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Episode 16 – Panel on Augmented Reality in Retail

March 22, 2019

This live recording was made during the March instalment of AWENiteTO – a monthly event presented at main campus in downtown Toronto.

The panel was moderated by Electric Runway‘s Amanda Cosco and featured – Charles Bern (CEO Patio Interactive), Fareena Contractor (Head of Walmart’s Innovation Community) & Matt McPherson (COO, Quantum Capture)

Podcast Transcript

Qasim Virjee 0:17
Welcome back to this the 16th episode of the start well podcast, I’m start was founder and CEO Qasim Virjee. And once again, I’ll be bringing some interesting voices to the mic. The recording which you’re about to listen to was captured last night live as part of our new realities programming channel, through 2019, you’ll be able to come to start well as well as tune in to our various media channels online to hear voices from augmented reality, virtual reality, and whatever else the kids are calling it. Anything that essentially is questioning using technology to question kind of our understanding of subjective and objective realities. In partnership with organizations like augmented world expo and the AWB night to chapter, which this event was held in partnership with last night, and the Canadian film Center’s Media Lab, the series that we’re calling new realities that start well, will bring together all sorts of people from C suite executives at corporations that are developing technologies and placing them in consumers hands to technologists, hackers, futurists, innovators that are creating innovations that startups are using to investors in this space who have a lens on what the commercial viability of this sector is to all sorts of other people. Last night’s interactive panel on the topic of augmented reality in retail was moderated by Amanda Cosco, the founder of electric runway and features Charles burn the CEO of patio interactive, Farina contractor, the head of Walmart’s innovation community and Matt McPherson who is the CEO of quantum capture. As always, we invite you to come back to start well, Ko to find out more information about our community how you can join us as a member on campus on King Street West in Toronto, or virtually. So head over to start with CO slash programming to find out what events are happening. And you can also go to start well.co/communitytoreviewmediathatwascapturedatourvariouseventsandanevenliveinstudiowhen We’ve done recordings in person with people. Alright, I’ll leave you to the conversation and welcome any feedback you could drop me an email as always, to Qasim that’s QA si M at start well.com Hi, everybody,

Amanda Cosco 2:44
and welcome. My name is Amanda Kasco. From electric runway, I am a journalist and entrepreneur focused on the intersection of fashion and technology. And I created a little bingo game for our panel tonight. So on your seats, or if you were lucky enough to receive a bingo card from me when you walked in. Those are kind of the AR and retail buzzwords. And so if you hear us say one of those buzzwords use something to mark the word. And the first person to get a line is going to get a prize. And then the next person to get I think a box around the outside will get a prize. So for prizes tonight, I have two wearable tech items. So this is just to keep everything, you know, spicy and interesting.

Fareena Contractor 3:32
Why is Walmart a buzzword?

Amanda Cosco 3:35
Because you’re gonna say it because we know you’re gonna say it done. So before I get my panelists here to introduce themselves, I’ll just say, you know, we’ve seen augmented reality being used in fun and games and in filters for popular apps like Snapchat and Instagram. But what is its role in retail? That’s what we’re here to talk about today. So if we could start with Charlie, I’ll just get you to introduce yourself and explain your kind of professional role in augmented reality and retail.

Charles Bern 4:08
So my name is Charlie Byrne, founder of patio interactive. We’ve been doing augmented virtual reality for about four years now. We before this, I was in digital and E commerce and in retail strategy. So it blends nicely into what we’re doing now. And now we’re working with companies, business solution focused work for helping to figure out how XR AR VR actually fits and makes sense with their business. And you’ve

Amanda Cosco 4:35
done work with cannabis companies and Boston Pizza. Lots of different types of retail activations here in Toronto. Right. Awesome. And Farina?

Fareena Contractor 4:44
Hi, everyone. I’m prina contractor. I lead tech implementation for a Walmart in Canada and I head up the Walmart innovation community.

Matt McPherson 4:56
Hey, everyone, I’m Matt McPherson. I’m the CEO at Quantum capture. We make virtual humans main product we have is called control human. And what it does is it basically embodies the conversational AI AI systems that we’re starting to get used to so think of Alexa or Siri conversation, but with a real time fully animated, body and head attached to that, so that you can actually have some sort of presence. So in the retail world, as we’ll get into it, we sort of see this, as you know, in support, virtual sales associates, virtual Walmart greeter, that type of application. And we’re just piloting right now actually, in Denmark, close to Holland, kind of right. at a, at a automotive dealership, through a partner over there as well. Because you know, who likes talking to car salesman? Nobody. But if the car salesman doesn’t have a commission attached to it, maybe they’re gonna people will be a little bit more comfortable.

Amanda Cosco 5:58
It sounds scary. And it is right. It’s the brave new world. Okay, so this is for this is an open question. Let’s talk about AR and retail. Does it make sense? Where does it make sense? Where does it not make sense? Because we’ve seen a lot of gimmicks over the years. So I’d love to hear your opinion on that.

Fareena Contractor 6:18
Yeah. So when we are looking at different innovations within Walmart, we tend to be more problem focused. So there’s, especially in the tech community, we sort of over engineer, and we try and just build out these exhaustive solutions where it doesn’t really need to be that way in like tech

Amanda Cosco 6:42
for tech six, exactly. Yeah, we’ve seen that. Right. Everyone’s seen that.

Fareena Contractor 6:46
And so the way that we look at evaluating different solutions, we say, Okay, what’s the problem? What’s the impact of the problem? What’s the multiple alternatives? And why is this one the best solution to solve that problem. And so when you’re looking at AR, specifically, some of the use cases that we’ve seen that are, that’s adding value to customers would be, let’s say, Wayfinding is one of the obvious ones that comes up. But there are alternatives that are much cheaper, you can just walk up to an associate and say, Hey, where’s this product, or if you’re shopping there, especially with Walmart, with your weekly shop, you kind of already have this in the back of your mind, or the way that you design the store where, if you’ve been to one of our renovated stores, no matter where you are in the store, you can see different sections and see signage. So in that case, you really need a car for Wayfinding. One use case that I haven’t really seen, but I would love to see. So if you’re looking for problems, come talk to me, we have tons of problems at Walmart. I hope no one’s recording this. But oh, well. Tomorrow will be an interesting day. But like I was saying one of the use cases we’d love to see is let’s say there’s this big health trend, everyone’s looking at calories looking at products and say, okay, like, is it gluten free? Is it vegan? Is it organic. So as a consumer, if everything kind of on the shelves was lit up based on some filters that I added, that’s legitimate value that will get me to pull out my phone and take like three extra steps. In retail, you’re focused on either like a seamless customer experience. So you need to make sure that if you are getting the customer to do like, three, four extra steps, that the value that you’re providing is just as high. So that’s just one on the customer experience side. But there’s tons on the back and side with like picking and logistics, for example. But I can go on talking.

Amanda Cosco 8:53
Yeah. And we’ll get into the back end of the retail experience as well in a little bit. But I’d love to hear from from Charlie.

Charles Bern 9:01
Yeah, there’s a lot of AR for AR sake. People do it over engineer says you know, zactly you know, painkillers, not not vitamins. Thank you ru G our interaction designer, she taught me that one. So the issue is, yeah, I stole from her and she stopped me.

Amanda Cosco 9:20
So the air experience you’re creating should be a painkiller, not a vitamin. Yeah.

Charles Bern 9:25
I know. The questions you asked her like, well, when is retail, like retail is tied with marketing and marketing is fluff. Except for when it comes to AR sorry. It’s just like, you know, you have different mandates, right? But but at the end of the day, if it’s going to be lasting, it’s going to have more than just something cool that you play with once and then you delete from your phone, or you don’t even download in the first place. Right?

Amanda Cosco 9:49
Yeah, we’ve had that experience. I had that experience with the Zara AR app. It was just not interesting. So just so we can get a sense from the audience. How many people here are from retail? Show of hands. Okay, anybody here from? I’m assuming there’s a lot of AR people here. Any developers or marketers, people who working in AR very cool. Figure out where the rest of y’all are from? Well, we know that there’s a big group from Holland as well. So welcome, welcome. Matt, did you want to add to that?

