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Augmented Reality and the Future of Business

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One of my favorite, recently discovered apps is SkyView Lite. It’s an app that helps you identify all the stars and constellations in the night sky. I’m no expert in identifying the stars, so when I read an article that told me which constellation to look at to view a particular meteor shower, I had no idea where to start. Enter SkyView Lite.

After you download the app, you simply look up at the sky through your smart phone, and the app overlays the names of constellations and planets to show you what you’re looking at. It’s the perfect example of how augmented reality displays digital information over what we’re seeing in the real world before us. Sure, I could also check out an astronomy book and see what the Big Dipper looks like, but this augmented reality apps bring that knowledge to us in a much more convenient format.

So, how can all this great technology help our businesses? Augmented reality can make things more realistic to us, bring information to us faster, and bring us together from remote locations. Whether it’s creating interactive employee experiences and meetings, interactive training and education resources, showcasing products in a more realistic way, or even designing office spaces virtually, AR is developing quickly to be accessible for your business needs. Soon, you may be able to repair an office machine on your own with augmented reality instructions versus calling the repairman. Or you may be able to travel to a different city and walk down the street with an app that shows you digital information over what you’re viewing versus reading about it in a bulky guide book.
#PSPinc #Blog #Advertising #OnlineMarketing #SmallBusiness #DigitalMarketing #Marketing #Apps #Applications #AR #VR #VirtualReality #AugmentedReality

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Case Study: Try it Before you Buy it

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Have you ever shopped for a critical piece of furniture such as a table or couch, and in the store you think it looks fabulous, but once you get it home, it’s not the right fit, or the color doesn’t go with your paint or other décor?

Furniture shopping can be tricky. But what if you could virtually bring that piece of furniture into your home and assess how it looks before you buy it? Well, there’s an app for that, brilliantly designed by the mega home store, Ikea.

Ikea’s app utilizes augmented reality technology, allowing you to shop by virtually placing the piece of furniture from its website within the image of your room that’s displayed on your device. You can change the color, the layout, and other elements to work through the decision process. You can design your dream room right on your device!

All of this technology has a common goal: to create a more savvy and convenient customer shopping experience for people buying a product or service. Better experiences come with easier interactions, better communication, virtual demonstrations and trials, and more. This empowers the customer to make wiser, more confident purchasing decisions.
#PSPinc #Blog #Advertising #OnlineMarketing #SmallBusiness #DigitalMarketing #Marketing #Apps #Applications #AR #VR #VirtualReality #AugmentedReality

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Case Study: The Hybrid Store Experience

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Last year, Nordstrom opened a store with no inventory – yes, NO INVENTORY.

How could that be?

Its first boutique-style store, called Nordstrom Local, opened in Los Angeles last October. The store is only 3,000 square feet. It’s a new test for the giant department store. Although there is no inventory, it has large dressing rooms so you can try on the items you purchased online and sent to the store for curbside pickup. While you’re there, you can also make a return or have your garment tailored if needed; you can sit and enjoy a beverage, work with a personal stylist, even get your nails done.

This “hybrid store” concept is being tried by several of the giants. Amazon purchased Whole Foods, Fedex purchased Kinkos … we want the familiarity of the big box store and the convenience of online shopping, so companies are developing a hybrid of both experiences for us.

Although it’s hard to say if brick and mortar stores will ever go away completely, the trend is definitely steering away from mega-sized retail buildings with the help of online purchasing.
#PSPinc #Blog #Advertising #OnlineMarketing #SmallBusiness #DigitalMarketing #Marketing #OnlineShopping #Retail #AR #AugmentedReality

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Case Study: Innovation Starts with Failure

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Not all technology and innovation is going to work for all business models, but without trying them first, or at least researching them, we can never know the possibilities. So let’s see how some of the larger companies are trying out augmented reality (AR) to make their products more accessible and popular. We’ll start with our first case study, featuring Neiman Marcus.

The high-end store has vowed to stay current with new technology, and even has its own department called the innovation lab, or iLab for short, since 2012. Scott Emmons, head of iLab, was quoted on, saying,

“While failures don’t produce an immediate return on investment, they do provide a valuable learning experience. Not everything works,” he said. "Most of the time, it won’t.”

“Your companies are geared toward success, and you have to think about these experiments not as failures, but as learnings that can be applied to future projects.”

So far, however, Neiman Marcus has developed some cool AR technology to help its customers get a convenient and thorough shopping experience:

Snap. Find. Shop:

When you download the Neiman Marcus app, you can take a picture of an item you like, such as shoes or a handbag, and the app will find something very similar to that item available for purchase. Whether you buy it or not, the app is kind of fun to explore.

