Wednesday, 13 September 2017 06:20

IKEA’s new app lets you place virtual furniture using AR in your home

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An awesome new IKEA app called IKEA Place uses augmented reality (AR) so you can “confidently experience, experiment and share how good design transforms any space, such as a home, office, school or studio".

From sofas and armchairs to coffee tables, all of the products in IKEA Place are 3D and true to scale so that every choice is just the right size, design and function, and it’s a great way to see how IKEA furniture looks in your home before buying.

Michael Valdsgaard, Leader Digital Transformation at Inter IKEA Systems, said: “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. ARKit gives us the opportunity to help shape the development of AR as an accessible tool for real-life decision making."

Cass Hall, customer experience manager, IKEA Australia, adds, “Built on Apple’s new ARKit technology, IKEA Place is an important innovation for IKEA. IKEA is one of the first home furnishing brands in the world to bring this technology to people, which will shift the way we purchase furniture in the future.

“IKEA Place and this AR technology will see IKEA redefine the experience for furniture retail once more, in our restless quest to create a better everyday life for everyone, everywhere”.

We’re told that the IKEA Place app “automatically scales products — based on room dimensions — with 98% accuracy.”

The AR technology is “so precise that you will be able to see the texture of the fabric, as well as how light and shadows are rendered on your furnishings".

And, in addition to digitally placing IKEA products in a room, the app “allows people to capture the room setting and share it as an image or video with friends".

It really sounds incredible. I’ve seen a sneak peek of this app during an iOS demo, and it was impressive stuff. The app is sure to race to the top of the charts, and can be enjoyed by anyone able to run iOS.

So, how much of IKEA’s massive catalogue is in the app?

IKEA says that more than 2000 of its products “will be available in the app at launch, and in the future, the app will play a key role in the launch of new product lines".

The products in the first release “are aligned to the living room, reflecting the focus for IKEA in 2018".

When launched, we’re told the app will feature “all sofas, all armchairs, all footstools, all coffee tables and top-selling storage solutions that can be placed on the floor".

Indeed, some of the most recognised IKEA products will be available including: the VIMLE sofa, the STRANDMON winged chair and the LISABO side table.

Tiffany Buckins, head of Interior Design for IKEA Australia, said, “The launch of IKEA Place is an exciting milestone. We understand that the world is changing and that technology is impacting the way we live at home, especially in the living room.

"People want to make more out of their space, they are looking for flexibility that reflects their everyday lives and all the different activities that take place in the living room. Technology like IKEA Place coupled with inspiring living room solutions, is one way IKEA hopes to help create a better everyday life for Australians.

“To celebrate the launch of IKEA Place, we will be taking this new AR technology to the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) in Melbourne in October launching the Make Room for Life exhibition.

“Through the Make Room for Life Exhibition we will draw on our understanding of how people live at home, combining sensory elements, AR technology, inspiration and our home furnishing expertise to inspire people to design their living room for what’s most important to them”.

IKEA Place will be available for download from the App Store soon – keep your eyes peeled for what will be a must-download iOS app that will showcase AR in an amazingly simple way that will really resonate with you!

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks on all the major news and current affairs programs, on commercial and public radio, and technology, lifestyle and reality TV shows. Visit Alex at Twitter here.

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