Matt McPherson 10:20
No, I mean, I would just echo that marketing dollars are always fickle, right? Like, they’re, it’s kind of the net. I mean, there’s always value when there’s something kind of new and shiny. And, you know, all clients, anyone who’s sort of doing marketing kind of likes that shiny new thing. But yeah, you know, you might sort of download it, use it once put it away. It’s those lasting use cases, you know, those things that are really adding value, not just to the customer journey, but maybe to the kind of usefulness, you think of the IKEA app, I’m sure a few people have done interviews that the IKEA place may Fair has a similar app where you can actually visualize these things in the home that are going to enhance that retail experience. Sherman Williams, paint selector app as well. These are things that aren’t really just about marketing, these are things that are probably driving sales for those and solving

Amanda Cosco 11:12
a big pain point. Savi. So do you think that with the invention of Facebook, Spark AR and AR kit, it’s removing that friction? Are we going to start to see more augmented reality experiences, because the tools that are now embedded into Snapchat embedded into the Facebook camera?

Matt McPherson 11:28
Yeah, I think, you know, I sort of look at those enabling tools. And in two categories, there’s the Creator tools, and then the ones that are sort of enabling technologies for the creators and the developers. And then also the the deployment enablers as well, that push it out to a wider a wider audience. Just think about the development of you know, air cat air core, completely revolutionized the developer community into not sort of creating their own standalone apps being able to create, you know, apps that they could push out, push out their products a little bit more universally. I did want to put in one thing I think is going to be the biggest enabler. And and Isaac had it up there on on the screen is what was called mirror world from the Kevin Kelly Wired article, which is really just talking about the AR cloud. And when the AR cloud comes, and we do have everything completely mirrored, like this place can have a universal device agnostic. You know, every every object, every place that’s at least fixed has a is a is based on a digital twin of the real world, then we’re going to have I think that that for me will be a bigger abling enabling technology than, you know, air air courier kit.

Amanda Cosco 12:43
How do we get there though, when like, we’re still struggling with 5g Internet, for example, like how do we get to this cloud? Where AR can live? Which we’re talking?

Matt McPherson 12:53
I mean, I think right now it’s the mad the mad rush, right. Like, I think Google would like to create it. I think Samsung would like to create it. I know, music 1668 60 is working on it as well. Ari, I should mention Tom buzzword bingo, Tom, one of one of his partners, the founder of super ventures, are sponsoring everything tonight is heading up the open AR I think it’s called Open AR cloud, as well, which would essentially we need that, you know, that connective tissue, I like to think of it like, you know, the the the web or the internet was kind of kicking around for a while nobody knew what to do with it until we had search engines and search engines kind of gave that that structure. I don’t know if necessarily a search engine is the best analogy to the air cloud, it might be more something along the lines of maybe the TCP IP is what we need that, that that sort of framework or platform that will enable across devices and across users to be able to have common resources are sort of like uniform, uniform resource identifier kind of framework.

Amanda Cosco 14:04
Very interesting. Did you want to add to that, Charlie?

Charles Bern 14:07
Just on that note, if you can bring AR into the web framework, I think, because people are already there. That’s where you can see, we’re just Miller Lite just did a, okay, web based AR. And I think if you can draw in with the user base from the web for AR that would be a big unifier already.

Amanda Cosco 14:32
Very cool. So a little ways away, but we’re getting there. Okay, so let’s talk about smart mirrors. I love smart mirrors. I think they’re the coolest thing. Why are they so hot right now and how can we expect to see them roll out in the future?

Fareena Contractor 14:51
I don’t think they’re the hottest thing. I like so story to be a bust killed. But this is one of those cases where? Yes, maybe in the store, it makes sense and certain stores, it would make sense to roll it out. But we chatted about this with was it Samsung, that’s building one for your home where you can have a Samsung, LG LG, one of the one of the tech companies is building smart mirrors that you can have in your home. Like, what’s the purpose of that? My mirror costs? 50 bucks, 100 bucks, 200 bucks, smart mirror is gonna cost a ton more. I have a phone that I can use and use all the time basically an extension of my body. Why would I need to go and get this like additional piece of equipment in my home where I can just have an application that will provide me a similar experience?

Amanda Cosco 15:51
What about for retail, then forget the home?

Fareena Contractor 15:55
It would depend on what type of retail with Walmart, I don’t think that it would make sense necessarily. We are seeing a lot of customers going online and we want to kind of push them in that direction. If they’re already going. We want to accelerate that. And with a lot of these AR I’m going to use one of the buzzwords um, hold on tribe. Does

Amanda Cosco 16:20
anyone have a line yet? Almost.

