New IEEE Industry Group to Focus on Immersive Shopping Experiences

IEEE, the world's largest professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for humanity, announced the launch of a new IEEE Standards Association (IEEE-SA) Industry Connections (IC) program aimed at bringing together diverse stakeholders from across technology, retail, research and standards development to build thought leadership around 3D body processing technology standards. Initial participants include Body Labs; Browzwear; Fishman & Tobin (a division of Global Brands Group); Gerber Technology; Intel; Intervisual; Optitex; Size Stream; USC Center for Body Computing; USC Institute for Creative Technologies; Volumental; and Zappos.

"We are specifically integrating complex systems thinking and cutting edge research and innovation into this effort in order to help reduce technology and market silos, as well as to accelerate the creation of shared value in an open and collaborative environment," said Luciano C. Oviedo, chair, IEEE-SA IC 3D Body Processing Activity; and strategy & product development, Intel.

"Intel is excited to work with the industry to support open standards development that will help make realistic body model visualization a norm for shopping. 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. Platforms that deliver a high quality immersive shopping experience represents a major opportunity for the ecosystem at large," said Sanjay Vora, vice president, client computing group, Intel.

"Today there is no uniform standard for shoe sizing that is actually being used by footwear companies around the world. As 3D scanning and measurements are becoming an integral tool for buying custom footwear and offering fitting recommendations, we look forward to playing a role in creating a new standard for the industry," said Josef Grahn, vice president, technology, Volumental.

"Since we've lived through the challenges of building support for multiple OS's and opening up our platform, we're excited about the potential value that comes from standards that will help ensure interoperability and interconnectivity across the ecosystem," added Avihay Feld, COO, Browzwear.

With continued advances being realized across the body processing pipeline such as from 3D scanning, modeling and visualization, it is becoming easier to construct detailed, highly accurate models of inanimate "On-the-Body" objects like clothing, as well as animate "Of-the-Body" objects, such as the human form. Used in concert, 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. As such, standardization efforts around format types and classifications; quality specifications and metrics; test methods; communication, sharing and security protocols; and privacy guides are under consideration.

"The online shopping experience can be hindered by ordering the wrong size. 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 customer's experience, immersive technologies that work well together will allow us to do this in new and exciting ways," said Galen Hardy, senior director, clothing, Zappos.

Karsten H. Newbury, vice president and general manager, software, Gerber Technology, added, "In our experience with fashion design, we have seen the benefits of bringing players together from across the ecosystem to share perspective, learn from each other and collaborate to create shared value. An IEEE standards initiative around 3D body processing has the potential to achieve this and more across the immersive shopping value chain."

Core members are in planning mode for a spectrum of research and innovation as well as standards scoping activities over 2016 in both virtual and face-to-face formats. A dedicated online forum for group discussion, networking, and documentation of work products will complement meetings.

"As a software provider in 3D virtual clothing, we are interested in pursuing standards in body processing technology to enable consistency and ensure quality during virtual clothing try-on sessions. Working with IEEE will promote interoperability of virtual clothing and virtual bodies from different sources, and allow Optitex, as well as the other stakeholders, to focus on innovation in their respective areas of expertise," added Dr. Rony Goldenthal, CTO, Optitex.

Through IC activities, IEEE-SA facilitates like-minded organizations and individuals coming together quickly, effectively and economically to build consensus at strategic points in a technology's lifecycle. IC activities have the unique opportunity to leverage IEEE resources in a customized format to produce a variety of shared results.

"The potential value for standards to address challenges such as quality metrics and protocols around human shape, pose and motion are very high. These standards could reduce fragmentation by enabling independent parties to consistently process sensor data, extract measurements or body geometry from the same relative locations, and easily integrate into broader platforms," said Bill O'Farrell, co-founder and CEO, Body Labs.

"If we do the right standards in the right way, then it's a win-win: consumers win with improved buying and wearing experiences and the ecosystem wins with improved supply chain efficiencies and product capabilities," concluded George Borshukov, founder and CEO, Intervisual.

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