the larger, visual display.
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