Tuesday, August 20, 2013

IKEA - 2014 Augmented Reality Catalog

A few years back it seemed like augmented reality was going to be the NEXT BIG THING.  Reality has since intervened as most augmented reality executions proved to be mainly gimmicks that didn't provide a particularly compelling experience nor did they provide true utility to consumers.  Now IKEA is showing how augmented reality can be truly useful through their 2014 augmented reality catalog.  Created by McCann and IKEA's in-house agency, Icom the app allows IKEA customers to preview items from the catalog to see how they'd look in their homes prior to purchase.

Here's how it works, a user places the 2014 IKEA catalog on the floor in their home and then fires up the app on their phone or tablet.  The mobile device recognizes the tablet as the augmented reality marker.  The user can then select from various items in the catalog where they are overlaid onto a real-time view of the room (as captured through the camera of the mobile device).

Again, this is a great use of technology in order to provide true utility to the customer.  Users can see how various colors would look in-situ, as well as getting a sense of the size/scale of the furniture within their homes.  Those two features alone ease two of the most common pain points when buying furniture (eg. will color x good? will it fit properly?).  In fact, IKEA developed this app after their research showed that 1 in 7 customers purchased items that were either too large or too small for their homes.  It's a win-win as the app also has the potential to reduce the amount of store returns.  Check out the video that demonstrates the app below (complete with slightly creepy Swedish guy):





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