Fareena Contractor 16:25
I did. Oh, you’re welcome.

Amanda Cosco 16:28
All right. We have a hands. It’s also we have a hands free Bluetooth beanie. We’re gonna pass that. All right. Thank you.

Fareena Contractor 16:41
So welcome. I expect to kick back. All right.

Amanda Cosco 16:47
So you were saying?

Fareena Contractor 16:48
Yeah, so I was saying that if the trend is shop online, and you want to try before you buy, you’re probably going to do it in your home, you’re not going to the store. So I’m not fully sold on that. And the experiences are not amazing. Yes. There are some technologies. There’s a company in Toronto, I can’t remember the name, but they’ll take a whole body scan. And I think getting your like True Fit in an image of what you are. And then having some technology that matches that with the clothing is probably an easier way. Plus having it in your home in front of a mirror saying okay, based on my dimensions that you’ve picked up for me, how does that fit there versus having smart mirrors in the stores necessarily?

Amanda Cosco 17:38
Yeah, Matt, what do you think about that? Because you’re working on 3d body scanning? Right?

Matt McPherson 17:41
Yeah. I mean, just one, one note on the smart mirrors. I think why that works for some brick and mortar retailers. That’s one of the buzzwords, but

Amanda Cosco 17:52
would you get a full? Day? Okay, we’re going for a square now. Sorry. We already did the line I should have clarified, we’re now going for all around the outside. I know, I know. Sorry.

Matt McPherson 18:09
As part of that. I mean, anytime you can align, you know, with, with existing consumer behaviors, where people go and are looking in mirrors to see how their stuff looks on them anyway, you can see how you’re not really changing the way that people have to they don’t have to kind of go download an app, you know, get scanned fit themselves, that kind of thing. They go to stores anyway, and they look in mirrors all the time. So it kind of makes, you know, some intuitive sense, I think for some of these brick and mortar retailers, particularly where you’re buying things for the body. You know, I wear beauty jewelry, and clothing and apparel accessories. And I I haven’t To be honest, actually done one. I’ve seen lots of stories on them. I know that top shops got a lot of buzz. The there’s I think and sometimes I mean, if you think about it, it really is the it’s the same smart mirror your phone is a smart mirror, right? Yeah, your live video is a smart mirror. And so I think the main difference in the hardware there is that it’s it’s the form factor, right? Like your phone’s really small. So you don’t really get a sense but when you go into a smart mirror, which is essentially just you know, a big screen, you’re getting your life size, you’re getting yourself actually in real size, which which adds some value.

Amanda Cosco 19:25
Yeah. And I’m wondering how long is it until the filters that we’re seeing on Instagram and Snapchat are actually shoppable Instagram just announced this week that their feeds are going to be shoppable so how long until the effects want to buy

Matt McPherson 19:39
that rainbow bar? Yeah.

Amanda Cosco 19:43
Well sunglasses and things like that. Yeah, and there’s a try before you buy augmented reality experience downstairs if you want to check it out after cool did you want to add anything to that Charlie? You good for the smart meters Okay. Very what a bearish on smart meters. I I was all excited about them. Okay, let’s talk about AR moving from the smartphone to the world around us with Apple announcing the possibility or rumors that Apple is going to announce the possibility of an AR headset you know, right now as Tom always says, The smartphone is acting as a monocle for us to experience augmented reality. So we’re holding up our smartphone and looking through it to see AR experiences. But what about when that moves to heads up? displays and headsets and things like that? How is that going to change our experience? Do you think?

Charles Bern 20:33
So that’s already here. It’s just on the b2b side. So Google Glasses didn’t go away, they just moved to the back office, so you wouldn’t wear them to the bar and look like an asshole. So last hole, yeah, it but you know, HoloLens is focusing on b2b solutions. For that reason, it’s like, if you’re going to put something stupid looking on your head, it better have an amazing utility to it. So you know, Apple made the Bluetooth here, but cool. They’re gonna make glasses look like Isaac’s and it’ll be

