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Immersive Retail: Connected Shopping in a New Era | SXSW 2021

Kevin O'Malley
Speaker Engagement Strategist at TechTalk/Studio
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SXSW 2021
March 16, 2021, Online, Austin, USA
SXSW 2021
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Immersive Retail: Connected Shopping in a New Era | SXSW 2021
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About speakers

Kevin O'Malley
Speaker Engagement Strategist at TechTalk/Studio
Tony Parisi
Global Head of AR/VR Ad Innovation at Unity Technologies

Specialties: Writer, producer,executive coach, speaker, conference placement and marketing specialist, speaker training, message development.

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Virtual reality pioneer, serial entrepreneur, author and angel investor. I have developed international standards and protocols and started and sold technology companies. I am currently Head of AR/VR Ad Innovation at Unity Technologies, where I oversee the company’s strategy for virtual and augmented reality experiential marketing and advertising.Prior to Unity I was an individual consultant developing technology and solutions for WebGL, VR and AR, and mentored VR and AR startups.I am the co-creator of the VRML and X3D ISO standards for networked 3D graphics, and the specification editor for glTF, the new 3D file format standard for WebGL and OpenGL applications for desktop and mobile, VR, AR and more.I am also the co-organizer of the San Francisco WebGL Meetup (http://www.meetup.com/WebGL-Developers-Meetup), and the San Francisco WebVR Meetup (http://www.meetup.com/Web-VR/). I wrote O’Reilly Media’s books on Virtual Reality and WebGL: Learning Virtual Reality (2015), Programming 3D Applications in HTML5 and WebGL (2014), and WebGL Up and Running (2012).Specialties: Virtual Reality, 3D, WebGL, VRML, glTF. Product management and agile process. Public speaking and industry events. Technical: virtual world and social game development, client and server. Web architectures for scalability and performance. C, C++, Objective-C, C#, JavaScript, Node.js, PHP. Unity.

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About the talk

With the pandemic accelerating changes in retail, the movement from brick-and-mortar to online is now inevitable. To survive post-pandemic, physical retail outlets will have to become an experiential destination. A big component of this transformation is being powered by real-time 3D graphics and XR: in-store displays are becoming more interactive, virtual and customizable; product catalogs are increasingly using 3D to replace costly physical photo-shoots; and marketers and online retailers are reaching consumers online with 3D/XR representations of products in ads, brand activations and online stores. What major initiatives is the industry pursuing to enable the widespread proliferation of AR/VR and 3D content for e-commerce and retail?

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111. Welcome to today's, your is an offer in a total rock. Star is just amazing. Genius loci meixner is partner, Global business, strategy, IBM, Global business, digital transformation, or digital marketing business, and brand strategy and Tony. We talked about this panel started out, really when we didn't think it was going to be quite the same situation at the last year. We had a lot more focused on how exchange with VR and AR, but over the next five to 10 years,

Yeah, sure then Kevin and it's great to be back with you back in the saddle. Again it gets better every year when we do this and that and my dear buddy still cuts and it's great to be able to do a South bisexual. I'm so excited to be here. So in case folks don't know what Unity does. We are the leading 3D content creation platform at people make real-time 3D application for their software, forged in gaming for over the first decade of the company's existence. But for the last several years, it's been a platform to power augmented and virtual and all they are all the realities

interactively across a bunch of Industries, including Automotive, architecture filmmaking and many others. I might prove you was around advertising and advertising is really the flip side of e-commerce when it comes to digital. And so I've been looking for the last several years now and how 3D technology can bribe interactive sales of products online. This was something that felt a bit like Jagger A few years ago, a vitamin if you will if you know the metaphor but during the Earth covid, it's become a pain killer as retailers, could not prevent their Wares and

physical stores anymore. Ever. So much going on with lock down and people were selling your products needed to reach folks digital in a way they didn't before. So now I'm imagine 3D digital twins of physical items. Everything from a complex side of my car would be very considered purchase. If you did it online to something simple like a piece of consumer electronics, or a Home, Appliance like a coffee maker accessories, handbags, I wear, these things can all be represented with varying degrees of fidelity and 3D. So imagine models of these kind of

