Shutterstock joins growing army of brands using AR to sell directly

News signals wider move by brands such as Ikea to leverage AR.

Shutterstock: first AR feature
Shutterstock: first AR feature

Shutterstock has launched its first augmented-reality feature that allows people to see how pictures would look on their walls before buying an image.

The "View in Room" function, which is being added to Shutterstock’s app for Apple mobile devices, was created by the company’s in-house mobile team.

Using Apple’s iOS ARKit, the app uses the smartphone’s camera and virtually positions images against a wall of the user’s choosing. Shutterstock has a database of 250 million images that are available to buy. 

By holding the camera up to the wall, the app will identify the wall space and populate the image directly on to the wall. The user can then adjust the size. 

Shutterstock’s debut move into AR signals a wider trend of brands such as Ikea leveraging the tech as part of a direct-to-consumer offering. The Swedish homeware giant's app, first launched in 2016, enables people to virtually place furniture within their homes.

Last year, HP partnered Verizon Media (then Oath) and PHD to create an app that allows people to view and position virtual photo frames around their home. In 2014, Lufthansa launched an app that would allow users to experience premium economy seats.

Jon Oringer, founder and chief executive of Shutterstock, said: "We have been committed to experimenting with cutting-edge technologies for over 15 years. After years of advancing our in-house computer-vision technology to enhance search capabilities on web and mobile, we are very excited to announce our first AR-powered mobile viewing experience for customers.

"This is yet another great project to have been developed from its initial iteration at our annual employee hackathon, Hack to the Future. We decided to put this hack into production because of its potential to have an immediate customer impact."

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