Client in the spotlight: IKEA
Let’s get everybody started: what is IKEA Place about?
The mobile application IKEA Place allows users to furnish their home virtually through Augmented Reality (AR). The world’s most downloaded non-game AR application allows consumers to choose from more than 3000 virtual furniture pieces. IKEA Place is available in 40+ countries and currently sits atop of the charts of AR retail applications.
What was the reason for IKEA to use AR in the first place?
IKEA took its first steps in AR six years ago. At that time the technology was not yet mature enough for the current functionalities. It was possible to visualize a 3D object but moving or accurate scaling of the piece of furniture was not possible. With the arrival of ARKit and ARCore, the latest generation of smartphones are able to display high quality 3D models in a realistic and accurate manner. This technological progress was the reason to start last year with a new project: IKEA Place.
The overall vision of IKEA is “To create a better everyday life for the many people”. And in that daily life of people the decoration of their house plays an important role. However, research shows that as many as 40% of consumers lack the confidence to experiment with the layout of their home. Whether you are looking in the IKEA catalog, browsing the website or in the IKEA store, you never know for sure whether a piece of furniture fits perfectly into your living room, both in terms of dimensions and style. For the first time ever, IKEA Place makes it possible to get answers to the most important consumer question: “How does this chair really look like in my living room?” As we say at TWNKLS: “Augmented Reality bridges the gap of indecision”.
With the latest update of IKEA Place the app now has a ‘World’s First’: “Visual Search” – what does that mean?
Let’s say you see a nice piece of furniture – a sofa at your friends’ house – and want to know how you can buy something similar. So you grab your smartphone, focus IKEA Place on the piece of furniture, and the Visual Search function of the app allows you to view alternatives directly from the IKEA range. After that, you can place your IKEA alternative next to your initially found piece of furniture and compare the two. IKEA Visual Search is one of the first implementations of GrokStyle deep learning-technology. Check out this video of Visual Search in action at the TWNKLS office below:
Is AR and Visual Search interesting for other organizations?
Absolutely, and for two very clear reasons. First, Visual Search is a super user-friendly way to search for an item without having to type. More and more people are using videos and photos to communicate, so why not also for searching? Secondly, you can see if that sofa fits the layout of your living room without leaving your own house. This feature is interesting for all businesses who have a product that consumers want to see before they buy it. For example, stairlifts or solarpanels but also machinery in a B2B setting. AR makes processes faster, more engaging and helps the buyer to make a more informed (online) purchase decision.
IKEA Place is available for iTunes and Android: