Kaon’s Augmented VR Solution Partnership with ASUS Featured in IOT Evolution World

Kaon AR Demo at VRARA Boston Midsummer Event

Kaon Interactive and ASUS ZenFone Launch Augmented VR Solution

By Chrissie Cluney, September 14, 2017 | Originally published by IOT Evolution World

Kaon Interactive, provider of 3D marketing and sales applications for global B2B brands, recently announced that its augmented reality solution, Kaon AR, and virtual reality solution, Kaon VR, are now available on the new ASUS ZenFone AR. Both solutions can be used on the Kaon High Velocity Marketing Platform.

The ZenFone AR is a smartphone that is equipped with Google’s augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technologies, Tango and Daydream.

“The release of the ASUS ZenFone AR marks a whole new opportunity for enterprise marketers. Mobile applications that incorporate AR and/or VR will become increasingly important for B2B companies,” said Gavin Finn, president and CEO, Kaon Interactive. “Mixed reality offers an incredible potential to improve the way businesses operate. This kind of capability could be transformative for B2B companies, improving sales, decreasing costs and informing better purchasing decisions.”

With the release of the ASUS ZenFone AR, Kaon Interactive can provide its customers B2B marketing AR and VR solutions on one device. Kaon AR works on all Tango-enabled devices. It allows companies to interact with 3D AR product models in their customers’ physical space. The device offers 360-degree rotation animation capability. Also Kaon VR works on all Daydream-enabled devices to fully immerse users in a virtual environment, all within their Kaon applications.

The company has found that this is a cost-effective way to create an emotional connection and communicate a unique value proposition. This increases both sales productivity and marketing efficiency. As more Tango- and Daydream-enabled devices like the ZenFone AR are introduced to the market, leading global B2B sales teams will increasingly adopt the technologies as a competitive differentiator.

The applications are available in the Google Play Store, Apple Store for the new iOS11 and the Cisco 3D Interactive CatalogClick here to view a video of Kaon’s 3D AR product models in action on Apple devices.

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Smartphones Are Changing the Game for the Enterprise…

Just check out our teaser video of our clients’ products in 3D augmented reality on an Apple iPhone with iOS 11.

 

Then, read this article written by our President and CEO Gavin Finn in last month’s technology issue of Brand Quarterly for more proof points.

Reality Check: How Smartphones Will Change The Mixed Reality Game For The Enterprise

September 5, 2017 — by Gavin Finn | published by Brand Quarterly

You’ve likely heard about virtual and augmented Reality, but do we truly know how they will be used in business? As these technologies evolve, more and more enterprise applications will very quickly become mainstream.

Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are getting more attention lately, thanks to the launch of new smartphones making the technology more accessible to a mainstream audience.

Google was the first to introduce an AR mobile platform, which several Android smartphone makers quickly endorsed. Known as “Tango,” this platform is a combination of special hardware and software designed to allow the phone to augment physical spaces with digital data. Google also developed a mobile VR platform, which it calls “Daydream.” The Google Pixel smartphones include Daydream VR.

In 2016, Lenovo introduced the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro, which was the first third-party Android phone with Tango technology built in. Very recently, ASUS introduced the ZenFone AR, which includes Tango technology. The ZenFone AR has the distinction of being the first smartphone to include both Tango and Daydream technology, ushering in the era of mobile mixed reality. Some are calling this phone “the one worth owning.”

Let’s step back and break this down for a moment, because it can get confusing. Augmented reality is the ability to take a real-time camera view of a physical space and superimpose digital objects within that space, virtually. Imagine seeing a superimposed (digital) microwave on an empty counter, for example. With augmented reality, you’re still in your real environment; there’s just a virtual, “digital” object in it with you. Virtual reality, on the other hand, is the ability to place a person inside a virtual space (like a virtual kitchen), allowing them to move around and interact with that space as if it were the real, physical world. With virtual reality, you use a headset to block out any view of the real environment around you, while you “step into” a completely new, virtual world. When we use both AR and VR (either together or as complements to each other), then it is known as “mixed reality.”

