Two weeks ago, Apple announced ARKit, which allows developers to design and create augmented reality applications for all iOS 11 devices. Most companies that we would expect to take advantage of ARKit would be video game developers or social media platforms that are aiming to give users an advanced experience. It turns out IKEA, the Netherlands-based company that is known mostly for its ready-to-assemble furniture pieces, is looking to use ARKit to develop a new application for shoppers to use when designing their living spaces prior to buying any pieces.
What we can expect from IKEA’s new app
In the revamped application, shoppers can use their iPhones or iPads to place 3D images of furniture pieces in rooms at different angles before they take the leap and purchase them. This helps avoid any frustration for customers who receive their furniture that ends up not fitting in the spaces they desire.
IKEA has already taken steps into augmented reality applications in the past. Shoppers have been able to scan pages from the company’s catalogue to see AR images that they can use their smartphones and tablets to place where they want. While they have seen some great impact with their existing AR efforts, leaders from the furniture giant feel that using Apple’s platform will help them make an even bigger splash in the consumer market and allow them to release a well-balanced app with fewer issues.
“This will be the first augmented reality app that allows you to make reliable buying decisions,” said Michael Valdsgaard, digital transformation manager at Inter IKEA Systems, the company that owns the brand IKEA. Going forward, it will play a key role in new product lines. “When we launch new products, they will be first in the AR app,” said Michael Valdsgaard, an executive for the company, in a recent interview with Digital.dl.
When asked about in-app purchasing capabilities, Valdsgaard confirmed that the feature is not on the company’s shortlist. He goes on to say, “Ideally, you could put a sofa in your home with the help of the app, and then with one click add it in the shopping cart on the site. But we have a tight deadline.”
Is IKEA opening doors for other companies?
The furniture company is taking the first step in the AR app market, and we can definitely expect other big brands to follow suit. Could you imagine being apple to shop at places like Target or H&M using augmented reality tools to make your experience easier – and frankly more fun?
Apple CEO Tim Cook mentioned IKEA’s efforts to become an ARKit partner for the tech company in an interview with Bloomberg Businessweek last week, which tells us that both firms seem pretty serious about the upcoming collaboration. In true Apple fashion, this also sends a hint to other companies that they should begin doing their research so that they can jump on the bandwagon before it’s too late.
Personally, I’m looking forward to checking out IKEA’s new application when it rolls out, which should happen this fall shortly after the official iOS 11 release from Apple. Although it won’t have purchasing capabilities right off the bat, seeing such a major step forward in augmented reality is a pretty big deal in itself.