Moving or buying furniture, let’s face it, sounds more exciting than it actually is. The nitty gritty of planning, with tape measures and just never being too sure how something will look like in your home, tends to throw the best of us for a loop when we finally go shopping for new couches, desks, and dinner tables.
Those days might finally be history.
Using an astonishing new spatial analysis tool, Cimagine’s software takes three-dimensional scans of products and visualizes them into photos of your living room. It is a patent-pending augmented reality (AR) technology that the company has dubbed visual commerce, or “v-commerce.”
On Thursday, Israeli Cimagine announced a new cooperation with London’s John Lewis Partnership (JLP), the UK’s largest retailer. The tech will be available at the brand’s flagship shop on Oxford Street and soon will be open at its Cambridge location.
The feature certainly brings some pop to an industry that tends to try to improve customer services through faster checkouts and better shipping policies. Other apps like SnapShop and Cylindo have also reached the market over the last few years, but Cimagine seems to have the leg up on algorithms and dealing with subtle things like angles.
Where Cimagine really seems to shine against its competitors is its view-from-any-angle feature.
The program lets customers sample online products in a snapshot of their living space, which Cimagine’s solution literally scans and measures. From there, its “driftless, markerless” technology allows users to visualize products placed in exact spots in their homes. The scans also look more realistic than their competitors’ visualizations, which at best look like unfinished renderings.
Augmented reality and the birth of “v-commerce”
This will be the fourth client for the young company in the UK, with a fifth in the U.S. The company, which Amiram Avraham, Ozi Egri, Nir Daube, and Yoni Nevo founded in 2012 and have raised two rounds of undisclosed funding so far, tells Geektime that many more companies are expressing interest with some in negotiation to add the AR service. What makes taking on so many new clients easy is that with Cimagine, there is also no need to pre-scan inventory.
“We have a ‘virtual production line’ to create thousands and thousands of high quality 3D models from the images and dimension that are topically found on the product pages anyhow,” a spokesperson told Geektime. “There is no need for physical scan.”
Cimagine is looking forward to expanding beyond retail and home furniture, saying that more industries were in the offing for the coming year.
“Of course, AR in general and our own technology is generic. We are currently focused on home and office goods, adding more and more product categories from furniture through appliances and electronics to home decor in general, such as floor and wall coverings, etc.
The augmented reality market as a whole is expected to grow rapidly over the next few years to an estimated $120 billion industry by 2020 according to Digi-Capital. That includes major inroads into e-commerce according to Digi-Capital’s director Tim Merel.
“Amazon and Alibaba would have an additional platform for selling in new ways to a mass audience. Together with innovative applications nobody has thought of yet, AR’s scale could prove a bonanza for mobile networks’ voice and data businesses because somebody has to pay for all that mobile data,” Merel said earlier this year.
While indirect competitors also exist in the interior design or construction industries, Cimagine would be a powerful visual tool should the company branch out to other aspects of home planning.
For now, Cimagine looks to broaden its focus on home and office applications as it signs up more clients. Of course, there is also the chance the company will give future car shoppers a chance to visualize themselves behind the wheel of a Bentley or a Camaro – we car enthusiasts can hope.