Williams-Sonoma Acquires AR Imaging Company Onward Inc
A number of firms have begun using augmented reality (AR) technology for various uses, with the trend increasing since the launch of Apple’s ARKit. One of the firms involved in this trend is Onward Inc, who are now set to be acquired by Williams-Sonoma.
Williams-Sonoma (WSI) are the parent company behind a number of retailer and home furnishing brands operating in the USA, Canada, Australia and the UK, covering companies such as Pottery Barn, West Elm, PBteen, Rejuvenation and Mark & Graham. Williams-Sonoma have entered into an agreement to purchase Outward for $112 million (USD).
WSI hope that the acquisition will allow the company to further develop its customer service platform and enhance the shopping experience for home furnishings. Outward have previously been involved with developing 3D imaging and AR technology platforms for the decorating and home furnishing industry.
“Outward brings proprietary and transformative technology at the forefront of our industry, and we welcome them to WSI,” said Laura Alber, President and Chief Executive Officer of WSI. “We are excited to own and collaborate in the further development of Outward’s technology that enables applications in product visualization, digital room design, and augmented and virtual reality. Together, we will drive digital innovation to create highly engaging and interactive consumer shopping experiences.”
“Williams-Sonoma, Inc. is a best-in-class retailer with a tremendous depth of knowledge and experience, as well as an industry leading multi-channel platform,” said Clarence Chui, President and Founder of Outward. “Joining the WSI team presents us with a unique opportunity to extend our leadership at the intersection of imaging technology and retail, and allows us to strengthen our support of existing customers and the entire home industry. We look forward to partnering with WSI to create the next generation of online, in-store, and design service experiences and execute on our shared belief that technology and innovation drive business.”
The deal is expected to complete by the end of the year. Outward will become a wholly owned subsidiary of WSI, but will continue to be managed by the current leadership team.