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Augmented Reality: The Next Wave of Market Research?

Augmented Reality: The Next Wave of Market Research?

iModerate Author

Apr 12, 2012

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As market researchers we not only have to consider the impact of current technology, but also think about the affect of future technology on our industry. Last week Google unveiled Project Glass, a potentially game-changing new technology that augments your view of the world through the functionality of your smart phone. According to the New York Times, it’s an “augmented-reality display that would sit over the eye and run on the Android mobile platform.” Think glasses that interact with what you’re seeing and act as a digital hub, streaming all sorts of information to your eyes in real-time. Its introductory video went viral and though I’m ineligible as a beta tester, it has me thinking about its impact on market research.

While current virtual shopping and eye-tracking platforms exist, they have their limitations. Most of these vehicles require that respondents sit at a computer and interact with the stimuli on a screen. “Google Glasses” could provide a much more precise and accurate reading, as they interact with the respondent directly and allow consumption to be much more natural. Researchers could explore and test virtually anything by collecting real-time video diaries, easily, and in a less invasive manner than ever before. Consumers would simply follow the research instructions and record what the glasses capture, no other cameras or mechanisms necessary. Imagine being able to view the world directly from the eyes of a consumer, observing their step-by-step shopping experience. Researchers could see exactly what a dad with two kids is doing in a grocery store; they could watch which aisles he visits, which shelves he looks at, what he notices on a product package, and whether or not he really reads the nutrition labels. This would open up a whole new world of ethnographic research.

Beyond giving researchers an open window into consumers’ lives, Project Glass could also offer a more dynamic and seamless way for researchers to interact with respondents and send stimuli. How much easier would things be if any form of communication or imagery was literally in front of a respondent’s eyes in seconds?

Of course, all this could be a fantasy, or at the very least a few years away. But the fun thing about budding innovation is that its possibilities are only limited by one’s creativity. We’re curious. How would you envision this technology applied to market research?  Leave your thoughts below.


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iModerate Author

  • atadsfollower

    Great post, Amer. I can definitely see the glasses changing the landscape of ethnographic research. Let’s just hope the device catches more widespread adoption beyond just “dads” and geeks — something the bluetooth headset failed to even accomplish.

  • Adam Rossow

    I think they have tremendous value, but I agree with the poster above, they will have no impact unless Google figures out a way to make adoption mainstream. As cool as they are, right now I just can’t see myself wearing those things around town.

  • Brian

    I could see myself using them on airplane rides or in the car… maybe you could watch a movie on them or play a game? But like Adam said, I’d be surprised if people wore them around like the guy in the video. It makes me wonder about our over-dependence on technology and a possible cultural struggle between “cyborgs” and humans [early adopters and rejecters] – It sounds like science fiction sometimes, but I’m sure you already know someone whose phone is an extension of their hand and another person who thinks it’s rude and/or unnatural.
    As technology continues to bridge the gap between body and device, will we have two distinct subgroups who affect the consumption of such products positively and adversely?

iModerate’s online qualitative interviews have been enormously helpful to us during the concept testing phase of research. iModerate provides us with invaluable feedback from a nationally representative group of Americans within a very short time frame. Not only do we get this data quickly, but it is also high quality. iModerate’s moderators are skilled at asking questions that yield useful responses. iModerate reports provide information that’s more than interesting, it’s actionable.

Sara Bamossy, Senior Strategic Planner, Saatchi & Saatchi LA