Mastercard Touts AR Tech That Puts Virtual Digital Signs In Stores

October 23, 2017 by Dave Haynes

This is a concept video from Mastercard and partners making the suggesting that department store shoppers can walk around and make shopping purchases with the help of digital signs that are only virtually there – via augmented reality.

The concept is being demo’d at a payments trade show this week in Las Vegas by the credit card company.

Says a press release:

Mastercard unveiled an augmented reality shopping experience today that for the first time incorporates Masterpass and Identity Check Mobile with iris authentication for safe and seamless payments.  Developed with Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., a subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated, and ODG (Osterhout Design Group), it delivers photorealistic augmented reality and provides consumers the ultimate customized, security-focused shopping experience.

Augmented reality has the potential to reshape the retail environment, making it more immersive and efficient. This new AR experience from Mastercard will not only let shoppers view digital representations of products before they commit to a purchase, but also learn more about what they are buying, see additional options not available in the physical location and get instant recommendations or other information relevant to their unique experience. When done shopping, users can pay for items using Masterpass, which will first authenticate the user’s iris using Qualcomm Technologies’ iris authentication. The shopper then selects a card from their Masterpass-enabled wallet and completes the purchase by selecting the Masterpass button on the screen. Items can be taken home from the store or shipped, depending on availability.

“At Mastercard, we are seeing major shifts in how commerce is conducted, as people lead increasingly connected, digital lifestyles,” said Sherri Haymond, executive vice president, Digital Partnerships, Mastercard. “As the physical and digital worlds blend together, we are focused on developing solutions that provide merchants with the ability to accept payments across all technology platforms possible—in-store, in-app, online, and in AR and VR—to help drive how people will experience shopping and payments in the future.”

Mastercard, ODG and Qualcomm Technologies developed this prototype technology as a proof of concept that may help retailers find new ways of enhancing the in-store shopping experience and generating incremental sales by sharing relevant content and information to the shopper while they are shopping.  

I dunno. Maybe I’m just old. But those AR glasses need to be far, far less cumbersome before I’d imagine many wealthy women wandering a Saks 5th Avenue with them on. Right now they look like the sunglasses really old ladies fit over their already big prescription glasses. I don’t see this sort of thing catching on unless the tech is friction-free and not even vaguely embarrassing.  Plus I thought high-end places like Saks and Nieman-Marcus were all about 1 to 1 customer service, not tech?

I think I might be more interested in this sort of thing in a big home furnishings place so that I could shop without a sales person hounding me or stalking me like a commission-starved wolf.

Time will tell … Google Glass was going to change everything, and look how that went.

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