Memory Mirror:

Neiman Marcus created a digital mirror so you can see different colors and styles on you. You can view outfits side by side to compare; you can save your “try on” experience to view at home later on, or you can share your images with someone else for a second opinion. Check out the YouTube video for a visual explanation of how it works:
#PSPinc #Blog #Advertising #OnlineMarketing #SmallBusiness #DigitalMarketing #Marketing #Apps #Applications #AR #VR #VirtualReality #AugmentedReality

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The Future of Business in an Altered Reality World

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Your reality -- what you see, what you hear, and possibly what you smell and touch, may be impacted by some sort of altered reality. Even major companies are starting to implement different “virtual reality” (VR) or “augmented reality” (AR) techniques into their customer experiences, and we are going to touch on a few of those this month. The hope is you’ll read our case studies and see from a business stand point, where your company could go and grow as technology develops.

First things first: What is the difference between VR and AR? Because they are not the same.

VR is within a closed screen that simulates a new environment, and it brings new experiences outside of the viewer’s reality within view. Virtual Reality happens with some sort of viewer you wear; a headset.

AR happens in the real world in front of you. It combines the real world with digital information; it enhances your reality. It’s often referred to as a layer of information over what you’re seeing in front of you. For example, an app that takes a picture of your living room, and let’s you digitally place a couch in the room so you can see how it looks and fits before purchasing the real thing. Or an app that allows you to “try on” a new lipstick color by digitally placing it over a picture of your lips.

You see, VR and AR aren't just for gamers. Yes, games with headsets are played within virtual worlds, and Pokémon Go is an AR game where the Pokémon world gets layered over your real world through an app. But altered realities can work in our real lives too, and in our business environments. We’ll discuss this topic more thoroughly through case studies all month long.
#PSPinc #Blog #Advertising #OnlineMarketing #SmallBusiness #DigitalMarketing #Marketing #Apps #Applications #AugmentedReality #AR #VirtualReality #VR

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Let’s Talk Tech: The Consumer Electronics Show

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The annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) was held earlier this month in Las Vegas. It’s one of the largest, most innovative technology trade shows in the world. Last year’s show welcomed 4,000 exhibiting companies, 184,000 attendees, and 1,200 speakers.

CES a conference where global technology takes center stage, highlighting innovation in all areas of life, from sports to automotive, health and wellness, artificial intelligence, media and entertainment, manufacturing, and more. Just about every part of our daily lives are influenced by technology, and CES is the place where the latest products and offerings are debuted.

As mentioned, thousands of influential speakers and exhibitors were in attendance again this year. Companies like Comcast, YouTube, Intel, Ford Motor Company, Hulu, Time Warner Co., Amazon, Carnival Cruise Line, Spotify, Sleep Number, Samsung, Google, and many, many more were represented. The list is far too great (and impressive) to keep going here. This year, some 900 startups were represented as well. Should be exciting to see what launches this year!

CES started 50 years ago in New York City, and today people come in from all over the world to see what technology is in development or launching soon. Although you may have seen some highlights from CES in the news, this month on the blog I’d like to go more in depth on some of the new technology, and what it will mean for us and our businesses. Stay tuned for some exciting stuff!
#PSPinc #Blog #Advertising #OnlineMarketing #SmallBusiness #DigitalMarketing #Marketing #Tech #CES #Innovation #Technology #CES2018

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All about Webinars for your Business

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Today let’s discuss webinars.

It’s not exactly like video streaming, but since a webinar falls within a very similar category by virtually connecting your service and products to the customer, we think it’s worthy to talk about.

A webinar is a seminar conducted online. Since it’s a seminar hosted virtually on the web (versus in a conference room), they’ve essentially mashed up the two words to create “webinar.”

Before internet, to hold a seminar, you needed a location, like an auditorium or a hotel conference room, to bring people in. Then, you would give your presentation on a screen using a slideshow presentation. You would ask participants to register and sign up in advance so you knew how many people to expect, and you most likely prepared handouts so people could take notes. That was then. Webinars are now.

Webinars are held virtually so you don’t need a hotel space. You’ll probably still have a slideshow to prepare, but no need to have physical materials ready since it’s all happening online. Webinars can help you reach customers from other states and other countries. It’s a great tool for customer training on your products or services. It’s also a great employee training tool for companies that have sister branches spread out across regions or states. Webinars are effective tools for communicating with a lot of people at once, in various locations.

So how do you set up a webinar?

