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Try before you buy

New IKEA Place app makes home furnishing easier

BY DANIEL DASEY

 

A smartphone showing IKEA STOCKSUND armchair virtually placed in an empty corner.
An IKEA KARLSTAD sofa wedged into a space that’s too small for it.

A better reality

It’s the kind of embarrassing decorating mishap most of us have faced at some time. You choose a beautiful sofa or dining table and excitedly take it home, only to find it doesn’t match the rest of the room. Or it doesn’t quite fit the space you had in mind.

Now that kind of headache is fast becoming a thing of the past, thanks to augmented-reality (AR) technology and some serious IKEA know-how. Launched in the autumn of 2017, the IKEA Place app lets customers see exactly how more than 2,000 furniture items would look – and fit – in their homes.

IKEA STRANDMON armchair being virtually placed in a room.

True-to-scale

“IKEA Place lets you place true-to-scale 3D furniture in your home using the lens of your iPhone camera,” explains Michael Valdsgaard, the Leader of Digital Transformation at Inter IKEA Systems B.V. “You see the scene as if these objects were real and you can walk around them and interact with them, even leave the room and come back. It’s really magic to experience.”

Better, clearer, simpler
The first interactive furniture experience was released in 2013 as part of the IKEA Catalogue app. Customers could use their smart phones to place and view a limited number of furniture items in their rooms. A copy of the IKEA catalogue had to be placed in frame to help the app calculate the scale.

IKEA EKERÖ armchair being virtually placed in the corner of a room.

Launched in the autumn of 2017, the IKEA Place app lets customers see exactly how more than 2,000 furniture items would look – and fit – in their homes.

IKEA EKERÖ armchair being virtually placed in the corner of a room.

Accurate down to the millimetre

Michael Valdsgaard explains IKEA Place makes use of Apple’s ARKit augmented reality platform and takes the experience to a whole new level. The app is easier to use and places photorealistic furniture items in the frame at the touch of the screen. Furniture is correctly sized down to the millimetre and you can walk right up and get a close up look at fabrics and colours. Of the 2200 items that can be tried for size, most are larger items found in the living room, such sofas and coffee and dining tables.

IKEA STRANDMON armchair and footstool in yellow shown in a cosy living room setting.

Making life better for the many

“We found out through research that some customers weren’t confident about buying,” Michael says. “So, this is aimed at making that experience easier for them.”

With the area of augmented reality evolving so fast, Michael says it will be exciting to see where the technology leads. “We don’t know yet what’s around the corner,” he says.

“It could eventually be that you put in contact lenses and you don’t need to look at a phone anymore. We’re really right at the beginning of the big bang with AR and understanding just how it can make everyday life better for people.”

– Michael Valdsgaard, Leader of Digital Transformation, Inter IKEA Systems B.V.


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