Ikea is testing the VR waters with its recently launched Steam application. Dubbed the Ikea VR Experience, it allows consumers to explore an Ikea kitchen in full 3D.
The new VR pilot app was released on Tuesday and is available for the HTC Vive on Valve's Steam game platform. The test app is the furniture retailer's first foray into the VR scene in an attempt to explore the possibilities this technology could bring to future customer experience.
"Virtual reality is developing quickly and in five to ten years it will be an integrated part of people's lives," said Jesper Brodin, managing director at IKEA of Sweden and Range & Supply Manager at IKEA Group. "We see that virtual reality will play a major role in the future of our customers. For instance, someday, it could be used to enable customers to try out a variety of home furnishing solutions before buying them."
The Ikea VR Experience takes users to a virtual kitchen in real world size. The app features three kitchens with different style and room settings. Users can open drawers or change their colors with a click. It also allows users to view the kitchen from the perspective of a 3.3 foot-tall child or a 6.4 foot-tall adult. Ikea believes this particular "shrinking or stretching" feature will be useful in spotting hidden dangers or possible design solutions. Ikea teases that the app also has a teleport function.
Ikea also believes the app will provide an opportunity for the company to co-create with their customers and fans from all over the world. Feedback received will be used to improve the virtual kitchen, according to Martin Enthed, IT Manager for IKEA Communications, the in-house communication agency at IKEA of Sweden.