You can sign up online with a webinar service provider. The cost is usually around $50, depending on the amount of your attendees. There are free ones too, but I have seen them fail miserably, so if you want a guarantee for success, pay the fee. The last thing you want is to sign up for a free webinar service only to have it fail you and give your customers a bad experience or leave them with a bad impression of your company.
#PSPinc #Blog #Advertising #OnlineMarketing #SmallBusiness #DigitalMarketing #Marketing #Webinar #VirtualConference #Seminar

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How to Live Stream Videos on Social Media

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Within your social media apps, you can stream live videos easily via your devices. This means your followers can watch in real time as you’re recording something. You don’t have to have special streaming servers, or any special cameras and equipment. You simply need to be connected to your Facebook, Instagram or YouTube apps.

In your Facebook app, all you have to do is click on the live video button in your status. This will let you select the group of followers who can see your video, along with options to accept donations, and add information such as a description or location. At the end of your live broadcast, you have the option to store the video, make it available for viewing, or delete it.

YouTube works a bit differently. You first need to have your YouTube channel set. If you have not done so, please refer to my previous article on January 11, “How to setup a YouTube Channel for your Business.”

Once you have your channel set up, in your channel’s management menu, you will see the “Live Streaming” option. YouTube also allows you to choose your audience, the distribution, and the methods of delivery.

Both media platforms can be used to benefit and advertise your business. See some of the following examples for ideas of things you might broadcast to your followers:

- Live stream a simple recipe if you’re a chef, a kitchen supply company, a food company.
- A food prep demonstration from your restaurant's kitchen of the daily special to boost interest and reservations.
- Travel agent discussing hot spots to visit and what deals people can get right now on accommodations and flights.
- A small fashion show to live stream the latest clothing line from a store.
- Live stream your computer support team in action so customers can see who they’re talking to when they call in.
- Live stream product demonstrations to show how something works or how something gets assembled.
- Live stream details for a one-day-only sale at your store, and feature what items are discounted.

Live video streaming brings you closer than ever to your customers. It gives you the chance to be creative and reach out to those customers via the internet in a unique way.
#PSPinc #Blog #Advertising #OnlineMarketing #SmallBusiness #DigitalMarketing #Marketing #YouTube #VideoStreaming #LiveStreaming

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The Power of Video Customer Testimonials

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Customer testimonials can be a powerful video marketing tool, if done with an effective strategy for success. Here are some important points for you to think about before launching the production of your video customer testimonial:

What is your end goal with the video?
What is the overall messaging you want the video to put out to the public?

Who should represent your client base?
Sometimes the unspoken statement goes beyond your marketing strategy. Be aware of who you use for your testimonial videos. Do they represent your customer demographic (i.e. male vs. female, age, ethnicity, how nice or casual they dress, etc.)? Appearances can have a big influence on your viewers.

Where should you have your video available?
Where would you like people to find your video? Your homepage, social media, or any other places online?

What messages / key elements would you like your customer to cover?
Be sure to list the key points and keywords, and ask your customers to use those terms. Once they are on camera, you have to rely on what they are going to say. A little training session ahead of the video shoot doesn’t hurt.

How will you measure?
Going back to #1, depending on your goal, how would you measure your video testimonial success? Being able to count the number of times it’s played or shared is one way to measure its success.
#PSPinc #Blog #Advertising #OnlineMarketing #SmallBusiness #DigitalMarketing #Marketing #YouTube #VideoStreaming #CustomerTestimonials

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Using Software to Edit your Online Videos

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If you’re looking to produce a professional commercial for TV, or a video that’s more than 10 minutes in length, involves acting, or something to impress corporate investors, you’ll want to leave video production to the professionals. If you try to do it yourself, you’ll likely be disappointed in the quality.

But if you are trying to get out a simple message to your followers and customers, you can try using your tablet or phone to create a more casual video. You can the edit video without going through any extensive training thanks to some free software. You can add captions, music, cut and combine clips, and create your own short films using the software.

If you are a Mac user, look into iMovie, but Windows users will need to download a separate program. You can search “free video editing software for Windows” online and see what is available.

In the software, you’ll start a new project and upload your video, then plunk away with the editing tools, adding music and such. You need to refrain from using any copyrighted materials such as songs or other video clips, unless they are free to distribute. Your video shouldn't include anyone who hasn’t given permission to be in it. It’s important to keep it professional and respect the copyrights.

You can search online for free images and music files to use in your video. You may come across “royalty free” graphics which means you don’t have to pay to use those files, but you still need to give credit to the copyright source, and in some cases still ask for permission to use it.
#PSPinc #Blog #Advertising #OnlineMarketing #SmallBusiness #DigitalMarketing #Marketing #YouTube #VideoStreaming

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