With the help of augmented reality, the new IKEA 2014 catalog app now lets users view images of actual IKEA furniture in their home before they buy it. According to Gizmodo, once users receive the paper version of the 2014 IKEA catalog in the mail and download the app from the iTunes store, they can bring up a digital version of the furniture available from the catalog and place it in their home using the IKEA paper catalog as an anchor. The app uses the catalog as a reference point to determine approximately where the furniture will be placed. It then digitally places it in real time into the user’s room. Augmented reality, which is the placement of digital objects into a user’s setting using a smartphone or tablet, entertainment console, information display, and even visualization, has been growing in popularity.
Yelp.com, the popular business-review site, has a version of their app that superimposes a business’s reviews when the user points a smartphone or tablet camera toward the business, all in real time. Much as the Yelp app enables users to make an informed choice of a restaurant, bar, or other business without having to enter, the IKEA app allows users to see what a piece or set of IKEA furniture would look like in their home or office before the furniture is purchased.
According to an official YouTube video describing the features of augmented reality within the IKEA app, users can also save photos of the object in their room for future reference and watch other people “interact” with the object in real time from their screen. While users obviously aren’t able to touch the furniture, a visualization of sitting or standing “next to” it can give the app user a better idea of scale and how it would look when actually placed.
In addition to using the augmented reality preview feature of the new IKEA catalog app, users can also scan pages of the IKEA paper catalog to view 360-degree model rooms of the furniture. Not only that, but they can also read the story behind the design and manufacture of the furniture. Items and pages that have this ability are marked with a plus (+) sign indicating that scanning them with the app will bring up more information, videos, and room sets.
This advanced shopping experience will allow IKEA customers to feel more secure about buying products before they even set foot in an IKEA store. And because the app is free to download on iTunes, customers will soon be relying on technology more than ever to make more informed furniture purchases.
Image courtesy of Flickr