Augmented reality mixes real-world experience with artificial computer-generated additions. It’s cousin, virtual reality, creates an entirely simulated reality. Most of us are familiar with AR through apps like Snapchat or GPS programs that superimpose fake images over what the camera on our smartphone sees. Add a beard to a baby’s face or see a coffee cup icon over a shop in a map, and you are using AR. This personalization of the experience is how AR enhances furniture shopping. Target’s tagline, ‘See it in Your Space,’ is a succinct statement of the promise of AR.
Static image is the most basic type of AR. The new See It In Your Space feature by Target is a current example. After signing in, the customer uploads a room photo, and a digital 3D model of their selected item is made available. The shopper can move the item around the room, and the room itself can be moved, spun around 360°, and designed in real time on a smartphone or tablet computer. Other early adopters of video camera-based AR include Houzz, Wayfair, IKEA Place, Overstock.com, 3D Room View by Pottery Barn, and Jerome’s Furniture Warehouse.