Amanda Cosco 21:03
cool. smart glasses. Ah, ha

Charles Bern 21:06
ha ha. So I think that’s Apple is able to set trends and to change your views on things because you had the one guy with a single black, your Bluetooth, and he was he was a loser, then you have the two people with the two, I apologize here if you get the two. And suddenly, it’s just normal, right? And they just they’ve just integrated it into their ecosystem. So, you know, through the grapevine we’ve heard Apple is working on this, and Tim Cook is pretty into it. So he’ll, they’re going to try to make it cool. I hope it’s not a flop. At the at the end of the day, the biggest benefit to smart glasses of any capacity is definitely in the backend, because it actually helps it actually does solve problems. It helps in so many different use cases on the b2b side anyways,

Amanda Cosco 21:55
yeah, for example, like pickers and Amazon are already wearing the music’s heads up displays so that they can better way find through warehouses when they’re fulfilling orders. That’s a real pain point, right? be hands free. So that’s super interesting. I want to talk about the relationship between AR and AI. Because we tend to think or talk about these things as separate, but they’re really not. Matt, can you tell us about how AI plays into the avatars that you’re creating?

Matt McPherson 22:23
Sure, I mean, AI, I mean, AR I think is a little bit easier to define. Right? We I think we all kind of know what AR is, but AI people throw this around. In very, it’s a very loaded and very diffuse term. I mean, it really means when you’re talking about intelligence, you’re talking about, you know, dozens of different really subsets there’s, you know, speech synthesis, there’s cognition, there’s perception. And the same thing sort of then apply to synthesized or computer generated, or computer assisted versions of these things we have like, yeah, machine learning, speech, synthesis, text to speech, image processing all of these different little elements. So I think what’s becoming fairly colloquial, is how we see AI, how we how how everyday people interact with AI. So for instance, at Quantum capture when we talk about conversational AI, and that’s really kind of just three subsets of it, it’s the, when you speak to the avatar, one of the pieces there is okay, what I say has to be converted from my speech using some speech recognition into text, then that has to be you know, sent somewhere and then that has to be processed by a chatbot in the background, another element of AI so that a response is returned. And then that response, then again, has to be synthesized and sort of pushed through the avatar. So that’s one touch point in our specific sort of AR type application for for artificial intelligence, that doesn’t even touch on, you know, dozens and dozens of other major fields of AI. I don’t know where I’m going with this, just to say that, the that you know, a, I think there’s, there’s so much happening in AI right now. And I do want to put a little bit of a shout out to the Toronto AI scene with the vector Institute with some great startups that are that are popping up here and all sorts of sectors. I was actually speaking with, with a guy from Autodesk today and they’re doing lots of really interesting stuff in the AI field. And he was saying from the mothership, they kind of look at Toronto, as this little country bumpkin outpost. don’t really recognize that, like Toronto is the shit when it comes to AI like it really is. So a Toronto

Amanda Cosco 24:44
Yeah, absolutely. And I would argue there’s a ton of Yeah, I hand for Toronto. All right. And I would say for AR as well. There’s a lot happening here as well. When you were talking about the wayfinding to find things in the aisles that are gluten free for example there is a Toronto based company 3d food and drink that is working on something similar more for visualizing the calories and the ingredients and something that you’re about to eat. But I’m sure it could just as easily be used for something like that. Matt, well, you have the microphone, I want to ask because, you know, you’re making these avatars, you’re injecting them with AI, what are the ethical implications that you have to consider when doing that. And also, this applies to when we’re thinking about augmented reality face filters. You know, a lot of what we’re seeing in Snapchat, and Instagram is for augmenting our appearance. And usually it’s, you know, for women to look like puppies or the like, so what do we have to consider? And then when you’re taking it even further, and you’re creating a being, that looks like a human talk, like a human walks like a human, but is AI?

