T-Mobile U.S. and the research and development unit of Deutsche Telekom, T-Labs, today unveiled T-Challenge, which the sponsors described as a global competition “for startups, developers, researchers and designers to submit innovative research and solutions for using 5G networks and extended reality (XR) technology to transform retail.”
The T-Challenge includes a Solution Development category for applicants to submit “new viable XR products,” and a Concept and Design Creation category for applicants to submit “tangible concepts or designs of future prototype XR experiences.” As many as 20 finalists will receive an all-expenses paid trip to Bonn, where they will present their solutions to top leaders of the sponsor telecom companies. Six winners of the T-Challenge will split 600,000 euros, or over half a million U.S. dollars, in prize money.
Augmented reality is already impacting retail as consumers look for more engaged and personalized experiences. Companies offering AR experiences are 41% more likely to be considered by consumers, according to a new report from Deloitte Digital and Snap. Additionally, according to the report, nearly 75% of consumers say they’re willing to pay more for a product that promises the transparency that AR can provide, while 56% of consumers agree AR gives them more confidence about product quality with over half indicating they want to use AR technology to assess products, allowing for a risk-free “try before you buy” option.
“Our Ultra Capacity 5G network is the perfect platform for extended reality experiences that can better connect us to products and information,” said Neville Ray, T-Mobile U.S. president of technology, in a prepared statement. “Retail is an area that’s ripe for disruption and we see a tremendous opportunity to engage consumers in new ways. Shopping inside virtual stores from the comfort of your own home and exploring products in 3D are just the start of where the industry is going, and I can’t wait to experience what comes next.”
With their heavy investment in 5G technology, carriers are looking for ways to maximize customer usage. T-Mobile is also using the technology for industrial robotics and for business incubators in addition to promoting usage in retail.