How Virtual Reality Will Change the Way You Spec TVs, Speakers, Furniture, More
Vizio’s new Showroom virtual/augmented reality app helps consumers visualize how a TV will look in their space. How about AR apps for lighting, touchscreens, home theaters and more?
Julie Jacobson · May 19, 2014
Vizio is showing how virtual reality (or augmented reality) is here and will only enhance sales opportunities for integrators. The company’s new Showroom app lets consumers hold a smart tablet to a wall and visualize how a TV will look in the space.
No matter how many renderings an integrator makes to illustrate how technology will look in a theater, on a wall or anywhere else, there’s no substitute for the real thing.
In the case of Vizio, users download the app from the Apple App Store or Google Play store; print out a paper marker; affix it to a wall, tabletop or other space where a TV would go; point a smart device at the printout; and visualize different Vizio TVs in the space.
Users even have the option of streaming video and playing audio through the virtual display.
The technology is bound to come to additional elements in a home, from loudspeakers to touchscreens to cabinets.
Can you imagine, for example, an integrator pitching something like TruFIG recessed devices vis-à-vis traditional outlets and wall-mounted touchscreens? A visualization of the two options – ugly vs. elegant – could seal the deal.
How about spec’ing a lighting system and illustrating realistically how a space will look under different lighting conditions?
Here’s another thought: panning around the room with your smart device reveals what’s going on behind the walls. Wouldn’t it be nice to see exactly where the studs and wiring are? Certainly we’re not far away from that.
The building industry has made strides with Building Information Modeling (BIM) software, which will one day replace paper blueprints.
Our channel has barely toyed with the virtual realm, with the exception of Leon Speakers, which ran some VR ads in CE Pro last year, and invited dealers to twist and turn its Horizon OTO powered soundbar on an iPad to get a 360-degree look.
Leon’s Ethan Kaplan told me back then, “Honestly, I’m not exactly sure how we’ll use this stuff beyond the cool factor, but there’s a lot stewing in my brain!”
We should all be stewing about this potentially exciting tool.
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Julie Jacobson is founding editor of CE Pro, the leading media brand for the home-technology channel. She has covered the smart-home industry since 1994, long before there was much of an Internet, let alone an Internet of things. Currently she studies, speaks, writes and rabble-rouses in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V, wellness-related technology, biophilic design, and the business of home technology. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, and earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a recipient of the annual CTA TechHome Leadership Award, and a CEDIA Fellows honoree. A washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player, Julie currently resides in San Antonio, Texas and sometimes St. Paul, Minn. Follow on Twitter: @juliejacobson Email Julie at firstname.lastname@example.org
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