Imagine being able to see a piece of furniture in your home before even picking it up from the store. IKEA has now made that possible and easier than ever with the use of augmented reality (AR) technology. The Swedish company, known for being the world’s largest furniture store, launched the augmented reality mobile application, IKEA Place, to allow people to experience the entire IKEA catalog in 3D and true scale right in the comfort of their home, helping consumers make purchasing decisions. With this app’s launch, IKEA is showing how mobile phones are changing the way we purchase our goods.
“IKEA Place makes it easier to make buying decisions in your own place, to get inspired and try many different products, styles and colours in real-life settings with a swipe of your finger. Augmented reality and virtual reality will be a total game changer for retail in the same way as the internet. Only this time, much faster,” says Michael Valdsgaard, Leader Digital Transformation at Inter IKEA Systems.
IKEA has rendered the images as three-dimensional objects in the app, with shading that responds to light in the given location in which you are using the application. The technology also allows you to to see the texture of the fabric and many other details. The app, which was built on Apple’s new ARKit technology, automatically scales products – based on room dimensions – with 98% accuracy.
IKEA is one of the first home furnishing brands in the world to bring this technology to its gigantic customer base, in turn changing the way we purchase furniture in the future.
“ARKit gives us the opportunity to help shape the development of AR as an accessible tool for real-life decision making,” continues Michael.
The app has more than 2,000 IKEA products currently listed, with a user-friendly interface to navigate through its most popular collections. Even though it does not have a search function, you can filter by types of products like “chairs and desks” for example. The products in the first release will focus on larger furniture pieces for the living room: all sofas, armchairs, footstools, coffee tables and other top-selling storage solutions that can be placed on the floor.
In addition to digitally placing the products in a room, the app allows people to capture the setting in the app and share as an image or video with friends. They can then purchase the products directly through the IKEA website.
IKEA Place is free to download from the App Store and needs an A9 processor running iOS 11 to work properly. So far, the app is only available in the US.