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Houzz — Transforming Homes into Augmented Reality Shopping Malls

In writ­ing about Houzz I find myself ref­er­enc­ing the Holodeck from Star Trek way too often, but with good rea­son — it’s sim­ply the coolest sci-fi idea ever (and it’s com­ing — you know it is). With that dis­claimer out of the way, here I go again. Imag­ine if you could look around your liv­ing room or bed­room and see a blank can­vas in place of some things. Get rid of your couch, your chair, your dress­er, or what­ev­er you think is need of an upgrade or replace­ment with­out hav­ing to actu­al­ly move it.

Imag­ine that you could vir­tu­al­ly scroll through image after end­less image of oth­er liv­ing rooms or bed­rooms, spot some­thing in them that strikes your fan­cy, and then see that par­tic­u­lar item in your Holodeck-enabled home. Old couch gone, the new one you saw in a pic­ture sit­ting in its place. The idea makes the inte­ri­or dec­o­ra­tor in you get real­ly excit­ed. And that is pret­ty much what the home remod­el­ing plat­form Houzz is allow­ing any­one and every­one to do now.

Houzz is becom­ing increas­ing­ly pop­u­lar, with the Android ver­sion of their app being vot­ed best app of the year in 2016.   400% sales growth year-over-year from 2015, and more than 40 mil­lion month­ly unique users. The sec­ond part of the Holodeck com­par­i­son above comes in a fea­ture launched ear­li­er this year called View in My Room; which lets users take a prod­uct image from their cat­a­log and place it in a pho­to of their own space to see what it would actu­al­ly look like there.

The first part of the com­par­i­son was just launched and is called Visu­al Match. “Peo­ple come to Houzz because they want to get every­thing they need to improve their homes in one place, from inspi­ra­tion to exe­cu­tion,” said Alon Cohen, Houzz co-founder and pres­i­dent. “Visu­al Match makes it even eas­i­er for peo­ple to take action on inspi­ra­tion, enabling them to view a pho­to in the Houzz app, tap a prod­uct in the pho­to that they love, and use View in My Room to see the prod­uct in their own space before purchasing.”

Houzz is home to 11 mil­lion high-qual­i­ty home pho­tos and its cat­a­log con­tains 6 mil­lion prod­ucts from 15,000 ven­dors. As users browse them, they can now click on an item with­in the image and Houzz will find the same prod­uct or a visu­al­ly sim­i­lar one and bring it up for them to see, price, and place in their own space using View in My Room. If you’ve ever thought that you had a knack for inte­ri­or design and want­ed to exploit that tal­ent to cre­ate income, Houzz is your new best friend. It’s essen­tial­ly the home dec­o­rat­ing equiv­a­lent of Home Depot for home repair projects, but much better.

Beyond dec­o­rat­ing for a liv­ing or sim­ply redec­o­rat­ing your own home, Houzz might be an ide­al job oppor­tu­ni­ty for any­one in the com­put­er vision or aug­ment­ed real­i­ty fields. These types of job oppor­tu­ni­ties seem to be sprout­ing like weeds in recent years, but a busi­ness that’s grow­ing at the rate that Houzz seems to be (they don’t dis­close their actu­al sales or rev­enue num­bers) could move it to the top of your resume-send­ing list.

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