What would happen if instead of asking a store clerk for directions to a particular item, a hologram could point you where you needed to go? What about having a hologram direct you to your seats in a crowded stadium? These situations are precisely what a new AI hologram could do for businesses and customers around the world.
The creation comes as a partnership with VNTANA and Satisfi Labs. VNTANA perfected the hardware hologram component, while Satisfiwas responsible for the software/AI element.
"We are super excited to partner with VNTANA and launch what promises to be an unprecedented opportunity for the development of both AI and Holograms," said Don White, CEO and Co-Founder Satisfi Labs. "Consumers will be transfixed by the technology and will truly appreciate the ease and intelligent interaction they can have with the hologram."
Ashley Crowder serves as CEO and co-founder of VNTANA. In an interview with Interesting Engineering, she said she tried the "traditional engineering route" but found herself bored. So, she decided to try her hand at being a DJ. She kept hearing from friends who wanted to play multiple venues that it would be cool to be in two places at once.
So, she and her co-founder decided to make that possible (or at least make it seem like it was possible). Thus, VNTANA was born.
"The DJ idea died out, but by the time it did, corporate sponsors were looking to our technology," Crowder said.
Now, VNTANA has been around for five years and it looks to engage consumers while gathering data. Its augmented reality means no one is confined to a headset or tethered to their phones. The projected image responds in real time to the person in front of it.
"We built the cloud platform and we can easily integrate the AI technology perfect for the consumer," Crowder noted. "We've collaborated with IBM Watson and Satisfi to get those answers."
Here's how the technology would work. Using VNTANA's technology and Satisfi's AI software, companies would determine what kinds of questions or situations they'd anticipate with customers. The hologram would 'learn' how to react with the proper emotion and give the appropriate response.
"Imagine being in a Macy's and you're shopping and you need a red sweater in a small. You can ask the hologram if it's available, and it could say 'no, I'm sorry, but I'll be happy to order it on our e-commerce site,'" Crowder explained. "For retail especially, it connects the online and offline experience."
This project gave the VNTANA and Satisfi teams particular hurdles. Prior holograms developed by VNTANA normally dealt with one-on-one interactions between human and hologram. But in a crowded mall, how does an AI hologram know who to respond to first? The key to solving those issues focused on user experience, Crowder said.
"One of the big things we always focused on is the user experience," she said. "If a group of people walked up to the concierge, we added in a greeting to trigger that [welcome] response... It was testing with a lot of different people to determine the best user experience."
That user experience could be a reality for a shopping mall near you very soon, as the hologram concierge launches today.
To hear more from Ashley Crowder about where she sees VNTANA and the future of AR/holograms, check out the video below.
All materials courtesy of VNTANA