Augmented reality (AR) is a technology that layers computer-generated enhancements, including 3D models and animations, atop an existing reality to enhance viewers’ perception of it. In our industry, references to AR are often focused on gameplay, but in this post, we’ll discuss how lotteries can potentially use AR to grow their retail footprint.
With both Apple and Google continually improving the AR capabilities of their mobile operating systems, AR app development is more accessible than ever. Wouldn’t it be great for a sales rep to use those capabilities on a mobile phone to show a current or prospective lottery retailer how a new terminal, instant ticket display, winner-awareness sign, or other lottery touchpoint would look in their retail location?
Right now, creating this vision would require a sales rep to go back to the office and create a clunky, 2D mock-up composed of location photos and cut-and-pasted product images – all for a final product that cannot be readily moved, rescaled, or rearranged to meet a retailer’s changing vision. An AR product-placement application could change all that.
Engaging Retailers with an Instant, Enhanced Vision
Retail product showcasing is one of the fastest growing use cases for AR, with sales growth estimated at a 5-year CAGR of 403 percent.1 With AR sales apps, sales reps could leverage a live view of a retailer’s store with augmented placement of lottery products on the counters, floors, and walls of the retailers’ valuable sales space. An AR sales app could also provide an engaging shared experience with retailers, allowing them to tweak and reposition 3D models of lottery products to create an optimal product placement solution.
With such a powerful and unique tool, reps could gain an edge and boost sales of lottery products at current retail locations, as well as gain new lottery retailers. Sharing the final vision (via a screenshot and integrated email component), coupled with key marketing data, can provide a prospective retailer with the instant, accurate information needed to make an informed decision.
The State of the Art in Showcasing Products
Many furniture and home goods companies have already embraced AR for product placement and product showcasing. For example, in September 2017, IKEA, which has long been an early adopter of new technology, launched one of the first of a new wave of AR apps that uses the latest AR technologies from Apple. Called “IKEA Place,” this app will let consumers use AR to preview how IKEA products would look in their home before purchasing the items. With apps like these, AR measurement tools add a level of accuracy to the augmented product placement, and app users are even able to change materials, textures, and colors of products where applicable.
From a lottery perspective, adding lottery branding and adding or removing configurable product features or shrouds could help to create an accurate set of options that reflect a prospective lottery retailer’s vision.
With all of this in mind, when will this kind of augmented reality be a reality for lotteries? The technology is well along the way. IGT’s prototype application was showcased at the 2017 NASPL Conference in Portland, Oregon. Conceptualization of all application features and uses is now a collaborative effort with our Retail Optimization and Execution team, design teams, and product team for sales force automation (SFA). We see this capability complementing our Sales Wizard Biz App product offering in the near future.
Making AR Widely Accessible
Currently, Apple’s ARKit and Google’s ARCore development kits (known as SDKs or software development kits) enable access to advancements in camera-tracking technologies, using iOS and Android operating systems respectively. This allows developers access to associated AR software, which in turn enables AR apps that everyone can use. While Apple’s AR is leading the way, Google’s technologies are not far behind. Google is also selling its own phones, which work well with the company’s ARCore-based applications in addition to others, making ARCore compatible with other Android mobile devices.
Android-capable AR is key to making AR applications available to a much larger mobile-phone user base. Gartner notes that worldwide sales of smart phones in the first quarter of 2017 showed that 86 percent of those devices used Android, while roughly 14 percent of sales used iOS, though the difference was much closer in the U.S., with Android and iOS based mobile device sales at about 53 percent to 45 percent respectively for June, 2017.2
Lottery sales reps are sure to be bolstered by AR capabilities that let them gain immediate access to product information, associated with a showcase capability for all lottery touchpoints.
AR has the potential to create an engaging sales experience leveraging animated, 3D versions of lottery touchpoints. If you’re a prospective lottery retailer, seeing AR is believing.
1IDC, 2017, Top Industry Based on 2017 Market Share
2Gartner, May 2017, “Market Share Alert: Preliminary, Mobile Phones, Worldwide, 1Q17" and "Market Share: Final PCs, Ultramobiles and MobilePhones, All Countries, 1Q17 Update."