In this Dwell Magazine article Alice Bonasio looks at how retailers can use HoloLens technology to conquer buyer’s remorse
Where it comes to home design, consumers have a chronic “imagination gap” problem that costs retailers billions. While we might fall in love with a showroom display, most of us have a hard time picturing how what we see in the store will look like at home.
To stop customers from returning their goods or giving up on purchases altogether, retailers such as BuildDirect are now turning to cutting-edge Mixed Reality (MR) technology to help people visualize their design choices before ever buying anything.
“What we’ve seen is that when people are trying to do home renovations, being able to overlay items and their ideas within the current state of their home or room is the most effective way to help them visualize the direction they’re going with their designs,” explains Tal Ball, Chief Technology Officer of BuildDirect.
His company worked with Microsoft to develop an app for its new HoloLens headsets, which overlay holograms on top of real-world backgrounds, effectively mixing elements of the virtual and real world. In BuildDirect’s prototype app, this lets the user add and move around 3-D objects to their real-world homes, seeing exactly how they look, if they fit, or whether a different color works better.
While still in early prototype stage, the idea is that as MR technology becomes more mainstream people will be able to capture and share their design layouts, then order everything they need directly from the app, which will link to the retailer’s catalog.
“We feel excited about the prospect of people designing their rooms in a virtual space, and the seamless connection between getting the products and services that they need to make it happen,” concludes Ball.
This article was originally published in print and online for Dwell Magazine
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Alice Bonasio is a VR Consultant and Tech Trends’ Editor in Chief. She also regularly writes for Fast Company, Ars Technica, Quartz, Wired and others. Connect with her on LinkedIn and follow @alicebonasio and @techtrends_tech on Twitter.