IKEA's 2013 Catalogue To Feature Augmented Reality Technology
July 22, 2012

IKEA’s 2013 Catalogue To Feature Augmented Reality Technology

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports - Your Universe Online

In an attempt to make the transition from traditional advertising to the digital variety, an international furniture and home products designer and distributor has announced that it is readying a printed catalog which will feature augmented reality technology, according to various reports published Friday.

According to Mark Raby of SlashGear, multi-national retail giant IKEA will make its next printed catalog compatible with a smartphone app that will enhance the experience of thumbing through one of the company's 210 million published annual catalogs in search of ready-to-assemble desks, appliances, and other goods.

The 2013 catalog, which is expected to arrive by the end of the month, was developed by the McCann Worldgroup creative agency, Wired's Roberto Baldwin said. The accompanying Android and iOS apps are scheduled to be released on July 31, and they can be launched using special printed symbols in the brochure's pages.

"So what is an 'augmented reality catalog'? Apparently you´ll be able to take your phone, point it toward a piece of furniture in the catalog, and see an 'X-ray' depiction of the unit," Raby said. "So you´ll get to see what holds the furniture together, but it will also be augmented with links to video clips, 3D models, and digital how-to guides."

"When you wave your smartphone over pages with digital content, a variety of features appear. We haven´t yet seen them in action, but McCann says an 'X-ray' feature looks inside the compartments of furniture. The printed catalog pages also interact with 3-D models of products, videos about products, and digital how-to content," Baldwin added. "McCann says Ikea isn´t jumping on the AR bandwagon in response to Google´s Glass project. Rather, the updated catalog is something Ikea and McCann have been working on for a while."

IKEA initially contacted McCann about shifting from paper to digital in 2011, Wired said, but considering the millions of people receiving the company's catalogues, members of the creative team saw little benefit in completely abandoning the traditional advertising methods. Instead, the two parties agreed to add a digital layer to the print product, and their collaboration ultimately resulted in the augmented reality catalogue.

"McCann says it worked very closely with Ikea during the entire project, and realized that Ikea itself -- the company, its world view and its product development -- could be a source for interesting content opportunities," Baldwin explained, adding that their brainstorming sessions eventually led to "a series of videos that spawn when you wave your smartphone over a catalog page."