Grafenia launches AR app

By Max Goldbart, Monday 04 December 2017

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Nettl parent company Grafenia has launched what it says is the world’s first augmented reality (AR) app for fabric displays, BeholdAR.

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Gunning's (pictured) in-house team of Nettl geeks worked on the app over the summer

Launched last week, the app, version 1.0, which is available on iPhones 6S, 7 and 8 and iPads, both with IOS 11.0, enables clients to visualise their designs on fabric exhibition displays in situ. It features 3D models of Nettl’s best-selling fabric displays, including curved and straight displays, deckchairs, booths and cocktail tables. 

Developed by Nettl’s in-house production team, the app uses Apple’s ARKit AR platform, will be available for free on the app store, and will in part be used as a marketing tool for Nettl sales staff.

Grafenia chief executive Peter Gunning said: “One of the challenges that we have with fabric is that when people see it they love it, but [with] a photograph on a website you just can’t get the scale.

“When you proof artwork it’s just a big flat strip. So we decided to do some 3D models so the clients could see the artwork and then we put two and two together and said why can’t we use those 3D models and use Apple’s ARKit.”

A team of four 'Nettl geeks' worked on the app over the summer, which scans a room and learns where the surfaces are, sending out thousands of measurements and placing objects into the reality around it, according to Gunning.

“Our range is huge now, so rather than having to take boot-loads of samples into the van you can take an iPad to a client meeting and show them what something might look like in their space – it’s part of the sales cycle,” he added.

Grafenia, which has sales of around £10m, recently relocated its large-format operation, to the premises of Manchester-based Image Everything one of two signage companies it has acquired this year, the other being Liverpool-based ADD Signs

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