NexTech wants to “AR-itize” ecommerce, integrates IBM Watson

Augmented reality (AR) is a growing trend in ecommerce and one Toronto company wants to lead the way and “AR-itize” the industry, recently announcing it’s integrating IBM Watson’s machine learning algorithms with its AR platform.

NexTech AR Solutions Corp. currently has a patent pending web-enabled AR platform that it says allows any ecommerce site to embed its code and “go live” with AR, according to a press release.

At the end of December, NexTech announced that it was working to integrate Watson with its AR platform to “[build] out a next generation, industry first, artificial intelligence (AI) based AR ecommerce solution,” stated the release.

By adding AI, the company said that its platform will now be able to offer body scanning, including, hands, feet and facial features that will then help to better understand each shopper’s unique style, sizes, and preferences. It can also create AR holograms that act “as personal shopping assistants.”

“With AI and AR working together, the home shopping experience becomes complete, it becomes intelligent, it’s no longer just a 3D product view,” said Evan Gappelberg, CEO of NexTech in the release. “This feels like a truly revolutionary and magical moment for NexTech as it ushers in a new era of online shopping experiences.”

He also noted that by creating a hologram try-on experience, the platform has the potential to reduce returns “by as much as 80 per cent and [increase] sales by as much as three times.”

In September of last year NexTech also announced that it has successfully integrated with Shopify, Magento and WordPress, giving users on each of the ecommerce sites the ability to create AR shopping experiences.

Also in September of last year Shopify launched its own AR feature with the iOS 12 update, which allows iPhone users to view AR experiences on their phones.

AR is becoming ever more popular in the world of ecommerce. According to findings from Statista the augmented and virtual reality market is expected to reach $209.2 billion USD in 2022, (in 2018 it was worth $27 billion).

Brands including Instant Pot, Spikeball and Pure Cycles are all currently using Shopify’s AR capabilities according to its website. And according to the NexTech release, companies like Alibaba, Starbucks, IKEA and home decor website Houzz have been driving AR ecommerce, with Houzz reporting 11 times higher sales conversion rates using mobile AR.

NexTech, which is owned by Vancouver-based Future Farm Technologies, stated that its platform is still in beta but is expected to be available for its commercial launch sometime in January, with the IBM Watson AI features rolling out in February.

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Meagan Simpson
Meagan Simpson
Meagan Simpson is a staff writer for IT World Canada. A graduate of Carleton University’s journalism program, she loves sports, travelling, reading and photography, and when not covering tech news she can be found cuddled up on the couch with her cat and a good book.

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