Matt McPherson 25:55
Sure, I mean, so many, so many I could talk about this, honestly, for hours, the the ethical conundrums that you know, we face on a daily basis. You know, one of one of the big ones is, is definitely just even, I mean, and this applies to a lot, a lot of different AI fields is the job loss that we’re going to experience in the next, you know, five to 10 years, I don’t think anybody really is processing how major that’s going to be. I mean, if you look at the transportation industry alone, which is the largest employer in the US, when you count, you know, logistics, taxi cabs, like all everything, everything to do with with, with transportation, and with autonomous vehicles, it’s going to wipe out like literally millions and millions of jobs. And we sort of look at it to that what we want to do with our with our avatars is really kind of enhance experiences rather than displace them. But job displacement is, is absolutely one of the ethical, I think, issues that we’re facing right now. Completely different direction. And one that I find a little bit more interesting is the fraud and the identity potential for identity theft. I don’t know if anybody saw the Facebook research, real time avatar Animation Videos that came out this week. They were They’re scary, scary, real. And basically, if somebody could ever hijack your avatar, in virtual reality, or in in even in any kind of augmented reality space, we’re talking about the ability to really impersonate you digitally, very, very accurately, at least your your appearance. And then there’s a company at a Montreal called Lyrebird, that does really, really accurate voice synthesis. It just takes inputs. I don’t know if you’ve seen the there’s there’s one video that they put out of Obama saying stuff that Obama would never say. And you know, you combine these two technologies, and you start to think about the state of impersonating and fraud and identity, you know, literally identity theft, you can

Amanda Cosco 27:58
no longer believe what you see, right? It’s fascinating to me that the main technologies of our time, right now, augmented and virtual reality are coming to fruition at a time where we’re talking about fake news, and this kind of not certainty, this uncertainty of what reality is. Yeah, it’s, it’s really interesting. And then, yeah.

Charles Bern 28:21
Yeah, I think we have to accept that it’s headed there, there will always be people and entities who want to create that, and there will be at some point, some powerful company or organization or whoever, who will create that. And I guess, we have to just sort of accept that at some point. We have to be very skeptical of everything. When I saw the the Obama thing I was it was mind blowing, right? Because I thought was witchcraft. And I knew it was fake. And it was, but I know that people are going to people are fooled by way less. So I guess, as a society, we’re just going to have to accept, it’s not about saying, Well, we have to make this illegal somebody. It there’s, there’s people who will benefit from that from fooling people by create using this technology in that way. And it won’t, we can’t just stop technology. So I guess it’s a matter of accepting and having people understand how that this is a thing and to change their lens on society about what is real and what is not.

Amanda Cosco 29:21
Yeah, it’s like any technology, it can be used for bad it can be used for good. My brother is a virtual reality filmmaker, and he uses avatars all the time and the films that he’s making. So you can see how it could be used as a tool for expression and creativity. But who owns your avatar right not to go to down the rabbit hole of the Avatar conversation who owns the right to your digital representation, I think is a question that will come out of all of this. So we’ve talked about a little bit augmented reality for the back end of the retail experience. I don’t over want to flesh out that conversation a little bit more before we take some questions from the audience.

Fareena Contractor 30:03
So we talked about picking, but we talked about it in a distribution center environment more to find the product, I think, if you have been in a distribution center, the way that pallets are built, so the products are put together, is through a sound system. So instead of doing that, in a lot of it, just the ones that are really good at building the pallet, so perfect cubes with heavy items at the bottom light ones on top, do it through experience over and over, and they just kind of get into a habit versus if someone’s new, they have to figure it out, the palettes are not built properly, products are damaged. So with AR Are you able to direct and visually tell Pete tell the associates where to put the product. So that’s one that I think needs to be developed. If it hasn’t, we haven’t found that yet. Then going back into a store environment, the product now needs to be put on the shelf. And we spend a lot of time effort money in figuring out which products need to be placed where how many, etc. But between strategy and execution, there’s always a gap. So if you can close that gap by providing some sort of AR where it shows the associate exactly where the products need to go, that’s another one that would save in like lost sales, etc. Those are disguising Yeah, exactly. That’s just a couple examples. Again, we have lots of problems. So hi can share more. Sure.

Amanda Cosco 31:39
Do you want to talk about that?

Charles Bern 31:41
Walmart is also training their, their staff for Black Friday in virtual reality, which I think is freaking brilliant. Because you?

Fareena Contractor 31:51
Yeah, not not not just the store associates. Yeah, fighting skills, but also like trucking. We have certain compliance pieces that need to be met. And so this way we can provide even machinery training, make sure that our associates are at the standards that we expect.

Amanda Cosco 32:11
Very cool. Okay, before we take some questions from the audience, we’re going to go down the line and just talk about our favorite augmented reality consumer experience. It can be something that you developed if you want to plug your own company. Matt, why don’t we start with you since you have the mic? Oh, I didn’t know we’re allowed to pick our own. Okay, well, you can you can plug to if one zero and one someone else’s.

