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Sunday, August 18, 2013

Augmenting the Catalog

Have been exploring the latest 2014 physical IKEA catalog, with is an already large (320 page plus) slick paper catalog that broadly and artistically explores IKEA's offerings.   The catalog is then augmented by using the IKEA App from a smartphone.  You view select pages through the camera of a smartphone and you see a floating icon that can be clicked.  I found the use of the method not consistently easy, and I can see people frustrated by it.  A help section shows the remarkably large number of different kinds of displays.

The App also  allows you to download the full digital catalog,  which is augmented by icons on each digital page.

What you then get varies by page.  In some cases a web page of additional content, in others a video, in others a sizing method that lets you 'see' what a piece of furniture looks like in the room you are in.  Previewing its location through the camera.   You can see a different color or style of fabric on a couch.   Nicely done, part of the fun is seeing what each value add will be.  People are getting used to using methods like QR codes for more content.  This tries to link content to local physical states.   Thus augmented reality.

At first I thought that augmented catalog items needed to be marked by an orange plus sign. But any orange marking on the page is an indication of activation.  There are many,  That draws you through the catalog pages, if the additions are interesting enough.  But since the catalog is already large, it doesn't save much paper.

The additions are also dynamic, and can be remotely changed.  So the back cover has promotions and alerts.  All this works only if you continue to go back there to discover new things.   You can't order from the catalog, and have to go to the store, so although they can tell what you looked at and interacted with a page, they can't tell if it led to a sale.    I also found the little markers that tell you if a page is augmented hard to find. Time will tell if this method will be productive

The system has been developed for IKEA by Metaio, more about that here.

More in this blog on Augmented Reality.

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