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Ikea app lets shoppers preview furniture in their own home

Swedish flatpack furniture giant, Ikea, has today announced the launch of Ikea Place, an augmented reality (AR) app that lets customers see furniture in their own home before buying.

The app will feature over 2,000 products at launch, including all sofas, armchairs, footstools, coffee tables and top-selling storage solutions that can be placed on the floor.

The products in the first release are aligned to the living room, such as the VIMLE sofa, the STRANDMON winged chair and the LISABO side table.

All products will be rendered in 3D and automatically scale based on room dimensions, so people can say, with 98 per cent accuracy, whether a piece of furniture will fit in a room.

In addition to digitally placing Ikea products in a room, users can share an image or video of the room setting with friends.

The technology, based on Apple’s new ARKit developer platform, is so precise that users will be able to see the texture of the fabric, as well as how light and shadow fall on the furniture.

Leader of digital transformation at Inter Ikea Systems, Michael Valdsgaard, called it a “total game changer for retail”.

“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. [AR] and virtual reality will be a total game changer for retail in the same way as the internet. Only this time, much faster,” he said in a statement.

Ikea Australia’s customer experience manager, Cass Hall, said the company’s innovation is driven by a desire to improve the customer experience.

“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,” he said.

The launch of the AR app follows the company’s earlier foray into virtual reality (VR), with the launch of a VR store that lets people ‘walk’ through an Ikea showroom without leaving their home.

Because the app is built on Apple’s AR technology platform, it requires an Apple mobile device and iOS 11. It will be available to download from the Apple App Store soon, according to a statement from Ikea.

To celebrate the launch of Ikea Place, the company 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,” said Tiffany Buckins, head of interior design for Ikea Australia.

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