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AUGMENTED REALITY APPS ARE HELPING MORE BUSINESSES TO GROW

Aug 14, 2018

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How can they help you?

Did you know 78% of online content is reached through a mobile device rather than via websites? And it’s statistics like this that present a strong argument for every business to embrace this kind of technology.  

In May this year, PKF Cooper Parry acquired Sync Interactive, a leading creative agency specialising in mobile and business apps. We caught up with Mark Holland, former Director of Sync and now Head of Mobile Technology in our IT Solutions business to see how you can take advantage of this technology. 

Should my business have an app?  

Apps and augmented reality can help all kinds of businesses with all kinds of things. Let me give you a couple of examples…  

Recently, we’ve been working in a partnership with Priority SMS Ltd on apps for several Championship football teams, high-end restaurant chains and other businesses (which we can’t talk about just yet!) to create what you might call “fan apps”.  

On the sports side of things, these apps give fans access to fixtures, live scores and statistics. They also link with the club’s website and let people vote for player of the match, share photos via social media and get discount at certain times in their club-store.  

For restaurants there’s a similar model, and it’s entirely built around generating further brand loyalty, creating more ambassadors for what you do and even driving footfall into shops. 

And what is augmented reality? 

So augmented reality, put simply, works by superimposing computer-generated content on a user’s view of the real world on their mobile device. 

Let’s imagine you were in one of those restaurant chains I mentioned. You might be able to take a selfie with the famous owner of the restaurant chain without him being there! Or you could view and interact with large scale 3D models as if they were really there. This is great for showcasing products to customers that wouldn’t ordinarily be possible to setup in that location or would cost thousands to ship around the world. 

These can even be location locked, so you can only do this if you roam to certain areas within these buildings, where different things appear onscreen – including offers, graphics that pop up and even digital people you can take selfies with. 

It’s a virtual world within a real world through your smartphone. And all of this creates a memorable customer experience, a buzz around the place and, in both previous examples, led to increased footfall and business performance. 

So how do I use this in my business? 

A lot of businesses come to us and have no idea what they’re after. Someone out there’s told them they need an app (and they’re right, of course!), but these business owners don’t really know what for. 

But this is a good starting place. And it’s not just customer experience where this kind of technology can help. 

We’ve recently worked with a mortgage broker to help speed up their processes inside their business. It works by notifying them the moment someone applies for a mortgage, gives people a portal for regular communication and has dramatically cut workload and bureaucracy.  

We do the same for Microsoft too. And lots of others. So, as well as helping with your marketing, apps can help you speed up your internal processes too, making you more productive. 

I know it’s a bit of a buzzword now. But lots of people are thinking of apps when it comes to digital transformation too, and how it can make them more efficient. 

Virtual Reality

We have seen a massive increase in Virtual Reality in the last two years too. 

Businesses use VR headsets to showcase their products and services in new and exciting ways. We work with some great companies that can capture 4k 360º footage, allowing us to bring business process, building interiors and other experiences to life. 

This, combined with gamifying certain aspects of this experience, can help your business hire the best talent on exhibition stands, mock up a new office for employees to increase engagement and lots, lots more. 

It allows businesses to showcase products or replicate experiences in new ways that are not possible or cost-effective to do so in reality. 

The huge potential 

And that’s not the end of it either. 

We’ve also worked in healthcare too. Cooper Parry Corporate Finance recently released a report on how digital health is revolutionising healthcare. And I guess we’re part of it. 

We’ve worked with the NHS on a diabetes app. And in the past year, we’ve worked with St. Jude Medical, who sell cardiovascular products and lots of devices, to create the sales tools they take into hospitals to show what their products can do in an engaging way.  

Making things beautiful 

And you can probably tell, whilst apps are our focus, we also have to make these apps look beautiful and create lots of seamless user experiences.  

It means we also pick up web design work, user experience jobs, print and marketing materials, branding and other graphic design work too. Our team really are a multi-talented bunch! 

I think what I’m trying to say is, until we speak to businesses, we really don’t know the opportunities. It could be the most effective thing for them is to improve their website user experience. It might be creating an app to help them sell or create brand loyalty. And as I hope I’ve cleared up, it’s not just cool s**t. 

There’s so much potential out there. But first, as is often the case, it all starts with a chat. Come and say hello! 

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