Virtualization Technology News and Information
AR Cloud is Becoming a Buzzword: What is it Exactly?

Let's be honest, augmented reality sounds like something out of The Matrix. But no, it's not science fiction, it is a powerful technology available right now that could take your business to the next level.

An Augmented Reality (AR) Cloud is a way to engage thousands of users from anywhere in the world and give them a customer experience like no other. Intrigued? You should be!

Read on to find out exactly what an AR cloud is, and some of the incredible ways it can enhance your business model. This article is focused mainly on retail businesses, but the benefits of AR can be applied to a huge range of industries.

What is augmented reality?

Augmented reality includes any kind of real-time integration between the physical and digital world. This is done through technology like a mobile phone, laptop, or headset.

Think of AR as an extra layer or filter that goes between the real world and the user. Anything that a user ‘sees' in real life (through their device's camera) can be ‘augmented' using AR. For example, you can add digital objects to the physical landscape for your customer to interact with virtually.

The rise and rise of AR

The AR market was valued at over $70 billion in 2021, with potential growth to $75 billion by next year. AR is getting more popular every year, with no signs of slowing down.

Like email, the international phone number, or social media, AR is just the latest technology revolutionizing how businesses interact with each other and their customers. 


Image source

AR and the cloud

Some AR is localized within one device. This can still enhance a customer's experience to some extent, but using an AR cloud provides a more community-like and less isolated version.

The cloud refers to any software that runs on the Internet through multiple servers instead of being hosted locally. So you can access something on the cloud from any device no matter where you are. The remote servers also lower the workload on a user's personal device, which makes it accessible even on some older hardware.

Reduced workload makes cloud technology especially appealing to mobile software developers, since these smaller devices cannot process as much as those bigger desktops or servers.

Integrating AR and cloud technology means that augmented reality experiences can be shared across many devices, and that the users can connect to each other in real-time. An AR cloud works on a 3D digital model of the real world, which is how AR experiences interact seamlessly with any real-world location.

Case studies

The best way to understand AR clouds is using examples. This next section explains two successful applications of AR technology to retail from Fanta and IKEA. After this we'll set out some ways you could apply AR cloud technology to your own business.


Fanta's ‘It's A Thing' campaign included AR features that were triggered by poster advertisements out in the real world. People were invited to scan Snapchat codes with their mobile phones which opened exclusive Snapchat filters related to each Fanta flavor.


Image source

This AR campaign was especially successful because it targeted a specific demographic within Fanta's customer base: teenagers. Snapchat is most popular with young people, which made it the ideal platform to appeal to this user base.


Online furniture retailers always have photos of a product so that a customer can see what they look like in an example room. But will it still look good in that specific customer's home? IKEA used AR to come up with a solution.


Image source

Every page in the IKEA catalog can be scanned by a mobile device to bring up a life-size digital version of any product. This allows the customer to see exactly what a sofa, table, or bookshelf would look like next to their existing furniture.

A catalog plays a crucial role in any retailer's BOPIS strategy, so using AR only enhances this experience for IKEA customers. What is BOPIS? Well, it stands for ‘buy online, pickup in store'. Some customers are put off online shopping because they don't get to experience the product in real life before buying - seeing the product in AR removes some of this hesitation.

Customers are therefore encouraged to move from browsing to making a purchase because they have an even better understanding of the product. It can also be linked to increased customer satisfaction, as the AR visualization makes it easier to choose a product they'll be happy with.

How to make the AR Cloud work for you

Now we've looked at how IKEA and Fanta used augmented reality. Let's go through some of the ways you can use this technology in your own business. Feel free to use these ideas for inspiration. This is just a selection though, there are far more ways to use AR clouds that can be listed in one article.

Enhance in-store experience

There's only so much information that can be put on a product's label or packaging. AR elements like FAQs or reviews can create a customer experience that combines the best parts of online and in-store shopping.

9 out of 10 customers read reviews before making a purchase online, so why not bring that into the real world too?

A fully digital 3D model of your store would be included in the AR cloud, which would work together with the location technology on the customer's device. This would give them information that is relevant to exactly where they are in the store, and adapt while they shop.


Image source

Try before you buy

Augmented reality helps customers choose the product that suits them best, just like in the IKEA example. However, this technology can also be used by retailers in the clothing or beauty industry, just to name a couple.

Online clothes shopping doesn't usually give customers the opportunity to try on clothes before purchasing. This is one reason why the return rate for online purchases is 25%, while it is only 8% for those made in store.

Clothes shopping in the AR cloud could show customers what an item would look like on them, all in the comfort of their own home. You want to try a different color? With just the press of a button that would be possible.

Hide and go seek

The beauty of AR technology is that it uses the physical world just as much as the real world. So use that to your advantage wherever you can. Something like a QR code could be the trigger for an augmented reality experience, but you can get creative about where those activation codes can be found.

Let's say your company puts dozens of QR code stickers around a city. Instead of just linking to your normal website, have it activate an AR element like a cool animation showing off your product. This will set your campaign apart from other adverts and make it more likely to stick in that consumer's mind.

Social media content

We already know that social media is a hugely important tool for marketing. In fact, more than 91% of businesses in the USA are now using social media in their marketing strategies. AR allows your social media content to jump off the screen and into the consumer's real world.

Many companies now have branded AR filters, often with a complementary hashtag, that users can include in their Facebook videos or Instagram stories. This builds a connected community of people who all love your brand, and gives you a collection of user-generated content.

In the workplace

We've focused on customer experience so far, but AR can also be applied to the workplace. In fact you might be using it already. Video conferencing software offers filters that can blur a caller's background or edit their appearance. Both of these count as augmented reality.

The possible uses are much more than just aesthetic, however. Imagine an office space that is mapped into an AR cloud:

  • Popups when you pass by a colleague's workspace that give you their name, pronouns and what they specialize in, so you know who to ask for advice and how to refer to them.
  • Physical whiteboards that can be scanned so any notes from a meeting or team chat are uploaded digitally to the cloud for future reference.
  • An AR training program to support new hires as they learn their way around the office

Testing the software

Just one last tip before we finish up this guide to the AR cloud. Always test your technology thoroughly before launching it to customers. Your software needs to work from anywhere, so test it in as many of your stores as possible.

There are many ways to test an app for any bugs before launching it. The easiest method is to use an external tool like Appium, Kobito or TestRail. What is TestRail? It is one of many app testing and debugging softwares that can identify any problems with your app before launch.

Closing notes

Many brands have already made use of AR clouds, but there is still so much potential to be explored. No matter what stage of the customer experience you want to improve, there is room for an AR element.

We hope that you now have a better understanding of augmented reality and feel inspired by the examples in this article.

Good luck with your own AR journey!



Severine Hierso


Severine Hierso is EMEA Senior Product Marketing Manager for RingCentral Office, the leader in cloud business phone solutions, and is passionate about creating value, differentiation and messaging, ensuring a better experience for customers and partners.

She has gained extensive international Product Marketing, Market Research, Sales Enablement and Business development experience across SaaS, Telecommunications, Video Conferencing and Technology sectors within companies such as Sony, Cisco, Cogeco Peer 1 and Dimension Data/NTT. Severine Hierso also published articles for domains such as Recruiterflow and CEO Blog Nation.

Published Monday, April 18, 2022 7:31 AM by David Marshall
Filed under: ,
There are no comments for this post.
To post a comment, you must be a registered user. Registration is free and easy! Sign up now!
<April 2022>