Furniture Buying Just Got More Immersive With IKEA’s VR Experience
IKEA is one of the major non-tech companies to make use of virtual reality to boost their business. The furniture company has announced a virtual reality app called IKEA VR Experience, and is now available to download for the HTC Vive on Steam. The pilot application is featuring a virtual kitchen experience.
The launch of the app is intended to solicit consumer feedback as IKEA continues to explore the possible implications of the technology for the home. In recent years, IKEA has explored new technology as a way to improve its offer and empower customers. The launch of IKEA VR Experience is one of the steps taken in this effort.
According to Jesper Brodin, managing director at IKEA of Sweden, VR is seen to be integrated within their customers in five to ten years. He states that the company sees VR to play an important role in letting customers preview what they need to buy before actually buying them.
The IKEA VR Experience brings the user a virtual IKEA kitchen in real world size. Using an HTC Vive VR headset, consumers can use the app to explore one of three differently-styled kitchen room settings. The user can change the color of cabinets and drawers with a click.
Another feature is the ability to view the kitchen from different perspectives by either shrinking or stretching yourself to move around the kitchen at the size of a 3.3 foot-tall child or a 6.4 foot-tall adult. This could be useful for the user, since walking around the room in someone else’s shoes enables you to discover hidden dangers or possible design solutions.
The app was made in collaboration with developers at the French company Allegorithmic, using Unreal Engine 4 from Epic Games, and has been developed for HTC Vive, a first of its kind, award winning, virtual reality system created by HTC and Valve.