Auki Labs launches Convergent spatial computing platform to improve retail operations and shopper communications.
Hong Kong, Las Vegas, Paris Aug 28, 2023
Auki Labs is announcing the public beta of its spatial computing platform Convergent for retail to make operations more efficient and to enable next generation in-store shopper marketing experiences. On the heels of private pilot programs in Asia, the Convergent beta program is now open to retailers in North America and Europe.
Initial pilots demonstrated how knowledge transfer and operations were improved by allowing for the placement of digital information in the retail environment through the help of augmented reality, helping staff communicate about tasks, incidents and reminders in their correct physical context.
“The rate of staff turnover in retail is very high, and staff turnover problems are really knowledge transfer problems,” said Nils Pihl, founder and CEO of Auki Labs. “With augmented reality we can help even first day staff operate independently, efficiently and confidently. We think this will lead to truly dramatic reductions in training costs, while also boosting the productivity of the existing workforce. Grocery and retail are under significant and increasing pressure, and our Convergent platform is easy to implement rapidly at scale across hundreds or thousands of stores, so you can see real results very quickly. We have several beta participants lined up in Europe and North America and look forward to shaping the future of retail with these early adopters and partners.”
Actual in-app footage.
“Knowing what to do is only half the challenge. Our staff also need to know where it needs to be done,” said Ed Chau, Group Director of Strategic Developments at SW Group – owner of Fresh Plus. “AR lets our employees find their tasks and pick items using their mobile devices, speeding up several tasks and reducing communication errors. Innovation is part of our DNA, so adopting this technology was natural for us.”
“Augmented reality has been looking for its moment to shift from toy to tool in both retail operations and shopper experience, and Apple’s announcement that spatial computing is the next wave after mobile computing is a tailwind that will help make it happen.”
— Jeff Roster, Host, This Week in Innovation, Strategic Advisor Retail, Third Eye Advisory
Shopper marketing is also transformed using Auki Labs’ Convergent platform. Shoppers can now easily opt-in to in-store marketing that allows them to easily find what they’re looking for, read reviews, engage with interactive marketing content, and activate promotions in augmented reality. Many retailers have apps to go with their brick and mortar experiences, however very few of these enable engaging in-store use cases, and the marketing opportunity is significant.
“Being able to communicate with shoppers at the moment of truth, while they’re in our store, without having to print is one of the most exciting capabilities that AR enables,” said Chau of SW Group. “Messages can be propagated faster in more engaging ways, and it gives us a chance to get the shoppers’ attention back from their otherwise distracting phones.”
“With the convergence of retail media and spatial computing, retailers can engage with customers in the physical space with relevant, personalized and immersive content that can transform the customer experience and engagement.”
— Shish Shridhar, Global Retail Startups Lead, Microsoft | RETHINK Retail Top 100 Retail Influencer 2022
Earlier this year Apple demonstrated their position and direction as a spatial computing company with the introduction of the Vision Pro, their entry in the headset market, and their first spatial OS. While every day wearables may still be a few years away, augmented reality is already an industry worth tens of billions of dollars.
“We went from personal computers to mobile, which was revolutionary for retail in many ways, but the next big shift is right around the corner,” explains Nils Pihl. “Spatial computing is not the transition from phones to wearables, but a profound change in how we interact with information and each other. The next era is not a computer in your pocket, but experiencing the internet in physical space. Your handheld is more than a phone now, it’s a looking glass.“
To find out more information and to apply for the Convergent Beta program, please fill out and submit the form on this page.