Created by NZ-based technology firm Spyglass, V is a female hologram that fulfills the role of a living, breathing Harvey Norman staff member.
“We use variations on transparent screen technology to create images which integrate seamlessly with their surroundings,” explains the Spyglass website.
The virtual presenter consists of a pre-recorded video projected over an acrylic cut-out; with hidden speakers and vinyl graphic prints adding to the illusion. The end result is a life-size hologram reminiscent of Princess Leia in Star Wars.
There are currently six V holograms in existence (one for each State), which will appear in Harvey Norman stores up and down the country over the coming months. During its debut in Sydney, V talked up Rowenta’s new vacuum cleaner range while clutching an Apple iPad 2 tablet.
Could the virtual presenter be an attempt to offer customers something they can't get by shopping online? For years, Gerry Harvey has been notably wary of e-commerce, which he sees as a threat to traditional brick-and-mortar stores. Last week, the executive chairman launched the Harvey Norman 'Big Buys' website, despite concerns that an online store would “cannibalise" profits.
Whatever the intention, we have to admit that V presents a pretty compelling reason to visit a Harvey Norman store. If you can't beat 'em with prices, beat 'em with cool holograms!
You can view a brief demo of Spyglass' Virtual Presenter technology below.
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Issue: 343 | October 2015