New IEEE Initiative Aims to Encourage Immersive Shopping

Could this be a whole new realm of shopping? A new initiative from IEEE hopes to bring immersive shopping technologies to the retail sector.

If a new standards body has its way, the next frontier in shopping could have more in common with Oculus Rift than Amazon.

The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) has launched an initiative focused on creating new standards for interactive shopping that could make it easier for shoppers to try on or get a feel for what they are buying in a virtual interface.

Part of the IEEE-Standards Association (IEEE-SA)  Industry Connections (IC) program, the initiative will bring together technology, retail, research, and standards development professionals to help develop 3D body-processing technology standards. Initial participants include Zappos, Intel, Body Labs, and Gerber Technology.

A New Kind of Shopping

With 3D body processing and automated modeling, the initiative hopes to fix a common weakness of the retail shopping experience: the inability to try something on when it’s not physically in the room with you.

“These technologies promise to elevate the virtual and in-store retail shopping experience to a new level of immersion by giving consumers a deeper sense for how garments will fit their individual body and personal sense of style through realistic and interactive visual representations,” a news release explained.

Eagerness Over Outcome

There’s great excitement about what’s to come from the initiative.

The new technology could be a “win-win” for both consumers and businesses, according to Intervisual Founder and CEO George Borshukov. Other companies, including Intel, are on the same page.

“Enabling consumers to have a realistic visualization of clothing on themselves before making a purchase solves real pain points for people and helps retailers save costs over time,” Sanjay Vora, Intel’s vice president, client computing group, said in a press release. “Platforms that deliver a high-quality immersive shopping experience represent a major opportunity for the ecosystem at large.”

It could particularly be a boon to online shopping firms like Zappos.

“The online shopping experience can be hindered by ordering the wrong size,” Galen Hardy, senior director of clothing at Zappos, said. “We feel that immersive technologies, like what companies in this initiative are creating, can help to lessen that. Since we’re constantly evaluating different ways to improve our customers’ experience, immersive technologies that work well together will allow us to do this in new and exciting ways.”


Patrick deHahn

By Patrick deHahn

Patrick deHahn is a contributor to Associations Now. MORE

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