Microsoft has been busy recently with feature demonstrations of their revolutionary Augmented Reality (AR) goggles, the Hololens. In the years since its announcement, Microsoft has only eluded to the Hololens’ possible uses but never really revealed too much. This is quite possibly because they didn’t even know themselves.
In the recent Hololens demonstrations, Microsoft showcased the utilisation of the Hololens to buy furniture from an online store. The demonstration showed a consumer browsing Houzz; the online renovation store, and selecting a chair. The customer then proceeded to pull it into the living room to see how it matched the rest of the decor.
Previously, buying furniture online was more like a trust exercise; trusting that the product’s pictures and your measuring skills were accurate enough that it would slide into your lounge room the way you envisioned it would. Microsoft and Houzz may just have brought the future of online retail into the limelight.
“Microsoft’s Holographic technology is going to be the new desktop.” – Satya Nadella Microsoft CEO
This is not the first time Houzz has been involved in disrupting the way consumers buy products online. Houzz along with a few other retailers have made the effort to start digitising their catalogues and testing their 3D models in Augmented Reality. In this effort, Houzz has created an application on the Apple store and Google Play store respectively, named “View my room”. This application lets users select a piece of furniture and, using the camera on their phone, superimpose it into whatever room in the house they want. This allows consumers to see instead of imagine what the product would look like in their home.
This sort of innovation is not just limited to large furniture items; it could work itself into home wares, outdoor or even fashion. It’s a testament to retailers consistently raising the bar to ensure that the customer walks away with the best possible shopping experience. I know in the near future we will see the likes of Ikea, Harvey Norman and Lowes all with applications using this technology.
The retail industry is changing to be more connected, and more instantaneous in its delivery or service. Microsoft’s involvement in the industry’s evolution only further solidifies its continued growth.