products, delivered online, and websites and applications showing up in advertising context, digitally add units within a social platform and search. So imagine all those things having a 3D equivalent, not just an image and a consumer being able to interact with those. I learn more about the products. Possibly share these things with their friends, with a lot of scrutiny to see if they can help sell products and early returns are looking pretty good. There's been some initial forays and experiments. That looks like Shopify. YouTube showing

up interactive, try on the products are trying out, what things look like in your house, for example, piece of furniture, and a lot of that technology, a lot of the technology, the powers that has been coming from Unity. So companies like house and Ikea. For example, of use the energy action to create applications that show off products and then let you try them out of your house. And so, this is a really exciting time that. I think it's been massively accelerated by the pandemic, having to face him, we're going to impact throughout this conversation. All right, thanks Brian,

that's great. But still gotta know we had talked about maybe if you could give us an introduction to retail, omni-channel for 2021 and Beyond. And some of how this has been redefined by some of the insights that you're seeing there. Absolutely. Thank you. Kevin mention quite quite significantly that shift from a luxury of having any product rendered in the virtual environment, there was a nice to have and now it is almost essential to some of the businesses. So

which one he was mentioning, the idea immersive experience into the digital world. Has almost overnight become top of the agenda for many of the marketers that we're working with a couple of factors that play into this. Number one, is the question, will it be temporarily or will this change ultimately how we interact as France with our, with our consumers are customers across different sectors is is here to stay, so that idea that it's no longer a luxury, but a necessity is very much, a reality, what that means is also

for marketers as well. Technologists and anyone who has it in there is some need to as Tony mention to put the furniture rendering into the virtual environment also in retail or hospitality and Leisure, you want to actually immerse yourself in the experience. So it would marketers as well as the technology is still working with a lot. Ask us is help us with a roadmap. What functions? And what features should we put online first versus maybe half a year from now or a year from now. So a lot of the retail industry

is looking into the omni-channel experience to be as seamless as possible so you might in your free shopping experience and research but Immediately want to be able to see what it looks like, you know, in the virtual environment of mine for many marketers, the other one, as well as possession. If I live on my mind, I tend to do the shopping as well as I don't want to be logging into different systems to have a very seamless omni-channel experience for those two Trends. We see

continued well beyond this year, and they're also set the way for additional experiences. So phony already touch. Not only do I want to anticipate destination that I go to or see the store before. I might be able to go there in person and be recognized as an individual. I also want to be able to share that. So, content in itself is no longer just a push model, from the brands to the consumer that gets created together with the consumer. So the technical into Intricacies of making that happen is very much for this year as well as Beyond.

That's great. Thank you a question for both of you. So clearly covid is a calm right now is a combination of challenges but also new opportunity. So how much of what's Happening Now was already in place? And how have people who are successful? Now, how were they already prepared? And who was caught unprepared, and what's the combination of brand new? But was already in the works. In people who had the foresight to prepare for something like this for side. I don't think anyone

understood that he had already anticipated the setting, in which we deliver our products and service in the marketing. So what I found is retailers who had already Faster than ever before, I was listening to Pivot sound so we we had a large Global retailer very much. It's from a few stores that are not accessible to actually and making that as scalable model that would be sustained. Was top of mine are having an outcome and drive the First proof-of-concept with a scale quickly, accelerated quite a bit in other cases, the idea is that you

risk your investment. So that's investment in the deliveries Start very small and contain the risk and then go from that proof case to other units to other products or services that by and large has been what helped a lot of the marketers in just over the past year and it's the principle that will continue to do well to Pace of Technology, changes, capacity and vent. So that's all to mately principle that many of our clients benefit and actually fail and maintain. Oh

well all of that and I just I guess I would say that we had all heard it prophesized, the retail apocalypse coming. As they called it with a brick-and-mortar stores were some of them are very trouble that you know how how do we get people back in or stores in a larger mall or saying the same thing? How do we get people in? How do we get footfalls? This was already something that was a dire situation for a lot of these retailers and a pandemic made that so pronounced. And so folks were already planning on a certain amount of digital transformation have managed to find ways to

reach their customers during the terrible. Are those that did not. I mean, maybe the writing was on the wall for some of these retailers. Anyway, there's some that have not survived. There's, there's a few large name retailers that shuttered in 2020, and it was probably largely accelerated by the pandemic, but it was already happening. So, I think some folks of famously This before and I dented the Name Escapes me but if it comes back I'll get to it in a bit here. Kevin that folks were making five year plans around this kind of stuff during the pandemic, they were

