The importance of 3D model data is growing

Our research shows that the need for 3D model data is increasing within Product Information Management (PIM) environments. An crucial driver of this trend is the growing importance of Augmented and Virtual Reality in the customer journey.

Virtual and Augmented Reality are becoming increasingly important for brands that want to create an excellent customer experience. For example, when purchasing an IKEA kitchen, customers are able to configure each and every element of their new kitchen using the company’s 3D Kitchen Planner. The system contains the entire kitchen catalogue, including colors, sizes and product numbers. With the help of an IKEA employee, customers can design every single aspect of their new kitchen. After finishing the configuration, a drawing of the kitchen is rendered, the invoice is printed and the order is sent off to IKEA’s warehouse and logistical system. All with just one click of a button. IKEA also lets its customers virtually place true-to-scale models of furniture in their own home with their Augmented Reality app.

Meanwhile, in the building and construction industry, the practice of Building Information Modeling (BIM) is coming into play. With BIM, 3D product data is applied to the entire process of engineering, construction and realization. This transforms the traditional phases of building into a streamlined, modern way of working. For homebuyers, it is now possible to see the houses visualized in VR before they are built. The result is a significantly shortened selection and buying process, because seeing is believing. For product data, this means that each component needs to have a digital 3D representation. Poor data quality is unacceptable here, as it leads to huge costs and dissatisfied customers.

These two examples show how VR and AR are gradually entering our lives and radically changing the way we – the consumers – configure and buy products.

Although the examples may sound simple, the IT reality behind these smart applications is quite complex. For example, to help customers design their perfect kitchen, the kitchen app combines a myriad of product specifications sourced from different systems. In addition, every imaginable element of the kitchen – from microwave to cupboard door – needs to be available in 3D. For this application to work on a worldwide scale, flawless Product Information Management is key.

Due to AR and VR’s growing popularity, we expect to see a steep rise in the demand for 3D product information within areas like marketing and sales. 3D models not only serve an upstream role, vastly enhancing the customer experience, they are also becoming increasingly important for downstream fueling of production, maintenance and service processes with personalized data. This trend is clearly visible in Squadra’s annual PIM survey. Over 40% of the respondents indicate a need for 3D product data. Five years ago, this percentage was only 22%.

Do you want to learn more about the growing appreciation of accurate product information in organizations and the importance of flawless data onboarding?

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