The University has joined forces with GSK Consumer Healthcare’s Shopper Science Lab for a two-year Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) which is exploring how Augmented Reality (AR) can provide innovative ways to improve real-world healthcare.
The aim of the partnership is to promote better healthcare choices by understanding how and why consumers select the healthcare products they do. The partnership combines 10 years of AR research undertaken in BCU’s Digital Media Technology Lab with GSK’s expertise in healthcare to fully unlock the true potential of AR, and is funded by InnovateUK.
Augmented Reality is the real-time use of virtual information in the form of text, graphics, audio and other virtual objects which are seamlessly integrated with the real-world. AR is having a major impact on many industries, including healthcare from assisting surgeons by providing better visualisation during surgery, to educating patients about their conditions and exploring important medical data in more immersive ways.
GSK has already been using immersive technology to help shoppers understand more about the science behind its products and gain a greater understanding of their own health. It is also using AR to help retailers visualise proposed marketing strategies and point-of-sale materials, creating 3D models of what their store could look like.
This partnership will discover more about how and why consumers select specific healthcare products, as well as mapping the conscious and subconscious factors that influence their purchasing decisions, and identifying opportunities to use the shopping experience to encourage responsible self-care and improve health literacy.
This will also help GSK to identify opportunities to support and simplify the decisions consumers are making – for example, through innovative new packaging or by sharing insights with pharmacist partners to deliver a smoother and more efficient in-store experience.
Dr Ian Williams, Associate Professor and Centre Lead Digital Media Technology at BCU, said: “This Knowledge Transfer Partnership between BCU’s DMT Lab and GSK CH is repositioning and transforming GSK Consumer Healthcare’s use of AR technology. This partnership is providing a fantastic opportunity for both academics and industry leaders to combine ideas, research and expertise into real application cases, which will provide a showcase to the potential future for AR business solutions.”
Dr Matthew Hogan, Knowledge Transfer Advisor at InnovateUK, added: “This exciting Knowledge Transfer Partnership will deliver a step change to GSK’s AR capability. Partnering with the cutting-edge knowledge in BCU’s DMT Lab will facilitate the rapid adoption of the latest thinking and advances in this fast-moving technical discipline.”
Jon Workman, UK and Ireland General Manager for GSK Consumer Healthcare said: “Working with the expert team at BCU gives us the opportunity to use the latest technological developments to understand factors influencing consumers’ decisions about how best to take care of themselves and their families. These insights will help us to achieve our goal to empower people to adopt long-term habits of responsible self-care.” Knowledge Transfer Partnerships is a UK-wide programme that has been helping businesses for the past 40 years to improve their competitiveness and productivity through the better use of knowledge, technology and skills that reside within the UK Knowledge Base. In a KTP, the University employs a graduate or postgraduate (the Associate) to work on site with the company, jointly supervised by company and university staff.