urged to make those plans. Now they're no longer five year plans, put them into play immediately as soon as you can. So pandemic accelerated, many, many things were already in flight. It's only one more question for you. Unity is very big in gaming and also, a lot of things happening with 3gb on VR and altogether. Infiltrate retail right now in what, what's going to be happening with that. And I think after that Soca, how do you see that relating to personalization? So if you could just address that to start, All right. It's a, such a multi-faceted

answer. I'm going to try and weave that into say, a minute of an answer and I know how well I'm going to do. So, first of all game, technology is definitely starting to transform. Lots and lots of Enterprises beyond the game industry. The Investments that were made to make compelling. Interactive content were first reported by the game industry. Where, you know, those craters needed this kind of technology to deliver. These kind of experiences Nets, what Unity built its business on again, for the first decade of its existence. As this technology reaches, all devices has become

easier and easier to create with tools like the unity platformer. We're now seeing all these other Industries, embrace it no reason to expect that, that's not going to be true for retail. And that in fact, facial Computing, immersive Tac, however you want a friend that is going to transform the retail experience with these 3D digital twins across a bunch of different channels that I mentioned already searched. And in applications and websites interesting. Where you could also flip the script Kevin and say, how is retail going to invade gaming with these, new Mega platforms, like, fortnite

in Roblox, and he's large communities of people communicating in real-time the other, and we're going to see is those 3D products will reach consumers in those venues as well. It's not all just going to be showing up in search result in too deep web pages. So I think we're going to see if complete convergence of these two Endeavors over the next three to five years. That's great, WIll Stoke and what about personalization from you and your clients, and with what keeps these people awake at night that you're working with these, the client that you guys have a question on

personalization, it is a tremendous opportunity and our clients who are in a big Brands, a Multinational Global Brands, the marketers have been thinking about for a long, long time, of course, embedded into the ability to structure if that is given, or if that is being worked on, what I see a lot and what we have Klein's, common wonder is, how do I take this idea off of person and much more organic? Meaning that, of course, when we think about, you know, virtualizing an environment or giving experience ahead of time?

It can't be just a simple little videos and yet it has to be multi-sensory, it has to be engaging. And for many of the Brian said, we're working with it also has to be unconscious. And so thinking about, you know, the data that is powerful and gives the marketers an opportunity to make the content more bespoke more interactive and also getting back from that interactivity. So when you have at every touch point, a long that consumer Journey, the ability to look into what was working. Well, do we have feedback and date on what

is input for the marketer? Then it's the opportunity to also test. What kind of material content-wise is may be more relevant for certain. In some cases? So all the way down to the individual level. The social media interaction content marketer marketers both laying awake at night, out of sheer opportunity to really hit the right marks along the consumer Journey but also to use the date that makes this a very physical experience at appear more seamless and less based on the device or the interaction

mode. I'm all in. No, I think it is a great opportunity. That is opening up ways to engage with brands. Also, in a much more emotional emotional connection to the brand and half-dead, enable, truly something that's worth talking about over. It's sharing is ultimately where the key is for a lot of the retailers that we're talking with. Yeah, Kevin anti-skid night night. Pick up on two or three of these threads here. I'm dying to Jumping. I'm so with silk on this, and I want to have a fire to

things. You mentioned fun, Soca missing, not talking about the fact that video game technology is high production value. It's bringing, you Hollywood in cinematic quality experiences that you said are emotionally engaging your right to the device that you have in the utility is ultimately, what brings the marketer and the customer together. It's that the customer engagement is all about the fun in that, emotional connection, and 3D technology is going to play a huge part in that. And we're already seeing that in and help. He'll engage people. Get with these

pieces of content based on our experience and interactive 3D adds. Some of the staff that shop is showing about how this seems to lift people I adding to cart, if they can interact with the 3D model and then turn the camera on. So that's a big part of it. And the other part you mentioned Soca is agency. Personal is personal is Consumers these days. Want a heck of a lot more control over what they're doing is story house perceived in the world. So those are all great points you made and I am fully aligned with it. Let's re-roll. Hey Tony. Do you think now from your point of view

