Imagine you’re shopping for your next car. Picture it. You go to the dealership, take a look around and find the perfect car. Next time you take out your phone, open your augmented reality app and hold it up to the car.

The app then returns useful information such as the car’s MPG, tax information and insurance group. Next, you click the “quick quote” button. The app then connects to your insurer and automatically generates an insurance quote. You now have all the information you need, so you go ahead and buy that car, you lucky thing!

Your quote has been automatically saved, allowing you to return to the insurer’s website and complete the payment online later that evening.

Reality check!

Ok, so admittedly we can’t yet walk into car dealerships waving our phones around like we’re in Star Trek. But here’s the thing, are we really that far away from being able to experience a scenario like this?

Augmented Reality has already arrived in the form of a smartphone app which encourages you to go out and hunt small, cuddly virtual monsters.

Pokémon Go has arguably become one of the most significant technological advancements of the last few years, not because the technology was groundbreaking but because of the sheer popularity of the app. It took just 19 days to surpass 50 million downloads worldwide and at its peak had more daily users than any other mobile game.

What is Augmented Reality (AR)?

AR enhances a real world environment with digital content by including pictures, video, text or music. The technology differs to virtual reality which replaces the real world with a completely simulated environment. The information is usually provided in real time and delivered by a mobile or wearable device. There is a huge range of potential applications for businesses in a wide variety of markets.

So what other opportunities could exist for AR and the insurance industry?

How can AR make your business exceptional?

Many businesses are finding that the popularity of the internet and insurance comparison websites, along with rising Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) and other financial pressures is leading to an increased price elasticity of insurance. Insurers are looking for new ways to differentiate themselves from their competitors and add value to their customers.

AR presents new opportunities for businesses to find a niche either by refining a product or scheme to specialise in, offering something different to your competitors, or excelling in a specific field such as online service.

Of course, at the moment, the choices are somewhat hampered by the limitations of the emerging technology but as we all know, technology continues to evolve at a phenomenal pace, and it is the early adopters who gain the upper hand.

Try thinking outside the box: How could you offer customers information via AR at quote stage? How could AR benefit your claims process? What products do you think there will be an initial demand for as a result of developing AR technology?

But… keep it simple, stupid!

pokemon-go-resized-imageLet’s not forget that the most successful use of AR so far has been in the form of a game. The novel yet simple idea of livening up the daily dog walk with a Pikachu hunt drew people to Pokémon Go.

Think about how you can replicate this simple approach. How about holding a hackathon in your development team to come with an AR app? Or quizzing your marketing department to devise a way to include AR in the next campaign.

Improve your online offering with insurance software

Getting creative is important, but it’s also critical to get the basics right. For any business looking to excel in a digital arena this means offering customers a slick online experience; responsive quote & buy websites with payment capabilities, digital documents and functional support channels. The modern insurance broker or MGA offers this via one system, which also stores customer details and other information via secure cloud hosting. Visit Transactor insurance software to find out more.

AR in Action!

Despite the relative infancy of the technology it’s already been used in a wide range of applications in business.

Insurance provider Allianz created an AR “haunted house” to show customers the kind of risks that exists within the home. Visitors to the special pop-up building were provided with a tablet which was used to explore the house and its risks.

For instance, the furniture giant IKEA, and the paint seller, Dulux have both used augmented reality apps to enable customers to try products in their own home before buying. Respectively, the apps project a view of the room to the screen via the front camera and allow the user to add furniture or change the paint scheme respectively. The objective being to assure customers of a purchase without first having to visit a store, therefore removing barriers to the purchasing process.

Augmented reality is an exciting new technology. It promises a host of new opportunities for a range of businesses and industries from insurance to eCommerce and more. The popularity of Pokémon Go and other high profile examples have launched the technology into mainstream culture, ready and waiting to be exploited by daring businesses everywhere.