IKEA Place allows users to lift and move virtual furniture to see what fits and what doesn’t.
No amount of technology — short of tremendous robotics innovation — will help customers negotiate the frustrating and byzantine IKEA furniture assembly process when they arrive home, goods in hand. Nonetheless, the Swedish home furnishings juggernaut seems to have made quick work of the augmented reality (AR) opportunities that Apple’s new iPhone 8 provides.
Using what he refers to in his Twitter thread as a beta version of an app called IKEA Place, tech reporter Scott Stein shared a powerful visual from inside the AR-powered application that allows users not just the ability to browse the catalog, but to lift and move virtual furniture through a camera-fed representation of their living areas.
Excuse me, I’m just laying out IKEA furniture on a subway platform #ARKit #iphone8plus https://t.co/lECKVB4VQi— Scott Stein (@Scott Stein) 1505840507.0
There’s no indication that it will help you find a parking spot at their stores or locate the frozen meatballs, but an early look at the app’s prowess suggests it could save you a trip to the store altogether.
One of the compelling reasons to visit a store — a furniture store especially — rather than buy online is because humans are notoriously comically bad at extrapolating spacial relationships from dimensions and figures. It may sound as though that’s not a practical problem, but when you realize, screwdriver-in-hand, that your bedroom actually ISN’T large enough to accommodate a queen-size bed, you’ll likely wish you had some help in the matter.
That’s where IKEA Place comes in.
The tech wasn’t publicly available at the time of Stein’s tweet — neither is the iPhone 8, of course — but reports of the app’s availability in the App Store surfaced just hours after the demonstration.
The app both places and moves representations of furniture scaled at 98% accuracy to assist the spatially-challenged in determining not only what will and won’t fit, but how something will look when juxtaposed against existing furniture, wall coverings, and flooring.
While this app could go a long way in helping IKEA create a first-mover competitive advantage over other furniture retailers, little about the technology appears to be truly IKEA-specific. That is to say, if your gripes about IKEA focus on its value, craftsmanship, or unassembled products, the app is unlikely to provide much comfort on those fronts.
However, if you’re looking for help figuring out not just what will look good in your living room, but which specific products will fit, IKEA Place might serve to supplant the infamous store outings that were heretofore viewed as a necessary evil. Many of us need all the help we can get when striking out solo to select furniture, and this IKEA and Apple partnership might just render us a little more confident when placing that order.