Augmented Reality (AR), Companies, News

Williams-Sonoma purchases 3D imaging and AR firm

Home products retailer Williams-Sonoma, Inc. (WSI) announced this afternoon that they intend to acquire Outward, Inc., the developer of a 3-D imaging and augmented reality platform intended for the home furnishing and decor industries. WSI will reportedly pay $112 million US to acquire the company.

The move comes in a furniture retail environment that sees WSI’s competitors increasingly using AR technologies.

Target released a “See It In Your Space” component to their website earlier this year, to allow shoppers to visualize furniture placement. Meanwhile, IKEA leveraged iOS 11’s AR features in their released-in-September “IKEA Place” app.

WSI says this acquisition will enable them to build upon existing initiatives that integrate technology into the furniture-buying experience across their company. The company operates under the Williams Sonoma, Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids, West Elm, PBteen, Williams Sonoma Home, Rejuvenation, and Mark and Graham brands.

Outward brings proprietary and transformative technology at the forefront of our industry, and we welcome them to WSI,” said Laura Alber, President and Chief Executive Officer of WSI.

We are excited to own and collaborate in the further development of Outward’s technology that enables applications in product visualization, digital room design, and augmented and virtual reality

Clarence Chui will remain as President and Founder of Outward, while his staff will also remain at their headquarters in San Jose, CA.

Joining the WSI team presents us with a unique opportunity to extend our leadership at the intersection of imaging technology and retail, and allows us to strengthen our support of existing customers and the entire home industry,” said Chui, speaking to today’s announcement.

The transaction is expected to close by the end of the year.