Javier Argente, CEO of AR Vision, spoke with Oscar Perez (Consultant, London). AR Vision is a product development and consulting firm which specialises in immersive technologies. Javier outlines the potential of immersive technologies to disrupt the financial sector and the payments industry in particular.
1. Could you give us an overview of AR Vision and your different solutions?
With an experience of more than 4 years in immersive technologies and having been the first company in Europe to implement Augmented Reality (AR) as a tool for massive advertising, AR Vision has evolved over the years to become a product development and consulting firm which specialises in Immersive Technologies (Augmented, Virtual and Mixed reality). The company has two main business lines:
- Consulting: We investigate the value chain of large and medium-sized businesses to assess how immersive technologies could be applied to increase their sales or reduce costs. As a result of these assessments, unique and personalised solutions are developed for their clients.
- Development of technological products: After having identified niche opportunities, AR Vision has developed several sector-specific products with the main goal of supporting the digital transformation of these sectors. Their main product lines are:
- AR Professional: It is a product based on AR that allows brands to display their products in a user-friendly and original manner. It is a perfect sales tool for companies that need to present their products, without needing to provide real samples
- CultuAR: AR app targeted at the tourism sector. The app allows users to overlay digital information on the tourist sites of the cities
- AR Motion: This product is oriented to the automotive sector. It is an app that allows car sellers to show, in 3D and AR, different vehicle models to potential buyers
- AR Food: App targeted at the hospitality sector to display food menus with AR technology
AR Vision works with both national (Spanish) and international clients, including well-known companies such as Cosentino, Volkswagen, Seat, University of Granada, and National Geographic Institute, just to name a few.AR Vision has managed to position itself as a reference company in immersive technologies at a national level, by winning in the Best Newcomer category in Spain at the Global Startups Awards 2019 and our product CultuAR has been one of the finalist projects in the UNWTO Awards by the World Tourism Organisation.
2. What is the potential of immersive technologies to disrupt the consumer purchase & payments experience? What impact can immersive technologies have on the financial sector?
Immersive technologies allow us to create simulated artificial realities, add layers of additional information to the environment around us, or even mix both, combining the real world with the virtual world. These technologies allow us to fulfil needs that, until now, were impossible to satisfy in any other way. They can add value to end-users in any sector, including the financial sector. Immersive technologies are forecast to generate USD 1.5 trillion to the global economy by 2030.
When it comes to the shopping experience, AR provides consumers with a unique and unforgettable shopping experience. Consumers can try, interact, or personalise products virtually from the comfort of their own homes. As a result, shoppers are more confident about buying online as they obtain more detailed product information. AR can help capitalise on the exponential growth that e-commerce is undergoing across the world during the pandemic.
AR is being leveraged in the shopping process by a number of leading companies including Sephora, Ikea, Nike, or Zara. The implementation of AR together with in-app payments has led these companies to obtain higher conversion rates and increased revenues. Simultaneously, the digitisation of the shopping process enables these brands to obtain more data about their customers which can be used to offer customised products.
Immersive technologies are also making their way in the financial sector. For instance, Fidelity Investments has introduced Cora, a VR agent which is capable of interacting with customers by recommending stocks, creating financial charts and assessing the fit of a particular company into the investor’s portfolio. Another good example is Mastercard, which is leveraging AR to increase awareness of the benefits of its payment cards.
This is just one small sample of how immersive technologies can be applied to financial services and the payments industry in particular. AR technology is here and it is key that banks and financial institutions stay ahead of the curve. AR is an attractive future for this sector as it holds tremendous potential. It is the future and nothing can stop it.
3. What have been the challenges to manage the company during the lockdown?
As a start-up, we had to turn the ship around very quickly, navigating towards a business model that we had in mind for our roadmap. Prior to the lockdown, we were focused on delivering consultancy projects for large firms, but the introduction of the lockdown forced us to focus on the development of technological products, cutting the roadmap by almost a year. We also had to implement teleworking, which has worked well thanks to the dedication and effort of the team.
Looking back now, I believe that for AR Vision the current situation is an opportunity and we are managing to grow at a stronger rate than before Covid-19. We have focused all the team's efforts on creating pioneering products allowing businesses to reach three main goals: increase in sales, cost optimisation and differentiation. These variables are completely anti-crisis and our main products, CultuAR and AR Professional, are having a great market acceptance.
4. What books are you reading?
I am currently reading "The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari" by Robin Sharma, highly recommended. I am also planning to read "Exponential Organisations" by Michael S. Malone and "Start with Why" by Simon Sinek. I personally enjoy this type of reading, in which other people have reflected and researched a lot of issues that constantly challenge the business world. Reading about their views, experience, strategy, and the actions they have taken to scale up their companies or to face complex challenges is an incredible learning experience.
5. What are your hobbies / personal interests? What are your goals for this year?
My main hobbies are reading, going out with friends and family, but above all, learning and enjoying technology.
The goals for this year are quite ambitious. From a personal perspective, I would like sports and healthy nutrition to become part of my daily routine. From a professional perspective, I am aiming to consolidate two of our products and expand internationally on a greater scale.
The content of this article does not reflect the official opinion of Edgar, Dunn & Company. The information and views expressed in this publication belong solely to the author(s).