Insights EDU

3D Heatmaps: Create Measurable Value in 3D

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Mare Lensvelt | Marketing Manager | Fectar

10 Dec 2021 | 3 min read

Create, measure and adapt

In retail, training and education AR is implemented at increasing speed. The immersive and stimulating nature of this technology enhances user engagement, leading to increased knowledge retainment and/or higher conversion rates. Unfortunately what happens within the 3D augmented environment remains a black box. As usage increases teachers, marketeers and managers must ensure that the interactive 3D environments they are implementing match their goals.

Currently most data acquired from AR environments are metric data consisting of clicks, number of users or time spent. For 3D environments these data are insufficient. Spatial data is required to fully understand the journey of a user through a 3D AR scene. Movement through the environment and directional data provide relevant information on user behavior.

Data visualization is a central tool for the initial analysis of behavioral data. A heatmap is one of the commonly used techniques to directly visualize data. Heatmaps represent the magnitude of a certain phenomenon, for example how many users have viewed a particular object, in colours. The hue of the colour and intensity of the colour match the variation in intensity. Heatmaps make it easier to visualize and interpret complex data.

By integrating heatmaps of spatial data in the designated 3D AR environment with specific analytics tools, like for instance Fectar Heatmaps, we gain data-driven insight in user engagement and behavior within this space.

Optimisation of customer engagement

With this spatial information it is not hard to imagine how it improves insight into customer behavior within an e-commerce AR environment. Using a 3D heatmap you can easily identify hot spots (figure 1). Hot spots are based on the intensity of Field-of-Focus (FoF). Gazing intensity is defined as the time spent looking at a certain point of interest (POI). View count is the number of times a POI falls within the FoF. This information can be used in several ways. First of all, it helps you to identify what display is gathering the most attention and where natural hot spots are. These insights allow you to improve the 3D AR environment by adding interactive features to hot spots, thus increasing customer engagement and improving conversion rates. Secondly, the identification of hotspots can be used to highlight the USP of your product by drawing attention there.

Data-driven insight in learning

Augmented reality has been shown to increase knowledge retention by attracting student attention and increasing motivation. But as a teacher you want to be sure that within the 3D AR environment students are focused on the most relevant information. Using the 3D heatmap it is possible to judge the efficacy of the AR environment. For example, if you find that students initiate a video, but then immediately look away, you can assume that the video is not adding to the overall experience. Or if the heatmap shows that students are not focusing where you want them to, you can add highlights to a certain area to draw their attention to certain features. By adapting the AR environment based on the spatial data acquired from the heatmaps you optimize the learning effect for your students.

Improved efficacy in training

A similar case can be made for the use of heatmaps in safety training or onboarding programs. With 3D heatmaps, you can evaluate the effectiveness of the training. Apart from assessing whether all relevant POI in a training environment is focussed upon, this also allows you to alter the 3D AR space so that vital information on safety issues is located on natural hotspots. Complementing the previously mentioned advantages of 3D heatmaps for a larger group of users, it can be insightful to track the movements of participants within a 3D environment. The Heat Path shows how the users move through the space and hot spots at locations they stood still. This allows you to follow the path of trainees through space and determine, for example, if they have fulfilled all requirements to pass the training (figure 2).

The fourth dimension in 3D

So with the rapid growth of AR implementation in an increasing number of areas the diversity and pace of data acquisition is accelerating. Integrated spatial data visualization in the form of heatmaps allows you to bridge the gap between data acquisition and gathering insight from this data. With specific analytics tools, like the patented Fectar Heatmaps, we add a whole new dimension to our 3D AR world. 

About the author:

I’ve always been fascinated by the endless possibilities digitalization creates. The sky is truly the limit. Especially now the line between the real world and the digital world is fading. I’ve always followed my passion for innovation and new adventures. So after working as an academic vascular surgeon for several years I decided to take the leap and find a new path in this exciting field. Now I have the possibility to be part of the development of our (near) future. I can’t wait to find out what’s next.

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