Since the rise of COVID-19, shopping in-store has become almost an impossible task. With social distancing being enforced, we've found that many industries that rely on in-person assistance as well as product engagement have found it difficult to find a workaround this issue.
In particular, we found that there is potential for customers to get infected from hand-on store displays within T-Mobile stores. Additionally, when customers are often faced with a hard decision of finding the best phone for their needs they often look to assistance in the store. However, this often requires interactions with other people which goes against safe COVID-19 practice. Overall, there's potential for spread of COVID-19 when individuals interact with in-store displays as well as when customers interact with employees.
Therefore, we came up with a solution: iSee. Our product fills the gaps for all in-store experiences that COVID-19 has taken away from T-Mobile customers. Using augmented reality, we're able to allow individuals to interact and view items on display virtually while simultaneously being COVID-19 safe. We also help aid in the experience of comparing phones by implementing a comparison functionality within the app.
What it does
iSee is a compact IOS application that revolutionizes the way we interact with products in the store with Augmented Reality. Users will be able to point to two or more products of interest and be presented with AR Card. The AR Card will display concise information about the device and allow easy comparisons between different phones. After clicking on the item's card, users are navigated to the item's product page where they can either choose to go back or add the item to their wishlist. In the wishlist tab, users are presented with all the items they added to their wishlist. Once an item on the wishlist is clicked, users are navigated to page where they can choose to buy the item or return back to the wishlist page. However, if users click the buy button they're redirected to the items product page on T-Mobile's website where they can easily buy and checkout their item.
How we built it
iSee was built on Apple's integrated development environment called XCode. Here, we used Swift to build our application according to a Model-View-Controller (MVC) architecture. We used ARKit, Apples augmented reality platform for iOS devices to render certain AR cards. We used SpriteKit to help us build our initial AR card and SceneKit to render the AR card into the AR view.
Challenges we ran into
Building the application based solely on an idea was a challenge that we ran into from the start. However, after thorough research on ARKit and learning how to use Apple's augmented reality platform, we were able to paste together what we could in limited time. Additionally, we had a hard time getting the AR model to appear on our screen when we were testing it out. Initially, the scans of our 3D models didn't work and we had to spend a lot of time trying to figure out where it went wrong. Finally, we wanted to make the application as intuitive and straightforward as possible since we knew not many users are familiar with AR/VR so we ran into some issues brainstorming what the UI/UX of the application would look like.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We successfully scanned our 3D models which in turn allowed us to load our information cards above our items. We were also proud of being able to create a wishlist that not only allowed users to view details of the items but also get redirected to the specific wishlist item's product page on the T-Mobile site.
What we learned
We learned a lot about the augmented reality platforms that Apple has to offer as well as designing with the user in mind. We also learned a lot about collaborating remotely and made use of a lot of collaboration applications like Figma, Discord, and Piktochart to help our ideas come to life.
What's next for iSee
We hope to see applications like iSee eventually be used as a commonplace feature to every customer's in-person experience. We believe that beyond COVID-19, iSee could be a great tool for customer accessibility in-store.
We hope to expand the product base of iSee to more items that T-Mobile has to offer to its customers. In the future, we'd hope to build features that would allow users to test out the phones in a virtual space.