3D Body Processing: Why a Retail Coalition Is Interested

The 3D Retail Coalition is collaborating with some major retailers on body-processing technology that could redefine merchandise returns. The group is working closely with IEEE to create standards for the technology.

Online shopping has led to a major overhaul of the retail industry over the past two decades, but the greatest innovations may be yet to come.

Case in point: 3D body-processing technology could make it possible, for example, to try on a new outfit without having it shipped to your home and putting it on, only to realize it doesn’t fit.

That process can get expensive. According to a BBC estimate from last year, 63 percent of online shoppers who bought women’s clothing returned something. And with online shopping growing in popularity, retailers are looking to minimize that cost.

That’s just one way that 3D body-processing technology could be used in the retail sector. Proponents say it could also be used to design better-fitting clothes.

With such potential in mind, the manufacturer-focused online learning community Product Innovation launched a new offshoot group earlier this year called the 3D Retail Coalition (3D.RC).  The group plans to bring together companies to create standards for such technologies, with the goal of offering “direction, resources, and networking opportunities to help members unlock and accelerate the potential value of 3D digital transformation” in the apparel industry.

Earlier this week, the fledgling group—which counts Target and Under Armour as early members—scored a win when the IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA) approved a new standard for the technology that would ensure technical consistency wherever the tech is used—in retail or elsewhere.

“Market and technology fragmentation amongst 3D body-processing technology providers is driving a lack of agreement around quality, interoperability, communication, and security,” according to the standards document. “As a result, industries such as retail, health/wellness, sports/athletics, and medical are unable to deliver scalable quality of experiences. This project aims to address these challenges.”

Through its industry connections program, IEEE worked closely with a variety of industry groups on the standard.

“Through our agile-style engagement with the IEEE-SA IC, we’ve been able to successfully garner unique industry insights from partners, such as the 3D Retail Coalition, to help develop market and technology requirements vital toward standardization,” Intel’s Luciano C. Oviedo, the standard’s chair, said in a news release.

IEEE will highlight its work on the issue at the forthcoming 3DBODY.TECH conference, taking place in Lugano, Switzerland, next week.

(StudioM1/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

Got an article tip for us? Contact us and let us know!