Matt McPherson 32:33
No, I mentioned before, I think the most exciting thing we’re doing right now is a virtual car salesman, that virtual sort of auto associate because it’s not really a salesman, it’s not there to close the deal. It’s just meant to have, you know, encyclopedic information about every line, every line item that sold by the car, or sold by the car company, as well as you know, financing information. Really think about, you know, the ultimate, the ultimate expert that can answer every question with a smile. But that’s not looking for any commission. And we think that’s kind of an exciting one that could be applied as a product specialist in all sorts of retail environments. Right? Hospitality. Absolutely. But my my favorite non quantum Capture One is the Lego. I think it’s called the DLP the LEGO Digital, they take cares.

Amanda Cosco 33:22
Okay, explain it for us.

Matt McPherson 33:24
It’s, um, it’s just it. It sort of explodes and shows that then the finished Lego product when you’re shopping in the light on the box, right? Yeah, yeah. And you know, you always kind of want it you go in there. And they’re always building some of them if you go into some of the Lego stores in the big malls. But you think about this for Lego, they can then have a way of showing every single completed one every combination, everything like and it’s so cool. And I love Lego. So it was just a really special one

Amanda Cosco 33:51
for me. Okay, divine. Farina. Okay, he’s too bummed that his Lego example

Fareena Contractor 34:01
will buy you some time. But my answer isn’t very exciting. I haven’t found one. I’ve been thinking about it, because you had shared some of the questions. And yeah, I haven’t been wowed by anything yet. I think that if there’s like the value piece that an app is able to provide me that I’m going to go to the app store and download yet another app to sign up. It better do something amazing. My shopping habits like with clothes are fairly normal and easy. So I don’t feel the need to download another app. But the food one like if there was a way to say okay, these are my criteria, find me what I want. I would download that off. So

Amanda Cosco 34:48
you’re working on a food app for augmented reality go see Farina after the panel,

Fareena Contractor 34:53
please.

Charles Bern 34:55
Hey, well, I guess I have a few others. I’m curious. How many people here actively use an AR app for retail? Right now? Yeah. It’s you didn’t bill?

Amanda Cosco 35:33
What type? What product? Are you selling? Okay, is it the one that’s downstairs? Okay, perfect. So, yeah, check out the demo downstairs. It’s pretty cool. I saw that.

Charles Bern 35:44
Yeah, I think you’re speaking to the Lego example anything or, you know, looking at any sort of package, and then seeing what the possibilities are from the package, in an interesting way, is good utility. And it also uses the medium well, I guess, to plug our own shit a little bit, just because it’s coming out soon. We are working on a lot of cannabis retail, which is interesting, because that’s a whole different space with very specific and often changing regulations. And they’re looking at ways. They all want to have the Apple store of cannabis. They all do. And they’re looking at ways to

Amanda Cosco 36:24
video of your company and you were showing people the bud in augmented reality. But then of course, they want to smell it. So you had these

Charles Bern 36:31
we had smellivision, and we’re working on even better smellivision because you can extract the terpenes well, it smells psychosomatic. And it’s great for marketing. And so yeah, the idea there was legally you can’t show the buds. And so we could show them an AR, that’s no problem. And you can’t, you can’t smell the buds, but you can extract the terpenes and they can smell the terpenes. And that’s what makes the flavor profile anyways. So it was still it was literally like see the button AR and then this person will hand you a sniffer. So super low tech. We put it together in like a month, but it was cool. And then we are working on. There are smart diffusers. So you could in theory, have an SDK and build your AR app and then select something and then have that thing just waft.

Amanda Cosco 37:16
Wow. It sounds like Ready Player One. It just is very cool. All right. Can we get some hands for questions? I’ll just say while we’re waiting for some questions, Mati faces augmented reality experience for oh, yeah, my face is great. But yeah, for Sephora, everything that they’ve done, I’ve loved but the New York Times did a David Bowie and AR article. It wasn’t necessarily for retail, but definitely retailers who were selling clothes could get inspiration from it. And you could you could place a David Bowie mannequin in your living room and examine the costume in detail from every angle. And it was just it was it was so cool. That was my kind of light up AR moment, a lot of the stuff that the times is doing with AR and VR is fantastic. So do we have anyone get a box around the outside for the bingo? Yeah? What words are we waiting on? Oh, all right. All right, well, maybe try to work it into your questions. I don’t know. Any questions from the audience for our panel Drew,

Unknown Speaker 38:24
kind of back to the to the mirror thing. And I actually think there’s a way to use the mirror to solve problems. So last week, I was in Target, I have four nieces, 799, and 12. So they all want to try everything on and talk about it and experience it together. So they picked about 30 items that had to be put back. They then went and wore them in the change room where I couldn’t go because of the gender barrier. But if there was, say a magic near, we could have just slipped through maybe some clothing together. They don’t be the ones that they actually wanted to buy, and then maybe pulled only those ones into the actual chain.

