IKEA furthers virtual design vision by acquiring AI imaging start-up

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IKEA has acquired a US-based AI imaging company as it looks to make it easier for customers to use technology to plan designs.

Ingka Group, which owns the majority of IKEA stores and its website, has bought 100% of Geomagical Labs, headquartered in California.

IKEA’s app and website will now feature the start-up’s technology, which allows customers to take photographs of a room in their house through their smartphones and renders these into a 3D map of the room. They can then place furniture in this virtual representation to test how it looks.

Barbara Martin Coppola, chief digital officer, IKEA Retail (Ingka Group), said: “With Geomagical Labs onboard, we can bring our home furnishing expertise to many people in new ways and assist them in their unique design needs. In a time when people spend more time at home, we can support our customers with their everyday life through an enhanced digital meeting.”

Krister Mattsson, MD of Ingka Investments at Ingka Group, said: “Digital development is at the very core of our transformation to meet new and changing customer needs. We are now taking a more dynamic approach to digital investments and acquisitions so we can strengthen our IKEA Retail business and target companies with new digital capabilities and services.” 

Brian Totty, CEO of Geomagical Labs, said: “Our work has focused on using technology and magical experiences to enable people’s creativity. We are thrilled to join one of the world’s most beloved brands and are excited to work together to transform the way people interact and purchase home furnishings by bringing together inspiration, imagination and world-class design.” 

IKEA introduced the IKEA Place app in 2017, allowing customers to use augmented reality to place furniture in their homes. It introduced an update in September which allows customers to receive interior design advice and point their smartphone camera at furniture to automatically find the most similar IKEA product.

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