In the past few months we have noticed more and more of our clients approaching us about creating AR/VR models, 360s and interactive walkthroughs. These are all powerful selling tools within the furniture and interiors industry, they have had a huge impact on a customers shopping experience. As this is something relatively new, it’s not a surprise that many of our clients don’t know where to start, whether it’s easy, or whether it’s possible. The only thing that has been holding technology back from having AR/VR models as a standard online is internet speed. With 4G we have seen many attempts at introducing AR/VR into the furniture industry, however, results aren’t photorealistic because the live rendering times are too slow. Trying to rush into this new realm can be exciting, but it can also mean that using this technology with 4G means that you have to sacrifice the realness of images, leaving them looking fake, which is what we strive to avoid at all costs. After a long wait, 5G is now here and quickly becoming a standard for the everyday. The newest development in technology has not only seen an incredible increase in internet speed and power, but it is about to change how we interact with our devices and how we shop online. Within the furniture and interiors industry there are so many possibilities for what 5G can offer us. Not only will we have a greater capacity for data but we will also be able to access data with a delay of 1 millisecond (down from 40-50 milliseconds that we’ve seen with 4G). Due to the power behind 5G, consumers can now expect a more interactive way to shop. With live event experiences and more immersive media, customers and consumers should now expect to see more AR and VR models coming their way. We are advising our clients to prepare themselves now by getting all of their digital assets built and ready to go. Not only will they be prepared for this new leap in technology, but having digital assets is also great for their current online presence and online sales. Not only that, but as soon as the bandwidth is quick enough, all of these assets will be quick, cheap and easy with a level of realism that we can’t imagine right now.

Taking into consideration the current climate, and how it will affect society going forward, this new technology injection will do wonderful things for the furniture industry. With social distancing and faceless customer service bound to be integrated in the post-covid culture, virtual replacements for shopping experiences will only grow. But already, consumers can access furniture models, complete with details and materials, and ‘test them out’ in their own homes – visually of course. Not only are AR and VR models expected to become the new normal for the industry, but so are real-time, interactive walkthroughs. With trade shows being postponed or cancelled for the second year running, many of us are questioning how the industry will transform and whether trade shows will return in the same way. This makes 3D walkthroughs even more important for our clients as we are expecting to see these replace traditional trade shows.This is an incredible selling tool that can not only be used to sell your products, but to also create more of an interactive experience for your customers, clients and consumers making them more likely to return to shop with you, and recommend your business to others.

The heavy use of 5G across the world means that we will be able to do more and experience more on our phones, making these AR/VR experiences more widely accessible. This all sounds incredible, however, you can’t do any of this without having your products built in CGI. Many retailers and manufacturers who only have a single shot of a product in a single fabric shown on their website are already falling behind when it comes to increasing their online presence and selling capabilities. With the incorporation of 360 models, AR/VR and interactive experiences, the competition within the interiors industry is growing and it’s getting increasingly difficult to stand out. For most, if not all of our clients, looking into this new realm is quick and easy as they already have their products built in CGI. Of course, all of the above sounds amazing and we can bet you’re thinking ‘how can I get that on my website?’, if you don’t already have models built in CGI, this is your first step! Here at Orbital each of our clients have built their very own digital asset library over time, these include fabrics, models, roomsets and props for lifestyle shots, collected through each project with us. The difficult part is already done. To transform a photoshoot or a range into VR is purely down to rendering from then on. It’s a much simpler process than you might think. Don’t let this scare you though! Our team is at the ready to help you up your online presence, whether that be through a cut-out model or a complete interactive walkthrough of one of your stores! Get in touch with Orbital’s Unreal Creatives today to discover how to make your marketing more virtual.