are we can talk about this for a while. Are stores going to go away? Or are they going to go the way of the buggy going to come back? Or is it going to be something radically new run? How's this all going to play on? This is the fun part of being a futurist, cuz whatever I say no one's going to call me on this and five years, but here it is. Here is my thought I don't think stores are going to go away. I think it's special right now. I think we are all

realizing what we're missing by not being able to go into a physical venue to the extent that we would like that said, I think they are going to transform and we were seeing the beginnings of this pre-pandemic with experience, is like the Capital One Cafe. So we're talkin retail know about financial It's not just a bank branch, you going to? It's a place where you go hang out. It is a lifestyle destination. So we may see more of a trend toward that the retail outlet, or Mall being an experience Center, a place to hang out, maybe more of a bespoke and expert consultation

Center less about just, you know, acquisition fulfillment because you know, Amazon Digital Services can do some of that. So well at the speed of thought now much more about connecting and experiencing in person and I got it at Hazard a guess that as soon as the pandemics in the rearview mirror, we're going to over-indexing overcompensate for being in person and being social, thank you. So don't count bricks-and-mortar out but I do think they're going to change. Okay, what is it

transcends? The plant. The brands that is more Brandon Direction you can house, retail destinations that are both virtual and real and Brands actually interacting and having a new Alchemy of how they come together. Those are certainly new and futuristic ways that I'm looking for it too. And I was wondering if you see some of that in the marketplace as well, Tony, Yeah, always, it's just so hard to. It's hard to characterize and categorize Serendipity, an emergent Behavior, but you know, if we can get to the vision of you and I have talked of this media type being fluid

and universally accessible. We are going to see new experiences that integrate physical and digital transcend. The categories that we have been talking with in right now. And then you know we come out the other end of a mirror when that happens that, you know, we don't know what to call it yet. But I absolutely see. You know, between the two channel between experience for all the physical digital convergence entertainment and Retail blurring What is that going to look like soap in 3 or 4 years? Don't know. Okay, well we're, we are

on a kind of a short time here. We're almost done with our session today, but this is South by Southwest, but we need to look at the future, but we need to look at what's really, really cool right now. So closing question for each of you, let's start with Soca and then finish with Tony what is the coolest single or or more than one thing. What is the coolest hottest technology you're working on or using right now that we've never even seen before, it's going to blow everyone's mind. That's the tough one coming from what I'm getting to see any strength every day by. Then I'll try I'll try

to give you one of the coolest and we have quite a bit of work in terms off as you know you know augmented reality but also the overlay with cognitive and ableman's and facial recognition. So especially in the retail space, some of the work that has been done by their signal issue groups, IBM. And also collaborations have been to bring the ability to take spatial recognition object recognition for security of c-notes retail spaces but also to really have fun and make sure that what you get

to try on orbino in a virtual environment is is truly the spoke to you. So I like the idea of this blending of different forms that make it so real and so enjoyable. Consumers to ultimately store move objects around, change their mind on the color. Maybe also we know chatting with friends while they're doing that and doing that, with an Albert aretz themselves, those are really exciting opportunities to bring some of these different Technologies and I know we're out of time. The other one that I always love to talk about the weather, that makes it even

more relevant actually, also look into the modalities of whether it's rain or shine, what do virtual reality looks like in the retail environment or Beyond? It's beautiful. Thank you Tony. Can you wrap us up in just about a minute? I know that I was talking about with facial recognition in a similar vein and I can't talk about stuff that I can't talk about yet, but I can, I can identify things. Maybe people aren't paying enough attention to. We talked a lot about 3D rendering when we talked about the VRA are and

all that. But there's a flip side on the augmented reality side, which is computer vision and the camera that device you have it eventually. But the pair of glasses being able to recognize things in the real world, find things like them. You know, the implications for retail? I like that piece of clothing. Where do I get something? Like a just by pointing your phone visual, search, Power by computer vision. She learning to do 5G backbone, that's where that's where the assignments going to be the next three or so years. That's great. Thank you Johnny. But we're out of time, silicon mix,

nor Tony Parisi South by Southwest 2021. Thank you very much. We hope we'll see you next year in person, back in Austin. Thank you for a wonderful session today. Big Bear Lake.

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Kevin O'Malley
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