IKEA’s augmented reality app

It’s no coincidence that the Swedish home furnishing superstore IKEA timed the announcement of their AR app IKEA Place to drop shortly after Apple’s much anticipated announcement of their AR-optimized phones the iPhone 8 & iPhone X.

First announced back in June, the final release of IKEA Place will take advantage of Apple’s ARKit to not only match the proper scale, also apply the texture of the material, proper lighting and shadows.

“I think that augmented reality and virtual reality will be a total game changer for retail in the same way as the internet, only this time much faster” said Michael Valdsgaard, IKEA’s head of digital transformation, who leads a team of 70 that have been working the past nine weeks to load thousands of IKEA products into the app in preparation for release next week in conjunction with Apple’s iOS 11.

Dropping a virtual chair into your living room with true to scale is the perfect broad-scale use case for AR. Browsing furniture and sharing screenshots of them in situ before you make a big purchase is what will spread this new tech to the masses.

Information Overlord

What if we follow Augmented Reality to it’s ultimate conclusion. Daniel Suarez’s vision of a layer of information and meta-data transposed upon the physical world may be the science fiction of last year but we all know if Google’s Project Glass gets it’s way, it’ll be here soon enough.

Things only once written about and mocked up by expensive design firms are now becoming commercial reality.

But what if we took this further? What if the commercial pressure to monetize our new experience pushes the development to it’s ultimate conclusion? What would that world look like? Behold.