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The Future is Screenless

Screenless technology uses augmented reality to superimpose interactable imageries on users’ surroundings. AR is redefining the future of experiences. This article brings forth applications of augmented reality in designing screenless interfaces. It also discusses the psychological impact of augmenting computer-generated visuals in the real world.

Applications of Augmented Reality in Screenless Technology

According to MarketsandMarkets research, the screenless display market is projected to reach $5.7 billion by 2020. In a near-future, augmented reality would be able to project imagery onto almost any surface and medium. However, there’s another aspect of screenless interfaces accompanied by audio and haptics.

Future is screenless infographic

AR Audio

Imagine you come across a billboard with a picture of diamond jewellery. You’re impressed and want to know more about the ad. Typically, you’ll pick your phone, type some search queries and then get to know the information about the product. What if you can skip the process and get the information instantly?

AR Audio gives audio responses according to the user’s visual cues. It fulfils the user’s need for information on demand immediately. The technology is advancing to an extent that the AR device can measure your gaze direction and locate the objects in your range of vision!

Sturfee’s Visual Positioning Service (VPS) is a remarkable attempt towards AR innovations.





Seamless Projection

The recent development in augmented reality eliminates the need for bulky headsets or special glasses to see an augmented view of the world. In fact, the screenless display market is projected to reach $5.7 Bn by 2020.

This is possible by seamlessly projecting the imagery in a shared physical space. That is, mapping the imagery on a street or a playground, where many people can simultaneously witness the virtual aspects of augmented reality. The ability to project visuals seamlessly on any surface is one of the biggest applications of augmented reality feasible today.

Humane Creatures

The next take on coupling augmented reality with artificial intelligence is the development of humane creatures or avatars. These human-like intelligent beings can act as a learning companion for children suffering from autism. Augmented reality can smartly interact with children, ask questions, encourage, offer suggestions, and can be a companion in their tough time.

In her book – The Art of Screen Time, Anya Kamenetz mentions Alex, a research project directed by Cassell’s PhD student Samantha Finkelstein. Alex is a gender-ambiguous 8-year-old intelligent augmented reality avatar. During an experiment in a classroom at a charter school in Pittsburgh, students along with Alex discuss their know-how about a picture of a dinosaur. Alex couldn’t catch everything that other students were saying and sometimes his responses are inappropriate. But, this illusion of conversation is a step forward towards the new developments in the AR arena.

Screenless Time?

‘Modifying reality’ is putting a question mark on the psychological impact of augmented reality. Augmented reality together with artificial intelligence is creating environments next to real. Are our mental-models ready to adapt? Or a sudden disruption is going to play with our sentiments? Unfortunately, there are no concrete answers to these questions. 

Today, kids (aged between 8 & 18) spend on average more than 7 hours every day looking at screens. However, the new AHA guideline recommends screen time to be at a maximum of two hours per day. In the not so distant future, kids will be growing up with AR accompanying them throughout their day. Whether they are learning about something new or shopping online, AR will have merged and formed a virtual tether with their daily routines. 

While screenless AR does pose several questions around its ethical benefits — with responsible use we can harness the best from this technology.

Augmented Reality Best Practices

  1. While using Augmented Reality in design, keep in mind the users’ real-world context. Do not distract or mislead them for social, political, or economic benefits.
  2. Do not play with emotions or drown user senses into meaningless things.
  3. Augmented Reality is data-rich. Ensure the safety of users’ data.

Concluding Remarks

Haptics, gesture control, Synaptics, and triggered imagery are adding intractability to the screenless technology. Today, video games and retail are harnessing augmented reality the most. The future awaits more applications of augmented reality to build screenless interfaces across different industries.

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Retention playbook for Insurance firms in the backdrop of financial crises

4 minutes read

Belonging to one of the oldest industries in the world, Insurance companies have weathered multiple calamities over the years and have proven themselves to be resilient entities that can truly stand the test of time. Today, however, the industry faces some of its toughest trials yet. Technology has fundamentally changed what it means to be an insurer and the cumulative effects of the pandemic coupled with a weak global economic output have impacted the industry in ways both good and bad.

Chart, line chart

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Source: Deloitte Services LP Economic Analysis

For instance, the U.S market recorded a sharp dip in GDP in the wake of the pandemic and it was expected that the economy would bounce back bringing with it a resurgent demand for all products (including insurance) across the board. It must be noted that the outlook toward insurance products changed as a result of the pandemic. Life insurance products were no longer an afterthought, although profitability in this segment declined over the years. Property-and-Casualty (P&C) insurance, especially motor insurance, continued to be a strong driver, while health insurance proved to be the fastest-growing segment with robust demand from different geographies

Simultaneously, the insurance industry finds itself on the cusp of an industry-wide shift as technology is starting to play a greater role in core operations. In particular, technologies such as AI, AR, and VR are being deployed extensively to retain customers amidst this technological and economic upheaval.

Double down on digital

For insurance firms, IT budgets were almost exclusively dedicated to maintaining legacy systems, but with the rise of InsurTech, it is imperative that firms start dedicating more of their budgets towards developing advanced capabilities such as predictive analytics, AI-driven offerings, etc. Insurance has long been an industry that makes extensive use of complex statistical and mathematical models to guide pricing and product development strategies. By incorporating the latest technological advances with the rich data they have accumulated over the years, insurance firms are poised to emerge stronger and more competitive than ever.

Using AI to curate a bespoke customer experience

Insurance has always been a low-margin affair and success in the business is primarily a function of selling the right products to the right people and reducing churn as much as possible. This is particularly important as customer retention is normally conceived as an afterthought in most industries, as evidenced in the following chart.

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        Source: econconusltancy.com

AI-powered tools (even with narrow capabilities) can do wonders for the insurance industry at large. When architected in the right manner, they can be used to automate a bulk of the standardized and automated processes that insurance companies have. AI can be used to automate and accelerate claims, assess homeowner policies via drones, and facilitate richer customer experiences through sophisticated chatbots. Such advances have a domino effect of increasing CSAT scores, boosting retention rates, reducing CACs, and ultimately improving profitability by as much as 95%.

Crafting immersive products through AR/VR

Customer retention is largely a function of how good a product is, and how effective it is in solving the customers’ pain points. In the face of increasing commodification, insurance companies that go the extra mile to make the buying process more immersive and engaging can gain a definite edge over competitors.

Globally, companies are flocking to implement AR/VR into their customer engagement strategies as it allows them to better several aspects of the customer journey in one fell swoop. Relationship building, product visualization, and highly personalized products are some of the benefits that AR/VR confers to its wielders.  

By honoring the customer sentiments of today and applying a slick AR/VR-powered veneer over its existing product layer, insurance companies can cater to a younger audience (Gen Z) by educating them about insurance products and tailoring digital delivery experiences. This could pay off in the long run by building a large customer base that could be retained and served for a much longer period.

The way forward

The Insurance industry is undergoing a shift of tectonic proportions as an older generation makes way for a new and younger one that has little to no perceptions about the industry. By investing in next-generation technologies such as AR/VR, firms can build new products to capture this new market and catapult themselves to leadership positions simply by way of keeping up with the times.

We have already seen how AR is a potential game-changer for the insurance industry. It is only a matter of time before it becomes commonplace.

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