Who’s leading the charge in mobile VR and AR? Google’s Tango and Daydream platforms are becoming the Android platform standards for both of these new technologies. Apple has focused most of its energy on AR, and recently announced that its ARKit will be available on several iOS devices when iOS 11 is released. Apple’s ARKit has taken a somewhat different approach from Google’s – it is an operating system and software-based platform. Developers will be able to use ARKit to provide applications that include AR, running on standard Apple smartphones and tablets.

As more AR- and VR-enabled smartphones come to market, more applications that use these technologies will be adopted. These next-gen mobile devices will drive demand for a wide variety of AR and VR consumer and business applications. Now that Apple and Google have made strategic investments in mobile mixed reality, these two market-leading mobile platforms will facilitate rapid adoption and advances that result in mixed reality becoming the norm.

Pokémon Go offered the first mainstream exposure to AR. While the popular game spread virally, it only scratched the surface in terms of what AR can do.

For the next couple years, I anticipate most AR and VR applications to remain entertainment-focused among the consumer audience, meaning more games that allow for the inclusion of AR and VR will be released. Where it gets interesting, according to many of us in the enterprise space, is when they go beyond gaming – these applications offer an incredible potential to improve the way businesses develop, manufacture, market, sell, support and maintain products.

Take, for example, WayfairView, an app that makes it possible for consumers to use AR to place virtual models of the furniture and décor that Wayfair sells right into the customers’ homes at full scale. Customers can now see how these products would really look (and fit) before they buy. WayfairView uses Google Tango technology and can be used on the Lenovo Phab2 Pro and the ASUS ZenFone AR.

There are business-to-business (B2B) applications, too. Companies like GE, Cisco and Dell EMC are enhancing the way they market and sell their large and often complex products to other businesses via AR and VR applications. These applications are also available on the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro and ASUS ZenFone AR. The mobile experiences allow these Fortune 500 giants to save on exorbitant shipping fees, so massive products don’t need to be shipped to customer sites or tradeshow floors for sales and marketing purposes. Instead, the products, in their vast size and complexity, are visible and interactive via the mobile applications. For example, Cisco now offers the Cisco 3D Interactive Catalog via the Google Play Store; an AR and VR application, available for both Google Tango and Daydream, allowing interactive exploration of their products.

The potential to add this kind of capability to a wide variety of B2B applications could be transformative, improving product quality, reducing downtime, and helping companies and people make better purchasing decisions. An engineer, for example, could see how new manufacturing machinery would fit on the production floor. A lab director might explore how different options for new diagnostic devices would fit into her lab. A service technician could see how to repair an aircraft engine without using a technical manual. And an architect would show a client a realistic, immersive view of how a room addition would look, even before the project has started.

Each use-case would not be possible without devices and applications that leverage these mixed reality solutions. While consumers are catching on to AR and VR, mobile phone manufacturers are ahead of the game , producing devices that allow us to use the technology, whether it’s for sales, marketing, service or just plain entertainment. Who knows… we may soon live in a world where “dragons” walk the streets. One thing is for sure – it will be exciting to watch and participate as our new “reality” evolves.

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Why Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality Will be Important for Your Business

augmented reality and virtual reality

Image credit: Sylvain Sonnet | Getty Images

By Gavin Finn | originally published on Entrepreneur.com, September 12, 2017

Got a product your customer wants to try out (virtually) first? This technology makes that possible.

In the arc of every modern technology’s development, a great deal of attention is generally initially focused on the technology itself. When, for example, artificial intelligence (AI) was emerging as a computational and cognitive force, researchers and university professors were constantly in the media explaining how neural networks and machine learning worked, and how this technology (and many other forms of AI) differed from traditional computer programs.

Today, just a few years later, AI systems are embedded in many of the products that companies and consumers use regularly. Clearly, we have adopted AI technology and integrated it into our daily lives.

This is also the case with augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), two distinct but related technologies that have become popular in the business and consumer press.

