Creating Immersive Experiences using AR and VR
Zensar Technologies Ltd.
Category
Augmented/Virtual Reality Innovation of the Year
Entry Description
Setting the context:
The outbreak of COVID-19 has impacted many aspects of our life (social and personal) which in-turn ha impacted businesses. One of the key challenges has been mobility with strict restrictions on physical movement across several parts of the world (both self-imposed and administration imposed). Due to this, many art galleries and retail stores, have been shut down indefinitely. thereby adversely affecting the business and livelihood of those associated with them.
However, customers are interested to purchase artifacts and products that led to innovative approach to selling and offering customer experience, albeit virtually. There was an immediate need of designing alternative modes of purchasing the same goods without walking into these physical locations by risking their health and well-being.. Customer also would like to continue having the same experience on shopping in the physical world.. Most of the existing digital solutions were not designed to offer an immersive experience to the users. Additionally, as businesses depend on social interactions, brick and mortar establishments were finding it difficult to retain their customer base. Customers ere are also missing out on experiences like in-store shopping, attending events/exhibitions, etc.
Hence, the shift has taken place to offering s digital and immersive solutions to compensate the above-mentioned shortfalls.\

Zensar's innovative Solution- Immersive Art Gallery Virtual Walkthrough:
Our innovation hub, Zenlabs worked on integrating AR and VR technologies to create a focused solution that offers a virtual walkthrough for an Art Gallery but can be used by other entities like retail stores, museums etc. Our solution provides VR + AR 3D walkthrough for an Art Gallery. We’ve replicated an Art gallery using 3D models and the user can explore the same by walking around in AR/VR. Based on the user’s preference, he/she can choose to experience the setup in AR or VR.
For VR: This solution can be experienced on a VR headset if available. Otherwise users can navigate around the walkthrough like a First-Person Game. This can be done using keyboard for laptop and swipe gesture for mobile phones.
For AR: The user can use their device to walk into an AR portal door (virtual). This virtual door leads them to the virtually simulated Art Gallery. The user can walk around using their device like they would in an actual gallery. This solution also works on Mixed Reality headsets like HoloLens to give complete immersive experience to the users as if they are walking in the real art gallery (WIP).
• Users can get information (price, artist, date of creation, etc.) regarding the paintings by clicking on them.
• Provision of customizing the Gallery: The solution provides option to customize the gallery by customizing floor/wall texture and colors, upload paintings of your choice, lightings etc. through a web-based dashboard.
• The solution can be easily extended/replicated for other use cases like retail stores, manufacturing facilities, shop floors, education and training sessions, webinars, product launches, real estate showcases, etc.

What’s unique about this solution?
• Most immersive solutions require the user to install an app on their mobile phones for AR or use headsets for VR. Our solution is platform agnostic and can be experienced on a web browser as well, thereby on any device that has a web browser. The user can choose the preferable technology - whether they want to experience this in AR or VR based on the need (p[lease refer to “How this solution helps” section)
• As discussed above sections, our solution is customizable, and the changes will reflect in the walkthrough in real time
• Our solution is modular, and hence, any third-party interfaces like linking to any IoT platform, Asset Management framework, PLM software, etc. can be easily done using REST APIs.

What is innovative about our solution
• Most immersive solutions require the user to install an app on their mobile phones for AR or use headsets for VR. Our solution is platform agnostic and can be experienced on a web browser as well, thereby on any device that has a web browser. The user can choose the preferable technology - whether they want to experience this in AR or VR based on the need (p[lease refer to “How this solution helps” section)
• As discussed above sections, our solution is customizable, and the changes will reflect in the walkthrough in real time
• Our solution is modular, and hence, any third-party interfaces like linking to any IoT platform, Asset Management framework, PLM software, etc. can be easily done using REST APIs.

Technology Snapshot:
• The solution is developed using Unity3D Creation Engine
• Mozilla WebXR SDK and ARFoundation framework are used for developing VR and AR features, respectively.
• The 3D models are .obj files, created using Blender.
• The solution is published in WebGL so it can be easily embedded on websites, but based on the business focus, the solution can be published as a mobile app as well.

Key benefits:
• This solution provides close to real, immersive experience to the end users without the need for them to physically go outside
• Reaching out to a larger customer base- No barriers of geography, no restrictions of social distancing. People from across the globe can experience this solution from the comfort of their home.
• This solution (especially the VR Part) aims at democratizing shopping experience for all. It will provide equal opportunities for specially-abled people to a more enhanced user experience by significantly reducing safety concerns and physical effort

Future Roadmap:
• Additional features like digital payment gateways, customer support modules etc. are going to be interfaced with our solution.
• In process of using Photogrammetry to create 3D models to reduce lead time to develop/modify the solution.
• We are also working to make this walkthrough more interactive by providing multiplayer VR experience, i.e., multiple people can be connected to the walkthrough at the same time using their virtual Avatars, just like in real life.