Lowe’s Stores Testing Google Tango Tech To Map Supermarket Interiors And Items
Home improvement retail giant Lowe’s is beginning to take full advantage of Google’s Tango in mapping its store’s shelves and even the items being displayed on them. The company is now deploying an augmented reality app that tells its customer where to find the exact item they are looking for.
For those still not familiar with Tango, it is an indoor mapping tech that makes full use of specifically designed cameras to determine depth in 3D space. In other words, it can map a place’s interiors, the pieces of furniture and the objects present in that location. As utilized in Lowe’s AR app, the shopper is guided as he navigates through the retailer’s store, getting information on what items are on that shelf just a few steps ahead. The app also points out aisle numbers and even shelf indicators. Once the customer gets all the items he needs based on his shopping list, the app then guides him to the nearest checkout counter.
Sure, it is a super cool technology, but it should be remembered that Google’s Tango is still limited to just a handful of handsets, specifically those Tango enabled. A few examples of such devices include Lenovo’s Phab 2 Pro and Asus’ ZenFone AR (which is expected to be released before this year is over).
But not to worry -- Lowe’s is actually providing a phone in-store for customers to try the app out. Lowe’s is looking to roll out the app next month, initially at a couple of store outlets located in the cities of Sunnyvale in California and Lynnwood in Washington. The company is expecting expansion efforts at other stores to be straightforward -- its AR app is based on current planograms (digital maps) that lay out the locations of shelves and the items displayed on them.
For good measure, Lowe’s is also currently experimenting with a virtual reality experience that lets customers walk through do it yourself projects such as re-boarding an attic. The company’s Holoroom How-To VR experience is made available at Framingham, Massachusetts, and at two other locations in Canada.
Grocery shopping is not the only one area in which Google’s Tango tech can be put to good use. As a matter of fact, the technology is already being used by a number of museums -- a foremost example is the Detroit Institute of Arts, which basically allows its visitors to learn about exhibits by way of augmented reality.