Computers and artificial intelligence have come along at an exponential rate over the past few decades, from being regarded as oversized adding machines to the point where they have played integral roles in some legitimately creative endeavours.
Dulux parent company, AkzoNobel, has brought mobile interactivity and repainting walls together with a new augmented reality (AR) app that allows consumers to dynamically re-colour walls using their mobile device.
The free Visualizer mobile app was developed by UK computing company, String, in partnership with AkzoNovel, Tessella and Webcredible, and employs AR to give consumers the ability to re-colour their walls as they move about room with a mobile device. As well as choosing, storing and viewing colours and colour schemes, consumers can use the app to save screenshots and share these with friends.
The app also shows users their nearest store, features ‘Dulux Masterclass’ educational video content, and has integrated ecommerce capabilities so consumers can order and deliver paint testers and stock online.
The vendor claims it is the first time a global paint brand is providing an AR tool to consumers. The app is now available on Google Play and Apple App Store in 40 markets excluding the US, in 28 languages and across 25 of AkzoNobel’s paint brands including Dulux, Flexa, Nordsjo and Coral. It works on both smartphones and tablet devices.
“We’re very proud to lead the industry by providing this ground-breaking tool for consumers, and we’re excited about our partnership with String moving forwards,” said AkzoNobel’s head of digital operations, Stewart Longhurst, in a statement.
He added String’s ability to invest in the necessary core technologies needed for the challenging project were vital in making this kind of dynamic mobile consumer strategy a reality. To handle the diverse range of room environments and lighting conditions in consumer homes, as well as isolate walls from household objects such as TVs and furniture, String researched and developed a series of bespoke algorithms to analyse and process live video from a device camera.
It also needed to be able to first measure ambient lighting conditions in the room, so that when the ‘paint’ is applied, shadows and subtle variations are retained. Customer software was then written to process position and orientation data using the mobile device’s hardware sensors, while tracking was included to remember walls that had previously been painted during an app session.
String director of product, Paul Skidmore, claimed the partnership was a prime example of how technology could provide real-world benefits to consumers. The vendor pointed out the app will help AkzoNobel shorten the sales cycle thanks to integrated ecommerce capabilities, as well as strengthen the brand profile of its paint products globally.
“The capability to choose real paint colours, and then preview them live on your own walls, will, we hope, remove some of the risk that consumers might worry about,” he commented.
“AkzoNovel’s uncompromising vision for the project required us to break new ground in this field; what you see today represents a first step towards that vision, and we’re looking forward to the advances our ongoing research and development will bring to future versions of the product.”
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