Amanda Cosco 39:02
Yeah, that’s really interesting.

Fareena Contractor 39:04
Great point. I’m going to play devil’s advocate, because that’s what I do. And how was the experience for them, of going into the change room trying something on coming out like talking about it, then going back into the change room. Part of it is the experience of doing that. And so if you make things like super quick, it almost becomes utilitarian versus about the experience. So there is that element to it that you’d also have to consider. But as I was talking about it, in terms of color, like from a retailer perspective, you don’t want to have inventory like we have 400 stores across Canada. So if we have blue and red and green and pink, have like a T shirt, that’s a lot of inventory and a lot of tied up capital. So if we use the Smart mirror to change color, for example, that might be a way that we can show room but also have that experience Just something to consider.

Charles Bern 40:03
I’m actually bullish on smart mirrors. I just, yeah, I think that we need to just lower the price point we need to improve some of the technology. I do think smart mirrors in the house are going to be a great angle for trying on clothing or seeing stuff as long as it sort of fits right. I hate shopping. And that’s me personally, but I know that some people enjoy that. Or at least triaging, so you have like 10 items that you want to try. And then maybe you get it down to three. And then those are the three that you’re trying to change room as an example. I do think it’s there. It’s just coming along.

Amanda Cosco 40:36
I will say LG has experience that they showed at CES with their smart mirror, it was really good. It wasn’t gimmicky. If you have a chance to look up that online and check it out like it the technology is getting there as opposed to looking like it’s just a sticker overlaid on your body. I think we have time for one more question. And let’s make it a good one in the back there.

Unknown Speaker 40:54
I’m curious about how sophisticated the AI is with the virtual salesperson because if you’re just

Unknown Speaker 41:02
entering scripted questions, and giving them the answer, how do you accommodate the answer is avatars never heard? And if you really have machine learning, how do you prevent what happened with my in the chat box?

Matt McPherson 41:22
Sure, I’m gonna avoid the second question altogether. But no, I liked it

Unknown Speaker 41:31
machine learning and understanding the racist,

Unknown Speaker 41:35
anti racist.

Matt McPherson 41:38
Yeah. Yeah, and I will it Yes. Which Which takes us back to the you know, first part of your question where, really what we do as we sit on top of the the, the AI system, the conversational AI system, so we integrate with, with the Google stack with the Amazon Lex stack and with the and with IBM, and Watson. And so each one of those has like a fairly limited domain of knowledge, they have skills, there’s different ways that you can kind of then train it up in order to have an understanding of a certain domain. There’s some other AI kind of connector elements that you can say okay, now what I want you to do is go into this corpus of documents and analyze for trends in that corpus of documents and in this case, um, you know, spec sheets for for automobiles Oh, absolutely. And it’s, it’s getting there, it’s getting there. I think the more you kind of limit the domain of knowledge that this thing has then the the smarter it can be in that kind of narrow domain of knowledge,

Amanda Cosco 42:46
meaning pick a niche and train your AI on that specific niche whether it’s car sales, vacuum sales.

Matt McPherson 42:51
That’s right, exactly. So that it so that it becomes an expert in that one area. I mean, if you ask the car salesman, something like you know, how’s it feel to drive this car? You’re gonna definitely trip it up. Because

Amanda Cosco 43:03
unless you’re in Westworld sorry Thank you. Okay, don’t worry. Yeah, so we have a Herschel with tile passport holder. Oh, you did this. Wow. Okay, she was before. I’ll have to get a runner up prize for you. Thanks for playing guys. Thanks for amusing me. So we’re done answering that question, or did you want to add something else to that? Okay. I think our time is up. There are some demos. Thank you very much. Thank you so much to our panelists and catch them after the show.