Augmented reality not only plays a major role in the game world (“Pokemon Go”) or in social media (filters in Snapchat, Instagram or Zoom). The technology also offers great potential for applications in industry, marketing or e-commerce. “AR can be used in a variety of ways, especially as regards optimising the customer experience”, says Markus Holzner, Business Area Manager at bbv.
Customer-centric added value is critical in this context, for example, in combination with artificial intelligence or simply with a bar code or QR code. “Self-check-in at the airport, for example, shows how digitalisation greatly simplifies customer processes. It makes the procedure easier for passengers, ensures greater efficiency for the provider, for example during boarding, and thus lowers costs”, says Markus Holzner. Similarly, augmented reality makes customer processes more user-friendly.
Although AR is still in its infancy in terms of customer experience (CX), various applications already exist in practice from the most diverse industries and sectors. Take the Roomle 3D & AR room planner, for example, which you can use to conveniently create 3D floor plans of your own apartment. Combined with the IKEA Place app, furniture can be placed virtually in your own living room. The motto is “try before you buy”: The display shows true to scale how the piece of furniture will look in your own home in different colours or model types.
BMW lets its customers park their electric vehicles virtually in front of their own driveway from iPhone or iPad. The colours, wheel rims or the interior can be adjusted on the screen. And bbv partner Side Effects AG offers its customers the opportunity to display entire industrial and production processes down to the smallest screw. The solution is used to monitor plants, train and certify machine and production plant users as well as in the area of customer service. For example, with real-time 3D monitoring systems or data-based service and training manuals.
“However, many other, more far-reaching possibilities are also conceivable. The potential for our customers is enormous”, says Markus Holzner. Particularly suitable in this regard are processes in marketing or sales, for example, that need to be simplified or a decision-making process that is to be made more emotional.
Conceivable scenarios and existing use cases include, for example, instructions from operating or repair manuals on the smartphone display or via AR glasses, visualisations in architecture and landscaping or the integration of virtual products and works in showrooms and exhibitions.
Knowing customer needs and exploring technical possibilities
Creativity is required to develop new AR business models. “As part of its strategy or innovation consulting, bbv develops products and services together with customers – also with AR, AI and in the area of service design”, explains Markus Holzner. Thanks to the collaboration with Side Effects, bbv has a partner who can provide advice on such matters. The goal is to generate added value for the end customer, i.e. to improve the customer experience. At the same time, there should be a benefit for the provider: This can be an increase in efficiency, lower costs or higher revenue.
New ground is often broken when developing AR applications for customer processes. In order to improve the customer experience, you have to understand the customers and know their needs. There are different ways to do this. “You have to ask yourself how processes can be simplified and how AR can help with this”, says Markus Holzner. But you can also think about it from the technological point of view. Specifically, you can ask yourself as part of the innovation and development process: What possibilities do AR technologies offer and what benefit can be achieved with them?
Wanted: Business case with improved customer experience
Within the AR innovation process, the bbv experts use the 3i transformation model from management consultants Sieber & Partners among other things. This model provides direction on the sequence of the individual tasks in order to progress step by step in an iterative approach. Alternately, the business perspective or the technology perspective is adopted when developing ideas – the customer knows its business particularly well on the one hand and the bbv experts know the possibilities of the technology on the other hand.
The aim of this consulting approach is to use augmented reality to digitalise a product or service or to make an already digital process more emotional, so as to create added value or a positive experience for the customer. This is also intended as a way of attracting new customers.
Markus Holzner is convinced that joint innovation development together with customers will result in many other use cases for AR, which will positively influence the customer experience. It is not enough to simply develop unorthodox and innovative ideas into a finished product. “Ultimately, the goal for our customers is always to be able to monetise the new business case.”
IT Business Engineer Markus Holzner is an expert in business analysis, customer experience, service design and the development of digital products, platforms and apps. He focuses on the development of digital strategies and their implementation. This includes improving the customer experience, transforming core business and increasing corporate value creation. As regards strategy consulting, Markus Holzner reflects with the customer on the business models and business processes as well as the underlying levels of customer, experience, organisation, performance, assets and data. In this context, Markus Holzner has many years of experience with innovating and modernising business-critical platforms and specialist applications in the ICT and public administration sectors. He also supports customers in the areas of project portfolio management, project management, security and governance.