Imagine walking down the aisle of a grocery store and picking up a banana and suddenly there’s information on its nutritional value, along with a special promotion, floating above!

Sound far off? The supermarket of the future is here now. Coop Italia, Italy’s largest grocery chain, for instance, has already debuted an augmented reality supermarket that has interactive tables with more than 6,000 displayed products.

Carlo Ratti Associati, the tech design firm behind it explains: “As a shopper puts her hand close to a product, extra information about the food appears on a suspended digital mirror above—as in seamless augmented reality. Through these ‘augmented labels,’ each product can communicate its nutritional properties, its origin, the presence of allergens, waste disposal instructions, correlated products and promotions and other data, potentially encouraging a stronger use of fresh, local products, and even new social links among people.”

Could AR replace the smartphone? Maybe.

Augmented reality is currently being used in a number of consumer-facing retail applications from “magic” mirrors which enable shoppers to virtually try on clothing and makeup to at-shelf promotions that allow consumers with a smartphone to find out more info about the product, enter a contest or more.

But the tech race is on among Apple, Facebook, Magic Leap and Microsoft’s HoloLens to create “augmented reality glasses that could one day replace the smartphone as consumers’ primary computing device,” reports the Financial Times.

Bloomberg reports that Apple is “working on several AR products, including digital spectacles that could connect wirelessly to an iPhone and beam content—movies, maps and more—to the wearer.” Adding, “It’s an auspicious moment for Apple to move into augmented reality. The global market for AR products will surge 80 percent to $165 billion by 2024, according to researcher Global Market Insights.”

For brands and consumers this, of course, would ultimately open a whole new wild world. But for now, Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, says, in an interview with Bloomberg News, that Apple is “building [augmented reality] into iOS 11, opening it to developers—and unleashing the creativity of millions of people,” adding, “There’s some things that you can already get a vision of. We’ve talked to IKEA, and they have 3D images of their furniture line. You’re talking about changing the whole experience of how you shop for, in this case, furniture and other objects that you can place around the home.”

And for consumers? “You’re going to see some consumer things that are unbelievably cool. Can we do everything we want to do now? No. The technology’s not complete yet. But that’s the beauty to a certain degree. This has a runway. And it’s an incredible runway. It’s time to put the seat belt on and go.”

e|wmg: Taking off with one-of-a-kind experiences

At e|wmg, we’ve been creating unbelievably cool experiences for consumers for years. Augmented reality? We brought the future to the Stone Age! We created exciting interactive packaging for Pebbles cereal’s augmented reality “Race Through Bedrock” game app, which kids downloaded on their digital device. Kids could lay out their own course using markers from the packaging to race as either Fred or Barney. And, for extra excitement, points for navigating the course could be used online at PebblesPlay.com. The result? Yabba-dabba doo brand excitement that led to increased sales!

So next time you’re in need of one-of-a-kind packaging excitement for an AR project, just give us a call—we’ll do the driving.