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Thursday, January 7, 2016

New Year – New ‘Horizons’ – Part 2 of our series on emerging technologies in retail marketing

As we step forward into 2016, and with the highlights of this year’s International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) hitting the headlines - we thought it was poignant to publish part 2 of our ‘Horizons’ blog post series.

Following on from part 1 - “Set Visions: Horizons” is a series of blog posts where we’re looking at some of the uses of emerging technologies that some retailers and retail brands are experimenting in - and which we believe will be part of the mainstream in the coming years.

A retail revolution is coming - are you ready?
Having originally started as a Photography Studio in the 90s - evolving over the last decade to deliver CGI photography and interactive visualisers, we’ve become acutely aware of the need to embrace technology as visual communications continue to evolve at fast pace.
Augmented reality, virtual reality, digital immersive experiences - they are all on the horizon, and Set Visons have the vision to create and deliver them now through our in-house team and innovation partnerships.

In part 1 we covered some of the more impressive in-store immersive retail experiences that were created in 2015, and in this, part 2, we are looking at Augmented Reality.

Set Visions: Horizons. Part 2 – Augmented Reality
Augmented Reality (AR) isn’t especially new but awareness and usage is low – but with increasing investment from big technology companies like Google and Facebook and with AR’s sibling Virtual Reality (VR) set to explode this year, it’s surely only a matter of time before AR starts to play an increasing role in all our lives, and especially when making purchase decisions.

What is Augmented Reality (AR)?
Augmented reality (AR) is a live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented (or supplemented) by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data. With the help of advanced AR technology (e.g. adding computer vision and object recognition) the information about the surrounding real world of the user becomes interactive and digitally manipulable. Artificial information about the environment and its objects can be overlaid on the real world.

Augmented reality and retail
As the worlds of commerce and consumer technologies get closer together, the opportunity to produce increasingly personal and engaging content and experiences aimed at increasing sales is growing.

Some of the largest retailers have been looking at augmented reality (AR) for years – most applications taking advantage of the advancements in smartphones and other mobile devices. The technology creates computer-generated graphics that are overlaid with scenes from the real world using the mobile device’s camera. 3D models of products can be placed in the space customers are shopping for. They can be viewed from different angles, and the customer can determine if they’re the right size for their home or office.

Creating a “Try-Before-You-Buy” shopping experience using AR offers a number of proven and cost saving benefits to retailers. These include:

  1. Removing barriers to purchase
  2. Minimizing customer returns
  3. Higher conversion rates and higher consumer loyalty due to increased engagement
  4. Increased awareness of products through ‘Social (media) shopping’
  5. Extended life of retailer’s digital assets

In reality… who’s doing what
Enough of the ‘what it is’ – let’s look at some of the best applications of Augmented Reality by the world’s most innovative retailers.

IKEA’s Augmented Reality Catalog App
IKEA’s annual product catalog has both print and digital versions, and the company released its first augmented reality application to complement it in 2013. In its first year in the app store, it reached 9.7 million downloads.

The AR app is designed to be a component of the print catalog. Users first select items from pages that feature messaging about the technology and they then place the catalog in the room where they'd like the piece of furniture to be. The catalog acts as a location marker and the basis for scaling the furniture to the room’s proportions. The 3D furniture can be seen from any angle and is moved around the room by relocating the catalog.

Home Depot paint visualiser
The Home Depot Project Color app allows potential customers to test paint colors on their walls at home.

Sayduck furniture visualiser
Sayduck’s AR mobile app incorporates a range of furniture products, from tables and chairs to lighting fixtures and china from European brands. It offers consumers a platform for discovery and design inspiration.

Curioos art print visualiser
Curioos is an online marketplace that sells art created by digital creatives from around the world. Its augmented reality app allows potential buyers to see over 5,000 artworks on their own walls in “gallery-quality” HD.

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The (3D) shape of things to come?
This years CES show featured a number of technologies that may have implications for how Augmented Reality may take shape in consumer’s homes in the near future. The BBC reported ( that a number of technology companies are pitching to deliver some of the technologies that may well be the next big thing in homes and interiors retail marketing.

French company levels3d are set to release their MyCaptr application later in the year. This, and ‘Tango’ which is in development by Google will allow consumers to create complete 3d models of their own homes by using their mobile devices as a 3D scanner. They can then use their 3D model to design and visualise aspects of their entire house – pulling in countless retailer’s products into their virtual home.

Levels3d’s MyCaptr

Google Tango

Google Tango Demo Home Designer App

Friday, May 1, 2015

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? ... No it’s just Chris


Bridging the gap across the Atlantic with our PIX US partners, our newest member of the team has been brought in to project manage the US clients through the studio and work in partnership with PIX US providing the high quality CG images Set Visions is renowned for across the globe. With a background in managing large scale projects from the world of audio and photography, rest assured that whether it be a single scene or a multiple room online visualiser Chris will be on hand to guide it through to the end.


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Set Visions Ltd
Robin Mills
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Tel: 01274 610 600