Skip to content
  • KOSPI 3202.32 -40.33 -1.24%
  • KOSDAQ 1031.14 -12.99 -1.24%
  • KOSPI200 423.91 -5.58 -1.30%
  • USD/KRW 1147.4 -7.40 -0.64%
  • JPY100/KRW 1,048.48 -2.34 -0.22%
  • EUR/KRW 1,364.6 -3.32 -0.24%
  • CNH/KRW 177.12 -0.12 -0.07%
View Market Snapshot

Startups

RECON Labs to drive AR commerce by cutting content creation costs by up to 99%

By Apr 01, 2021 (Gmt+09:00)

RECON Labs' CEO Ban Seong-hoon speaks at D. Day startup demo event.  
RECON Labs' CEO Ban Seong-hoon speaks at D. Day startup demo event.  

Does the adoption of augmented reality (AR) technology in e-commerce platforms drive sales? The answer is yes, as the purchase conversion rate for products sold using AR technology has been shown to be 80% higher than products without AR,  in addition to return rates dropping by 40%, according to market research firms Big Commerce and AR Insider. 

The problem is the cost. Items need to be 3D modeled through photography or video to convert physical products into AR content, costing anywhere from $270 to $2,700 per product. In addition to the cost, it takes more than $90,000 and over eight months to develop an app for each company trying to use AR. Hence, AR commerce has not been very popular in the world of online shopping.

But there is a South Korean startup that is revolutionizing the AR commerce market by dramatically reducing the time and cost of 3D modeling. 

"We can reduce the 3D modeling price to around $30 to $50 and shorten the modeling time to between one and three hours for a single product via our AseeO technology," said Ban Seong-hoon, the chief executive of RECON Labs, in an interview with The Korea Economic Daily on Mar. 30.

RECON Labs' core solution, its minimum viable product (MVP), AseeO, can extract around 100 photos from a video that offers a 360-degree view of a product, and then automatically generate a 3D model. It also provides automatic AR conversion through machine learning.

The most impressive aspect of RECON Lab’s technology is their groundbreaking development of an automated 3D modeling method based on neural radiance field (NeRF).

Previously, 3D modeling was achieved by scanning key points on the object and connecting the dots. In contrast, RECON Labs detects the way light travels through the object to infer the product shape, which allows for automated 3D modeling of transparent objects.

Another advantage of RECON Labs is its ability to provide AR services through web browsers instead of apps. AR features can be added onto web-based e-commerce platforms by embedding a link without developing a separate app, potentially saving thousands of dollars in app development fees.

RECON Labs' web-based AR platform used to position sofas (Right: AR sofa)
RECON Labs' web-based AR platform used to position sofas (Right: AR sofa)


Founded in 2019, RECON Labs was initially set up as a virtual reality (VR) business to create VR content to be used during various social events. However, the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has indefinitely cancelled many events, dealing a heavy blow to the company.

RECON Labs eventually pivoted its revenue model to a subscription-based service targeting manufacturers that need to make AR content and vendors that use them. In six months, the company developed its AseeO core solution. 

The company plans to roll out the beta service on Apr. 8 and officially launch the service this November.

Graphics by Jerry Lee.
Graphics by Jerry Lee.

AR MARKET EXPECTED TO FACE EXPLOSIVE GROWTH

The AR commerce market is rapidly expanding, especially in the US. According to AR Insider, the total sales of products sold via AR commerce stood at around $2.4 billion in 2020. The figure is forecast to rise to $36.6 billion by 2024.

"It's important to cultivate an AR-based product image that customers want to purchase, so we're planning to add filters or other interactive features to our AR service," said Ban.

The company aims to build a real-time service by 2023 and hopes to create a "metaverse shopping mall" in the long term using its own accumulated 3D modelling data.

Metaverse, combining “meta” and “universe,” is a shared virtual space that converges virtual and physical realms to bring imagination to life.

RECON Labs is made up of VR content developers and electrical engineering experts. CEO Ban is a VR, AR expert with a doctorate in Culture Technology from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST). The chief technology officer (CTO), Yoon Kyung-won, earned a doctorate in mechanical engineering from Seoul National University.

Last March, RECON Labs participated in a startup demo day, D.Day, jointly organized by D.CAMP, a non-profit foundation for startups, and Lotte Group. The AR startup was one of the five finalists among 599 applicants given the opportunity to present at the D.Day event. The company has also been selected to move into Lotte Accelerator's startup hub, L Camp. 

"The adoption rate of AR commerce is on the rise globally, meaning that RECON Labs has a good chance of breaking into the international market," said Jun Young-min, the CEO of Lotte Accelerator.

So far, the startup has received initial funding from Bluepoint Partners and is currently seeking investors for a round of seed funding.

Write to Ga-yung Chu at gychu@hankyung.com

Elaine Jiwon Kim edited this article.

Comment 0

0/300