AR is the ability to insert digital objects into a camera view of the real world, based on information about the scene that is within the camera’s view. While Pokémon Go is the most commonly known consumer use of this kind of technology, far more sophisticated AR applications offer great promise for all kinds of applications.

VR is based on the diametrically opposite concept: It immerses real people inside a fictional digital, or virtual, space. Many games now use VR to make the experience even more realistic than someone has playing the game on a computer, TV screen or tablet. Just as with AR, there are many potential applications of VR that go well beyond games.

Why will AR and VR be important for businesses of all kinds? Well, for every company, building engagement with customers is a key element of their ability to develop long-lasting and lucrative relationships. At Kaon Interative we have identified three primary factors that contribute to successful engagement strategies:

Multi-sensory engagement — getting customers involved in learning about, and using, products in a way that is active. Touch, sight, audio and even smell are all important senses to employ when engaging with customers;

Intellectual engagement — sharing relevant and useful information with customers so that they have a meaningful experience learning about and using the company’s products and solutions; and

Emotional connections — with B2B purchases, research has shown that building an emotional connection is at least as equally important as creating a logical case for people to buy. Certainly, continuing to develop emotional connections post-purchase leads to loyal customer relationships.

Augmented reality, for real

AR and VR are tools to help with each of the above elements, building even more engagement with customers. From early sales and marketing encounters with customers, through those customers’ purchase and use of the products and into the realm of customer service and support, AR and VR are becoming more and more useful.

Examples: AR applications, such as WayfairView, include software that shows how furniture will look in a customer’s home. Prospective buyers can use a phone or tablet’s camera to see how their homes will look with a variety of different furniture pieces before they make a purchase decision. For industrial facilities, manufacturing managers can see how a new piece of equipment might fit into their workflow: The new assembly or manufacturing process can also be visualized through the camera of a phone or tablet while the manager walks through the existing plant.

AR, then, will result in a better understanding of how these products and solutions will benefit the manufacturing facility and increase companies’ propensity to buy. They’ll be able to see troubleshooting and maintenance instructions overlaid directly onto a physical product as they are working on it, resulting in shorter downtimes, improved productivity and deeper brand loyalty.

Virtual reality, for real

VR applications, meanwhile, enable customers to immerse themselves in a digital space — such as a hospital, laboratory or oil refinery — illustrating how complex products and solutions work and helping them understand how they would navigate and use these new products. At Cisco Live in June 2017, Dell EMC utilized a VR application developed by my company, Kaon Interactive, for its enterprise prospects and customers.

The application showed attendees and partners how they could visualize their own IT transformation with converged and hyper-converged solutions. These enhanced experiences were intended to create a deeper understanding of the company’s differentiated value propositions. For existing customers, VR simulators will help train personnel before they operate real machinery– the way flight simulators are used for pilots — but without the expense of complex physical systems in the real world.

As these solutions become more mainstream, in terms of devices and software, they are losing some of their technology focus and beginning to gain a more integrated status as components or features of larger products and solutions. Consumers and B2B buyers, for their part, are developing an awareness of, and even an expectation for, these kinds of experiences when they interact with almost every company.

For every entrepreneur attempting to build a more engaging and lasting relationship with his or her company’s prospects and customers, AR and VR are important capabilities to include in planning how their current engagement strategies will evolve. And special gadgets won’t necessarily be a part of the mix: Rather than having to have a separate device for an AR experience, users will simply use the phones and tablets they use already (Google and Apple have released or announced platforms that allow software developers to build AR applications and capabilities into their Android and iOS applications).

Similarly, while today’s VR headsets are somewhat cumbersome, requiring cables and sensors attached to a PC, these devices, too, are rapidly evolving, using wireless and even mobile devices (e.g. the Google Daydream).

This evolution to the mainstream will allow businesses to build AR and VR features into larger and more holistic applications, creating a complete set of capabilities for even more meaningful customer experiences.

Therefore, the future for this technology remains wide open. And every company should be including AR and/or VR applications in its customer engagement lifecycle — from the stages of early customer awareness, marketing and sales to installation, deployment, service, and support.

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