Marketing

Augment is giving AR to salespeople so they can show, not just tell

Above: Product visualization in its intended environment.

Image Credit: Augment

Just visualize your product in this environment. That’s the basic pitch behind an augmented reality app for sales, which helped Paris-based startup Augment raise $1.5 million.

“There is not really any other augmented reality platform targeted to sales people,” CEO and founder Jean-Francois Chianetta told VentureBeat.

He added that other augmented reality platforms, like Blippar, Aurasma or Wikitude, are “focused on the marketing opportunity” instead of sales. The first target for the company: sales reps selling merchandising displays to retailers, such as the ones from the European division of L’Oréal Professional Products that are using the app.

“This is a really great example of visualization [in a space,]” Forrester Research analyst JP Gownder told us. He suggested that the next step could be “using this with prospective customers,” to get a sense of how a product on a shelf or a particular display appeals to them.

But, his fellow Forrester analyst Sucharita Mulpuru told us, the app is solving something “that is not really a problem.”

If a product manufacturer wants to visualize how a product will look on a shelf, she said, they will create a physical mockup.

Beyond products on shelves, the company also has in mind larger product-in-the-environment applications, like architectural firms showing their proposed buildings onsite or furniture/equipment makers displaying their products in the proposed environment.

To start visualizing a product, download the free app for iOS or Android and upload your 3D model and a 2D “tracker.” A tracker can be, say, an image of a piece of cardboard, which you link to the 3D model. When the tracker moves in real space, the modeled object moves with it in enhanced reality.

Augment uses Vuforia as its augmented reality tracking engine for its software-as-a-service platform, and the rest is customized. Chianetta said his app is the only one to support native reflection from the real world on objects.

The company said over a hundred companies in various industries have signed up for subscriptions, which are priced at $20 per monthly user and $20 per monthly tracker. The new funding from private individuals, complementing $300,000 raised a year ago, will be used to hire a VP of sales and open an office in Chicago as well as support research and development.

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