April 5th 2016 – For the last couple of years IKEA has explored new technology as a way to improve the offer and empower customers. In this context, IKEA has tried different digital tools and identified virtual reality as one of the ways to move forward. The launch of IKEA VR Experience is one of the steps taken within this field. It is a virtual kitchen made to appear to the user in real world size.
“Virtual reality is developing fast and in five to ten years it will be an integrated part of people’s lives. We see that virtual reality will play a major role in the future of our customers, for instance it could be used to enable customers to try out a variety of home furnishing solutions before buying them,” says Jesper Brodin, managing director at IKEA of Sweden and Range & Supply Manager at IKEA Group.
One of the features of IKEA VR Experience is the possibility to change the color of cabinets and drawers with a click. Another feature is the ability to shrink yourself and move around the kitchen in the size of a 3.3 foot (100 cm) tall child. You can also enlarge yourself and experience it as 6.4 feet (195 cm) tall. These features will be useful from a safety perspective, since walking around the room in someone else’s shoes enables you to discover hidden dangers.
“We also see IKEA VR Experience as an opportunity to co-create with people all around the world. We hope that users will contribute to our virtual reality development, by submitting ideas on how to use virtual reality and how to improve the virtual kitchen,” says Martin Enthed, IT Manager for IKEA Communications, the in-house communication agency at IKEA of Sweden.
The app has been made in collaboration with developers at the French company Allegorithmic, using Unreal Engine 4 from Epic Games, and has been developed for HTC Vive – a first of its kind, award winning, virtual reality system created by HTC and Valve.
IKEA VR Experience will be continuously updated until August when this particular pilot test ends.