Network technology is evolving. With 5G fast approaching, digital design and CGI agency for the interiors industry, Orbital Vision, warns manufacturers and retailers alike to prepare for the impact it is about to have on the industry …

The prospect of 5G becoming available as standard in 2020 heralds a significant shift in furniture and interiors ecommerce. There have been announcements that full-length feature films will be downloadable in just 10 seconds with the power of 5G, and that anything online will be noticeably instantaneous. 

It is claimed that 5G will be four times faster than 4G connections. Yet, suggests Orbital, the trade should be looking at the wider picture – its advent may allow for faster browsing, video streaming or gameplay, but the broader spectrum of opportunity for the retail sector is still untapped, but will likely pay off for those companies that are planning ahead.

Orbital’s team has nicknamed the movement ‘the new digital revolution’, says director, Rob Walker: “When it comes to furniture and home textiles, we work in a more traditional industry with regard to furniture being a high-risk item when consumers turn to online shopping. Furniture purchases require consumers to invest significant amounts of time and money choosing an item they will have to live with for up to 25 years. 

“With fast-growing numbers of online-only homeware stores, we still see the majority of buyers hesitate when making a purchase. But all of this is about to change. Very soon, with the introduction of mainstream 5G connections, the opportunity for virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) will introduce brand-new tactics into our industry when it comes to staying ahead of the market. 

“We are seeing it already amongst the big players with Ikea’s Place App, which uses AR to allow consumers to virtually place Ikea furniture in their own home, in their fabric of choice, to scale. 

“They have also introduced an entirely VR shop in Australia. None of this would be available to an SME on a 4G network, as there is just too much information and the connection isn’t fast enough, but it is about to open up to anyone who is ready to embrace the new digital revolution and doesn’t want to find themselves left behind. It is really exciting.”

Orbital specialises in creating CGI (Computer Generated Imagery) product images and room sets, alongside website builds and creative design. Straddling the world of tech and interiors, the business always keeps one eye on the future to predict where the market’s opportunities will arise. 

“CGI is where it all starts,” continues Rob. “Once your products are recreated as 3D assets it will open doors to marketing which may seem entirely futuristic. The possibilities are, quite literally, endless. 

“With CGI finally being recognised as more versatile and cost-effective than traditional photography, we can see that, in the very near future, if suppliers do not own 3D assets of their products for their clients to easily add to their website, they will start losing out on vital sales to competitors who are one step ahead.” 

Retailers seeking interactive CGI images for their websites would have to spend crucial time and money on, for example, digitally recreating a supplier’s fabric, in which to wrap each of their products. If a supplier already has these assets readily available, they will undeniably look more attractive to a buyer. 

“The advice is to start now,” concludes Rob. “Future-proof your marketing materials. You may be surprised at how simple it is once you hire a good team, and wonder why you spent so many years carrying out location shoots.”