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.