2015/07/03 - Products

Augmented reality: Virbac, the UK pioneer!

Illustration realite augmentee.pngNovember 2014, London. For its use of augmented reality technology Virbac UK is awarded the Best Large Stand award for the most innovative stand. Just a gadget or a genuine opportunity for improved communication? Some answers from the companion animal business unit director of the subsidiary.

What exactly does augmented reality involve?
The concept of augmented reality covers the various methods that can be used to realistically inlay virtual objects in a sequence of real images. To use it, you simply scan a code using a suitable application, such as Blippar, from a smartphone or a tablet. The scanned object is then brought to life on the user's screen, interactively providing them with a range of different information.

What are the actual applications?
There are many uses. This technology can be used with any media, starting with product packaging, so at the end of 2014 we started with the Milpro and Prinovox parasiticide treatments. The aim was to offer an innovative means of communication in a saturated and highly competitive market. By scanning the code found on the packaging, vets and owners can access informative videos. For example, these may deal with the risks to animals caused by parasites or with the use of the product. In addition there is a free-text reminder system which forms part of monitoring of the treatment.

Are there other uses?
Yes. Waiting rooms are strategic locations for communicating with owners. We've therefore used the augmented reality principle on displays in vets' clinics. At the London Vet Show at the end of 2014, our stand was fully "blippable" and as a result we won the Best Large Stand award for our innovative approach. Finally, in addition to press releases we've created, a specific "Virtual Virbac" image which is incorporated into all promotional documentation. When scanned, this gives access to information on the four latest products launched by the subsidiary, plus dedicated Virbac contact details.

What are the benefits of this technology?
80% of the world's population own a mobile phone and information is increasingly obtained through digital media. In the context of veterinary practice this free access to information has thrown up a particular set of problems: information can be obtained on the Internet with a single click, but this information is not always in compliance with regulations or may be incorrect. It may even be dangerous where medication or illnesses are concerned. Augmented reality therefore provides a 'fun' way of communicating reliable information to vets and owners through their preferred channel for gathering information. Thanks to the free-text reminder system, it’s also an effective way of ensuring treatment recommendations are followed. We have by the way the full support of the NOAH association that represents the animal health industry in the United Kingdom.

What are the advantages for the subsidiary?
We are the first pharmaceutical laboratory to use augmented reality in the United Kingdom. In addition, the connection statistics show that Virbac packaging has been "blipped" thousands of times since the launch at the end of 2014. At the request of veterinary practitioners therefore we've initiated the study phase for other products, in particular Indorex and Zenifel. To be continued...