Even though there has been a tremendous amount of hype around Augmented and Virtual Reality a real useable application for the masses has yet to emerge (excluding games). This month however Visa brought us a glimmer of hope that AR could be used for purchases when it showcased its Proof of Concept with House Of Holland . The concept of using mobiles to purchase items is not new and has been used via QR codes for years. Back in 2011 Tesco Homeplus in South Korea launched a Virtual Shop where commuters could order groceries via a QR Code in the subway and the same year eBay opened a pop up shop in London (following similar schemes run by Amazon, House of Fraser and even Marks & Spencer) to encourage shoppers to view physical items and then order them via their handsets to prevent the need for tills or for the items to be carried home.
The Visa POC however has taken this concept one step further and for this demo partnered with Blippar to allow attendees of a fashion show to use advanced image recognition to identify garments they liked via their mobile camera when seen on the runway and then purchase via the app. The Blippar app can now “recognise” and provide more information on more than half a billion everyday objects ranging from a type of flower to an airport. This type of identification and payment technology could offer numerous possibilities and not just in the consumer shopping space but across the whole supply chain. How long could it be before we stop filling in forms and can just identify an item we want to buy or insure?