These AR holograms look good enough to eat.
Part of the experience of going to a good restaurant is being presented with lots of tempting choices. When faced with page upon page of delicious and intriguing descriptions, some of us fall back on trusty favorites (my husband will order a steak nine times out of ten) while others enjoy trying new things. If you’re anything like me, however, you’ll constantly drive your dining companions crazy by freezing with indecision like a deer in the proverbial headlights.
“Picture yourself eating it, which one would be tastier?” my husband would urge, impatient to order his steak already. But when gripped by indecision, it’s often hard to visualize things in any meaningful way, especially in restaurants that get all fancy and creative with their dish descriptions and presentation. We can probably all relate to craning our necks over to peek at someone else’s plate as it arrives, or kicking ourselves when the food arrives and you realize the person next to you got what you had really wanted all along. Upon such experiences many evenings are ruined.
This is why I got quite excited when I heard about a start-up called Kabaq, which is using AR to help you make your mind up based on what a dish actually looks like, and their 3D renditions are so realistic that you can practically smell or taste them.
Kabaq Co-Founder Alper Guler explains that for the past two years his team has been perfecting a proprietary process for creating hyper-realistic culinary models – one of the most difficult products to capture in 3D. They optimize the content for augmented reality, then manage and distribute it agnostically to all AR-supported platforms for their clients, which now include Dominos, Grubhub, Subway and Dunkin. You can even preview what your wedding cake would look like at Magnolia bakery.
CEO Mike Cadoux says 2018 has been a great year for AR, with Snapchat and Facebook enabling developers like them to push content on their platforms. “Our view numbers went from 20K to 1MM in a week. Looking into 2019, with Apple and Google starting to support Web based AR experiences, I believe we will see more useful AR experiences from brands soon. Augmented Reality continues to grow along a traditional path for new technologies – from initial uses like playful entertainment, to large scale integrations into everyday businesses, specifically advertising and retail showcasing.”
The AR retail showcasing market is expected to show a 133% Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) over the next five years, reaching $24.4B, according to the IDC. Companies like Google, Apple, Microsoft, Snapchat and Facebook are investing billions into the technology, and companies like Kabaq fill a gap in this emerging market by providing true-to-life presentation and dynamic storytelling. They are now also looking to scale their business into other verticals like fashion, luxury and consumer packaged goods.