VIC’s Immertia develops product packaging hologram prototype

Victorian Avatar commerce company Immertia has developed a prototype for product packaging holograms where an augmented reality concept links an intelligent holographic assistant to products.

The company said the solution, with a holographic person that can only be seen when viewing through a smartphone camera and appears to be inside the product packaging, will soon answer questions and provide advice to shoppers, potentially turning every product into its own sales, marketing, and support centre.

video demonstration, available on the Immertia website, shows a smartphone user scanning product packaging to activate the virtual person, and subsequently unlocking information, presented in a range of virtual settings.

Immertia managing director Dave Chaffey said the response to the prototype had been overwhelmingly positive.

“It’s been an absolute showstopper for us. There’s a real power to augmented reality, but many people are only just starting to realise it. The demonstration shows a tangible use, that personalises immersive shopping experiences – it has the potential to change the way we shop,” he said.

In the demonstration, a female holograph provides information in English, or in Spanish, and leads an interactive augmented reality experience where packaging design is fluid, clickable links hover in mid-air, and other products are presented as three-dimensional objects.

“The information presented to consumers comes directly from the product manufacturer, pulled across in real-time, which means its more accurate than any other first-line channel, including Google,” Chaffey said.

This prototype completes the second stage of development for the Immertia team.  The first prototype, demonstrated in 2020, virtually links an intelligent voice assistant through a product, for consumers to ask product-related questions and receive spoken answers.

The company is now working on the third stage – bringing the two prototype technologies together to produce the fully conversational human concierge, who can answer product questions, and facilitate sales.

“We see a clear pathway for a new commerce channel to develop here. A holographic person is an avatar, a representative for a company, who not only answers questions, but makes recommendations and facilitates sales,” Chaffey said.

“There’s a shorter path to purchase for consumers, the information is accurate, and the avatar eliminates a lot of the friction.

“For a business, having an avatar available from every product creates an incredibly powerful opportunity – you’re putting your resources to work – it’s like adding a team of millions, building your brand, making connections, making sales 24/7.”

According to the company, the commercial applications are enormous, with use cases in food and beverage, FMCG, manufacturing, health, education, and many more industries.

There are still several challenges that the company faces to reach their goal, and Chaffey added that the team are “waiting for technology to catch up” before they can take the next step forward.

“Augmented reality is headed for explosive growth – so the technology won’t be too far away. It will be coming to market at a great time,” he said.

According to Immertia’s roadmap, the first hologram product is anticipated to launch in the second half of 2022, with the conversational version approximately 12 months later.

The company has commenced an equity capital raise to accelerate its moves to market. The company has two AR platforms in-market currently, with plans to release an additional four platforms in 2022.  

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