An iPhone app being developed by IBM Research in Haifa is promising to
revolutionize mobile shopping.
According to an announcement released
Monday by the Haifa facility, the first-of-its-kind mobile augmented reality app
being developed will make it possible for consumers to pan store shelves with
their cameras on their mobile devices and receive personalized product
information, recommendations and coupons while they browse the
Superimposed information provided by the app will point out
products that the shopper prefers, based on previous purchases, or other
parameters ranging from price and consumer rating to sodium content or
environmentally friendly packaging, according to Sima Nadler, IBM Research’s
Upon entering a store, consumers will download the
app and create a profile of the product features that matter to them. When they
point their device’s video camera at merchandise, the app will instantly
recognize products and, via augmented reality technology, overlay digital
details on the images – like ingredients, price, reviews and discounts that
apply that day.
According to Nadler, the app addresses the fundamental
gap between the wealth of readily available product details on the Web that
in-store shoppers don’t have access to – despite the fact that in-store shopping
accounts for more than 92 percent of the retail volume.
“In the age of
social media, consumer expectations are soaring and people want information and
advice about the products they’re going to buy,” Nadler said. “By closing the
gap between the online and in-store shopping experience, marketers can appeal to
the individual needs of consumers and keep them coming back.”
example, using IBM’s prototype app, a shopper looking for breakfast cereal could
specify they want a brand low in sugar, highly rated by consumers and on sale.
As the shopper pans his or her mobile device’s camera across a shelf of cereal
boxes, the augmented shopping app will reveal which cereals meet the criteria
and also provides a same-day coupon to entice consumers to make a
The IBM Haifa research facility was established in 1972 and is
the company’s biggest research center outside the US.