Saturn customers can now try out shopping with augmented reality

Ingolstadt, 02.05.2017: How about chasing Pokémon Go monsters right across town, testing which TV looks best in your living room, or even trying on new clothes without having to go into the changing room? Something which only recently still seemed like science fiction has now been made possible – by augmented reality. In early May, Saturn will be taking its grand ‘HoloTour’ on the road to present this brand new technology in selected stores. Customers will be able to explore a new shopping experience in which virtual items are displayed in real environments, hence ‘augmenting’ the perception of reality. It all works on the basis of special smartglasses, the Microsoft ‘HoloLens’, which project 3-D images and information into the normal field of vision. Running until the end of July, the HoloTour will stop off at 20 Saturn stores in German cities.

“During the HoloTour, once again we’re enabling Saturn’s customers to experience innovative technology,” declared Martin Wild, Chief Digital Officer of the MediaMarktSaturn Retail Group. “We’ll be showing our customers the fascinating possibilities offered by augmented reality and providing a glimpse of tomorrow’s far more personalized shopping. Moreover, we’ll be finding out how our customers interact with the new technology.”

Mixed reality 
Like virtual reality, augmented reality also requires a special headset. For Saturn’s demo tour, the HoloLens developed by Microsoft will be used – smartglasses which move holograms and multimedia content into the field of vision without blocking genuine reality. Furthermore, the HoloLens can also play back acoustic elements such as language, music and other sounds. The result is a striking blend of real and augmented reality – or mixed reality.

Product demonstrations by Paula the avatar
The new technology will be demonstrated to customers during a guided tour of a real Saturn store, during which three new items from Saturn’s product range will be shown. After a brief introduction, customers can put on the smartglasses and will see a virtual figure named Paula, who will march ahead of them through the store and can speak, too. Paula will escort them to the three products and explain them in detail: the new Samsung S8 smartphone, the Microsoft Notebook Surface Pro 4 and Dyson’s Big Ball Allergy vacuum cleaner. As soon as the customer has reached the area where the actual product is on display, the HoloLens will additionally flash up additional, graphically processed information. At the same time, they’ll hear Paula talking about the product. At the end of the tour, customers return the smartglasses and if they like will also be given a souvenir photo.

Unlimited possibilities 
Technological experts regard augmented reality as a topic with great future potential. It can be used in myriad ways, including for information, entertainment and education. During the HoloTour, by giving customers a chance to explore this fascinating technology right now, Saturn will be emphatically underlining its role as a retail innovator.

The Saturn HoloTour will be visiting the following stores: 
May 4–6: Saturn Ingolstadt
May 8–10: Saturn Berlin Alexanderplatz
May 11–13: Saturn Hamburg Altstadt
May 15–17: Saturn Berlin Europa-Center
May 18–20: Saturn Dresden
May 22–24: Saturn Munich, Neuhauser Strasse
May 29–31: Saturn Braunschweig
June 1–3: Saturn Hanover
June 8–10: Saturn Stuttgart
June 12–14: Saturn Aachen
June 19–21: Saturn Frankfurt Zeil
June 22–24: Saturn Mannheim
June 26–28: Saturn Cologne, Maybachstrasse
June 29 – July 1: Sevens – Home of Saturn Düsseldorf 
July 3–5: Saturn Essen
July 6–8: Saturn Oberhausen
July 10–12: Saturn Dortmund City
July 13–15: Saturn Bochum
July 17–19: Saturn Regensburg
July 20–22: Saturn Munich, Theresienhöhe

The differences between AR and VR 
Both augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are currently attracting considerable attention and experts predict enormous growth rates for the new technologies. But while VR involves complete immersion into a different, digital reality, in AR, virtual content is displayed on top of reality. In order to be able to use the new technologies, you need either smartglasses which influence your perception of the environment or a good smartphone.

Various types of VR headsets and systems – for consoles, PCs or smart phones – came onto the market last year and are hence now available to the general public. Using high-resolution displays and movement sensors, these headsets simulate totally new digital worlds for the user. Whether ski-jumping, riding on a rollercoaster or surfing in Hawaii, VR allows users to experience a different reality and feel totally immersed in the action.

Theoretically, all you need to enjoy augmented reality applications is a good smartphone. Then again, the first AR smartglasses like the HoloLens are already on sale. The advantage of AR smartglasses is that you don’t need to hold a smartphone. What’s more, unlike VR headsets, AR smartglasses don’t even have to be connected to any other external devices since microcomputers are already built into the sides. Since the displays are semi-transparent, deceptively realistic virtual content can be juxtaposed onto the real environment. When the wallpaper in your living room is turned into a giant video screen or a small Elvis starts dancing on your coffee table, you’ll quickly realize that the possibilities of AR are virtually endless!