A new ARKit app from Houzz brings 500,000 objects to moveable life

With the launch of iOS 11 today from Apple, one of the most anticipated developments is the rush of new augmented reality apps that will be hitting the market, leveraging Apple’s new ARKit development platform. Houzz, the design and home renovation community, is among them, with a new version of View in My Room 3D, with a catalog of 500,000 images for people to view, move and install in their virtual rooms.

While augmented reality — as Matthew pointed out earlier — is “going to spread to every aspect of computer vision, photography and imaging,” the Houzz app underscores how AR is impacting two sectors in particular, design and commerce. Both have arguably been hindered by tech up to now: you cannot touch objects, you cannot see them as well, and you are limited by the size of a screen. AR, with it its emphasis of optimising images as well as making them more lifelike and movable, will change all that and maybe even help commerce and design online leapfrog ahead of the real-world experience.

As with another app that we profiled last week from Ikea, Houzz’s app will let you take rooms in your house and then place multiple products within them. The key is that these objects will appear more “lifelike” than before: textures will be evident, ambient room lighting will be accounted for. Ultimately doing so has a double aim: you are more likely to use the app, but also: you may be more likely to buy those items.

There is some evidence to back this up: Houzz said one million people have used the previous AR features in the app to date, and those who used them were “11 times more likely to purchase and spent 2.7 times more time in the app,” the company said.

After you view items, they can automatically be added to your shopping lists.

“We’ve created a true AR-enabled home design and shopping experience where you can experience the largest 3D product catalogue available in your home, and also buy the items you love directly on the Houzz app,” said Alon Cohen, Houzz president and cofounder, in a statement. “At Houzz, we’re focused on building tools that transform how you renovate and design your home and that deliver the single best experience for this industry.”

We’ll be on stage today at Disrupt with Adi and Alon Cohen, the co-founders of Houzz, and we’ll be asking them more about the app then.

Suning Commerce Group Uses VR and AR As Part of Shopping Festival

Chinese Company integrates AR and VR technology to improve sales.

Chinese retail company Suning Commerce Group have seen sales figures surge during its annual shopping festival as result of its integration of new technologies, including virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and deep learning analysis.

The 8.18 Shopping Festival saw sales figures surge by 263% for online sales, with the new technology-led ‘Smart Retail’ system providing marketing insights that let companies and brands set position and pricing as well as adjust their sales strategies during the promotion period. The Smart Retail technology added value to online shopping by integrating VR, thus allowing customers to test products in the virtual environment before committing to purchase.

Zhang Jindong, chairman of Suning Holdings Group said, “As a leading retail company, we have always been devoted to making retail smarter not only to provide high-quality products, but also to better serve our consumers. This year, ‘Smart Retail’ has exerted its advantages in all aspects and brought great success to our shopping event.”

AR was also incorporated into sales and marketing strategies, with smartphone-powered AR experiences helping to promote products as part of the shopping festival.

Zhang said, “This is the future of retailing, the consumption habits and trend on the internet leads the products and services we are offering. When we are building our platform smarter and more consumer-friendly, we hope to see more global brands coming to cooperate with us.”

Suning Commerce’s future plans for the Smart Retail technology to launch its first intelligent self-service store later this year.

VRFocus will continue to bring you news on VR integration into retail and business.