The adoption of virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) as a key technology theme for the future will be showcased by UK department store chain John Lewis from this week when three of its stores, Kingston, Cambridge and Horsham will utilise the technology to enable customers to visualise how the company’s interior products will look in their homes.
Customers will be able to view their designed room on either an iPad, as a 3D room set in AR, or wear a VR headset to ‘walk around’ the room and afterwards receive an emailed copy of the room they created with shoppable links.
This is one of the latest applications of VR and AR, which GlobalData’s Thematic Research has identified as one of more than 50 key themes impacting the technology sector over the next two years. Among other retailers using the technology, IKEA is using AR in its IKEA Place app, while ASOS has launched a ‘Virtual Catwalk’ facility within its shopping app.
Cyrus Mewawalla, Head of Thematic Research commented, “Augmented reality could be the next big computing platform. Ultimately, AR may replace the smartphone as the primary connected device consumers carry around with them: imagine wearing a pair of glasses with the computing power of a smartphone, activated by voice, which recognizes what users see, where the user is and the context in which the user requires information. This is why Big Tech is taking it so seriously. Apple, as the most profitable smartphone maker, is potentially the most vulnerable to the threat posed by AR technology.”
Alphabet and Microsoft, which are increasing the use and application of VR and AR in their Internet ecosystems, have been identified by GlobalData as leaders in the VR and AR theme and they are joined by Activision Blizzard and Electronic Arts who specialise in video games software, Aixtron and ASML in chip equipment, Nvidia in graphics chips, Largan in cameras and lenses, Sony in audio visual equipment, Lumentum in optical networking equipment, and VMware in private cloud solutions.