IMMERSIVE technology can be used as a tool to build trust between livestock buyers and sellers, AuctionsPlus chief executive officer Angus Street told a conference in Melbourne on Thursday.
AuctionsPlus – the nation’s largest livestock selling platform – is planning to hold livestock sales using immersive technology within 12 months, but not initially for commercial sheep or cattle sales.
At Meat & Livestock Australia’s first Australian Ag Immersive Technologies conference, Mr Street said the platform was built around relationships.
“We create the trusting relationship you get in a handshake in the online environment – that is AuctionsPlus, because we know that we often click, we accept, we share, we make decisions based on the piece of information and content that we have available,” he said.
“Content isn’t necessarily the killer, it is how it is delivered.”
“So I guess for us, at AuctionsPlus, it is ensuring we get the right content and deliver it in the right way that gives confidence and integrity,” he said.
“For us, immersive technologies can hopefully build a stronger trust connection between that buyer and seller. So, to the question at hand, is inspecting livestock from living room fact or fiction? Fact!”
Mr Street said he is unsure what the platform’s first immersive sale will look like.
“But for us we are willing to kind of jump off the cliff and see where we land.”
He said AuctionsPlus’s first immersive auction would probably be a stud sale, after taking video of the stud rams or bulls in the paddock to provide the immersive experience for bidders.
“So then someone will be able to step into that paddock through their (augmented reality) headset.”
“The second experience is we will do some filming so we can actually create an avatar.”
Bidders will be able to touch on points in the experience to bring up key information like breeding values etc.
AuctionsPlus is at the stage of trialling various immersive technology options to give different buyer experiences.
“But it is worth noting from a commercial viability perspective on scale, for commercial animals, the cost to do it isn’t viable.
“In the short-term it will be for high value animals and then as the cost of producing this content and the algorithms and technology improves then we can start to scale it,” he said.
“So it would be pre-sale marketing to start with, with the augmented reality and the 360 degree video.
“And then you can actually potentially step into a virtual world and have a conversation with the vendor in that virtual world where he can describe the animal,” Mr Street said.
“Then you could, should you want to, pull the headset off and pull up your tablet and bid, or we were actually looking at building an auction room where you can be in that room in the paddock as the bull or ram is walking around the paddock.
“We haven’t got it to a stage where it would be interfaceable – where you would be completely transported to the sale ring – this is a stand-alone online-only sale.
“But that is potentially the future. You could be sitting on the couch you put your headset on and suddenly transported ringside to the Dubbo show where you can bid on lots.”
Mr Street said AuctionsPlus transacted just over $1 billion worth of commercial livestock annually, which had been inspected by more than 500 accredited assessors nationally.
“The average transaction for us is around a six figure, so people are clicking on a button for well over $100,000.”
He said AuctionsPlus was looking at immersive technology because change is constant and rapid.
“Transparency is key to winning customers, innovation is in our blood and we are excited about change.
“We want to do it (uptake immersive technology), we want to learn about it, but we’ve got to take that step in starting to invest into it.”