New Interactive Video/Augmented Reality Apps Unveiled for Clothes Shopping, Wimbledon

--Apps Developed by Zugara, IBM

Los Angeles-based interactive marketing agency, Zugara, unveiled an interactive video/augmented reality application, Tuesday, called the Webcam Social Shopper. According to the company, the app allows Webcam-equipped users to virtually hold up articles of clothing in front of themselves in order to see how they look on them--while integrated motion capture technology allows the app to track their movements, and thereby also enables them to control the app by moving their hands in space (in other words, users can stand several feet away from their mouse and keyboard while trying on clothes, and don't have to return to them every time they want to try on a new piece of clothing or change the color of the piece they are currently trying on). The company bills the app, which it stresses is currently in its alpha phase, as requiring "no extra downloads, no new plug-in, no consumer headache."

According to Zugara, the app has the potential to allow consumers to:

  • Livestream their Webcam's feed to their friends, and get feedback next to the app in real time about the pieces of clothing it is allowing them to virtually try on.
  • Engage in virtual real-time shopping trips with Webcam-equipped friends and family.
  • Enter their measurements into the app in order to view a "fitted image."
  • Shop within a branded Facebook application.

"It's not a secret that friends/family recommendations influence a consumer's purchase decision and beat any other 'consumer touchpoint,'" Zugara writes in its corporate blog. "Now, we can help brands empower their consumers to integrate their friends and family into their online shopping process like never before. The thinking is that this application will help bridge the gap between how people like to shop offline and how they are forced to shop online, subsequently providing an enhanced interactive shopping experience for the consumer and increased sales for the brand."

In related news, IBM is trialing an augmented reality application for mobile phones at the Wimbledon tennis championship (note: IBM has been a Wimbledon technology partner since 1990). Dubbed Seer Android Beta and developed for the Android operating system and the T-Mobile G1 handset, the application takes a live feed from the handset's camera and superimposes content and data associated with various points of interest (such as courts, toilets and refreshment stands), that have been plotted using GPS, into the video stream--thus, like the SPRXmobile Layar application profiled by [itvt] last week, effectively turning reality into a giant interactive video.

According to IBM, by making use of the T-Mobile G1's digital compass and precise GPS coordinates, the app offers a "heads up display" to show users what they are looking at; it augments this with other live data from the Wimbledon championship's scoring systems and from IBM scouts reporting from around the Wimbledon grounds, the company says, in order to give users a comprehensive and dynamic insight into their surroundings. Thus, for example, if a user points the camera towards one of Wimbledon's courts, the app will identify the court number and display information about the current and subsequent matches to be played there.

Other Seer Android Beta features, according to IBM, include a Map view that allows users to pinpoint their location on a detailed map of the Wimbledon grounds; a Timeline view that is an aggregation of news feeds and updates from IBM scouts and that allows users to see in real-time what is happening around the Wimbledon grounds; and a "Radar" function that indicates a user's current position and nearby points of interest.

Videos of Webcam Social Shopper and Seer Android Beta are embedded below.