At the moment, it would be safe to say that demand for devices running Tango, Google's augmented reality smartphone platform, is relatively low among consumers. Kaon Interactive, a B2B software company who has built more than 5,000 interactive applications for use at trade shows, remote sales demonstrations, and other customer engagements, is betting that there is a market for the devices in sales and marketing.
In February, the company introduced its High Velocity Marketing Platform, an application for Tango devices that allows companies to show off fully-scaled 3D models of their product catalogs in the customer's work environment.
"AR is a game-changer for B2B marketers as it enables them to almost magically have their products appear in their customer's environment, whether that be a laboratory, data center, manufacturing plant or other workplace," Gavin Finn, President and CEO, Kaon Interactive, said in a press release.
The platform is currently available with Kaon applications for Cisco, Dell EMC, and Schneider Electric. Each of the apps is compatible for standard Android devices, with Cisco and Schneider Electric also offering iOS versions; The apps present the AR enhancements when the device is detected to be Tango-enabled. The companies are currently using the Tango features mainly at trade shows.
Taking advantage of Tango's sensor array, the 3D models are rendered as they would appear in a given room. The models render in crisp detail; Move the device closer to the model, and you can clearly read even the port labels on devices.
The 3D product models are photo-realistic (not rendered from industrial design or CAD models) resulting in a completely differentiated perspective. The 3D product models are INTERACTIVE while in AR mode—users can place the objects in a real space, and open doors, remove parts, move the individual components around, etc.
The Lenovo Phab 2 Pro, the only commercially-available Tango device, is ranked #633 among unlocked smartphones on Amazon. Granted, this is a category led by entry-level devices by Blu and, coincidentally, Lenovo's Motorola brand.
While the forthcoming ASUS ZenFone AR emerged from its reveal at CES 2017 with favorable coverage, it remains to be seen whether Tango will be viable as a device for the average consumer. For business applications, though, Tango has its advantages.
"It is the only technology that currently supports proper scaling of virtual objects in a real world space, without having to use identification cards or symbols, with unlimited freedom of motion," said Dana Drissel, Vice President of Marketing at Kaon Interactive, in an email to NextReality.
And they might be on to something here. Kaon's app was one of five products to take home a Buyers Choice Award from the New Product Showcase of 44 products at EXHIBITORLIVE, a trade show for trade show exhibits that took place earlier this month.
Ignore the opportunity for an Xzibit meme, and one sees the popular sentiment for the application among sales and marketing representatives. Browsing through the products available in these apps, the benefits become apparent—a Cisco ASR 9000 series router is not easily carried to customer locations or trade shows.
This ability to see, feel, touch and interact with these digital 3D products in the customer's own business setting sparks an emotional connection that significantly improves the sales experience and accelerates the sales cycle.
Drissel notes that participating companies are currently using the apps mainly at trade shows, with full rollouts to sales teams forthcoming. Still, Kaon is already seeing usage of the AR features doubling the traditional screen-based interactions for these apps, and they are prepared to expand support.
"You could go to any point solution provider to have them create an application for Tango," Drissel said. "But what sets Kaon apart is that our customers have already deployed these interactive 3D product model applications, which are now IMMEDIATELY available to them in AR as part of our platform."
Can business-focused applications boost Tango's popularity? Tell us what you think in the comments section below.