How 5G and augmented reality will help transform retail

By: Chris Ashraf

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Who wouldn’t want to go to their favorite store and have a totally personalized experience to help you get in and out in no time?

5G and augmented reality (AR) are about to help make that dream shopping experience a reality. While 4G enabled in-store pick up of online orders, 5G has the potential to bring to the best of brick-and-mortar and digital retail experiences together.

Today, AR shopping experiences are limited because you can’t compare, search, sort or filter across multiple products in the store the same way you can online. Further, with AR on 4G you can only augment one object at a time.

5G’s high speeds, massive bandwidth and low latency enable incredibly fast AR object recognition on several products at once so you can do real-time product comparison and get product reviews based on a star rating across multiple items in a single screen shot.

At Verizon’s 5G Lab in New York City, the company has been demonstrating a 5G use case that can help save time and money when looking to compare prices or review product ratings and ingredients.

The application allows you to hold up a smart phone or tablet to mock grocery shelves and easily see which products have allergens like nuts by displaying the words “Nuts”, “No Nuts” or “Traces of Nuts” over all of the products on the shelves in real time on your screen.

The experience can also be customized to identify other allergens like gluten or lactose and to look at product ratings and reviews, “how-to” videos and do price comparisons. Imagine being at the drug store, and trying to figure out which moisturizer has the best reviews. With 5G and AR, you’d be able to hold up your phone and see those ratings laid over the products in real-time versus having to go online and search reviews.

“We’re taking product information you’d normally get on the internet and bringing it quickly into the real world to help people make more informed, rapid decisions about purchasing,” said T.J. Vitolo, Director of Verizon 5G Dev Labs. “The great thing about 5G is in a few years, we can take all of this capability and move it off the smart phone and onto a pair of smart glasses. As you walk down the aisle, you’ll see product information displayed passively in your field of vision without having to pull out your phone.”

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About the author(s):

Chris Ashraf is an external communications manager at Verizon writing about 5G and network solutions.

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