In a freewheeling interview, Ankush Sharma, CEO of Yeppar, talks about how the hospitality industry is redefining itself by adopting the AR technology
TA: How can the Hospitality industry benefit by adopting Augmented Reality (AR) technology?
AS: The hospitality industry is a highly service-driven sector, where one offering the most intuitive and engaging experience to the customer wins the crown. With AR technology having famed for reckoning up the existing information, there lie immense opportunities for the entrepreneurs to embrace AR for offering inimitable services that go beyond imagination. Who must have thought a decade ago, that a simple menu card in the restaurants can surface recipes and let users have a look at the food before they order? This is just an example evidencing what potential AR technology holds for the hospitality industry. From hotel booking to the dining experience and from transportation ease to unlimited entertainment and much more, AR technology can be fused within every inch for altering the dimension of hospitality sector with a common goal of making the entire experience more rewarding and immersive for the customers.
TA: Do you think the industry in India is mature enough to adopt this emerging technology?
AS: AR technology itself is in its burgeoning stage with some giant players like Google, Microsoft and much more in a league of developing unique hardware devices and application to unleash the untapped potential of AR. However, when talked about Indian markets, the major constraints that hinder full-fledge adoption of technology is hardware resource scarcity and the lack of technicality. Indian market is still in the phase of getting acquainted with AR applications and implementation in day-to-day undertakings. However, with promising fixtures like HoloLens by Microsoft and Magic Leap secret creation, the Indian market is heading towards amplifying itself in regards to technological advancement with special attention over AR technology.
TA: What’s in it for the customers? How will they benefit?
AS: Augmented reality is unlike other technological fads that couldn’t make their space in the day- to-day activities of humankind. Rather it’s a constantly maturing and promising tech that has enrolled with the aim of simplifying the living by innumerable applications. From AR apps that lets users explore their neighborhood places to virtual real estate tours and beguiling panoramic view of tourist destination moving to a submerged visualization in healthcare and education sector, the benefits pondered by this futuristic app goes unceasing. The latest Pokémon Go having brought massive number of folks on a walk is a clear evidence of what potential it holds. With the deep-seated research work by some giants like Microsoft and Google in regards to prime hardware that supports this nascent technology, it can be assumed that AR can alter how people shop, interact, visualize and analyze the real world around them.
TA: Is this technology going to redefine how hospitality industry operates? Do you see a broad consensus about its adoption?
AS: The hospitality industry has already embraced AR technology in multi-dimensional areas like AR in restaurants, AR in dining, AR in transportation and AR in hotels. By the virtue of AR technology, the major players in this fraternity have taken a stride to offer an immersive and engaging experience to the customers by either guiding the visitors to their dining room, or allowing diners to see the food before they order via 3D menu option and book a cab or a favorite dining outlet and much more. However, the massive adoption of this technology is still in a fog owing to the barriers posed by the development of requisite hardware fixtures and the lack of information regarding the same. There lies no doubt in the fact that AR brings a realm of possibilities but it’s actual realization is possible with some major mid-course correction in its tracking and display mechanism along with software development.
TA: What are your plans going forward? Which other sectors do you think can benefit by adopting AR?
AS: We are currently in the phase of constant evolution of our application for better tapping on the opportunities proffered by the most futuristic technology. Having started this venture with the aim of making life easier and compelling for masses, we have gone an extra mile in designing Yeppar, that brings life-like features to otherwise stagnant print media. Having proved its worth with first ever AR- enabled Hindi Edition of Dainik Bhaskar newspaper, our app promises to alter the way people interact with the information. Yet another recent domain triumphed was the AR for brands with our select partner ‘Dabur’. The future would see a more tuned-in experience for all the folks in education and medical sector, giving the most inherent and two-sided experience to the users.