Blog: Tech talk: 3D assets and the pace of change

Looking through the Furniture Today archives, it’s interesting to note that we have more than doubled our coverage of news about the use of 3D since 2015. The same holds true for articles about augmented and virtual reality. At some point in the near future, the abbreviations AR and VR will be as quickly understood by most people as Wi-Fi and SKU.

Studies show that the pace of change has increased exponentially over time. Things change more rapidly today than some of our most powerful past inventions. For example, it took the telephone 50 years to reach 50 million users, but within 14 years, 50 million people were using computers, and within only 12 years, 50 million were using mobile phones.

Just looking at the 3D companies that we’ve reported on over the past few months, the number of tech companies entering the space seems to be increasing every month. Tech companies targeting the home furnishings industry with 3D, AR and VR have cropped up, many with interesting names like Coohom, Cylindo, Intiaro, Live Furnish, Marxent, Rendy, Turbo Squid, Threekit and Vertebrae.

The Khronos Group, an industry consortium focused on deploying and developing royalty-free open standards for 3D graphics, AR and VR, set up an exploratory working group this past April to create  standards and guidelines for the production and distribution of real-time 3D representations of products. Its goal is for 3D assets to be experienced realistically and consistently across all platforms and devices. Members of the group say they expect to have standardized formats and guidelines for how to correctly use 3D ready by May 2020.

With the increase in mobile phone shopping, the need to experience home furnishings in a virtual way is only going to increase. In fact, research from Adobe showed that over the past Thanksgiving holiday weekend 39% of all e-commerce sales were made on a smartphone and 61% of all online traffic to retailers came from smartphones. To that end, Adobe believes mobile represents a growing opportunity for smaller businesses that can offer unique products or services.

Beck Besecker, CEO and co-founder of Marxent, said, “2020 will be the year of 3D furniture. 2019 was about lighting the fuse, 2020 is the fireworks. Enjoy it while you can. By the end of the decade 3D will be so common you won’t even notice it anymore.”

As we get ready for the excitement of the start of a new decade in a few weeks, it’s a good time for companies of all sizes to start researching the viability of creating 3D assets that can be used in both AR and VR settings. With the ever-increasing pace of change, the amount of time it takes for 50 million people to start using these new technologies will likely be reached before the next decade is even halfway over.

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