Christchurch developers have Ikea-sized dream with augmented reality app for furniture buying

Canterbury development shop Mogeo – run by a trio that came together shortly after the February 2011 quake – has followed in Ikea’s footsteps with an app similar to one recently released by the European giant to help furniture buyers.

Retailers take six photographs of a piece of furniture, which Mogeo uses to make into a 3D model, and gives the retailer a QR code to use in their advertising. Consumers can scan the code and hold their smartphone above the ad to view a 3D image of the furniture and see if the piece would fit with their home’s interior decor.

Developer Adam Hutchinson says the startup was founded with a mission to use new mobile technology to solve old problems. The difficulty of deciding which furniture to buy was one of these, and with 54 percent of Kiwis now owning a smartphones, there was opportunity to help make the process easier, he says.

“I went and visited a furniture shop in Christchurch and they said about 20 percent of people are taking a photo in the shop and taking it home to compare it in their home,” says Hutchinson. “The Furniview app is a way of supercharging that trend. Furniview was an idea that came about to make purchasing decisions easier when buying new furniture.”

Simply Furniture, which has two stores in Christchurch, is trialling the app, with Mogeo making 3D models of its outdoor range, and placing an ad in The Press this weekend, where readers can use the app to view images of the furniture.

“I see it as a bridge between the print and the 3D world, it’s a way to get more out of your newspaper,” Hutchinson says.

He says retailers will pay a fee per product, to be decided after the trials.

The second trial after Simply Furniture’s will be with Trade Me, with the app used to scan a QR code on screen and detect a retailer’s floor plan to place 3D models on.

Hutchinson and his colleagues Carl Watson and Samuel Williams have been developing the app for just over 18 months and say Ikea’s app makes their idea credible. “Ikea launched a similar app six weeks ago which we view as part validation of the concept,” Hutchinson says.

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