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The Khronos Group recently announced the formation of a new Working Group that focuses on 3D visualization for commerce, as a participant of the precursing exploratory group. We believe this development is the clearest signifier that 3D visual commerce experiences are the present, and will have far-reaching implications for both B2C and B2B.
With the Working Group consisting of virtually all major online retailers and many 3D visualization providers, we expect widespread support for the standards and recommendations from this group. One of the principle aims of this group is to create a certification process for 3D content and tools. This process will provide a recipe to create 3D models of products that can be readily displayed on multiple commerce sites.
By itself, this effort would level the playing field with respect to 3D product experiences, but the Working Group also plans to develop standards for the display of product options. We expect a product of the Working Group will be a configurability standard defining the configurable options for a product, how those options are realized in the visual model, and ensure consistent display of those options. This will widen the range of products with configurable options, making configuration a standard feature of 3D commerce experiences.
With an alignment of 3D visual and configuration experiences across platforms, the primary differentiator for 3D visual tools will be the on boarding of content. To that end, vendors of 3D software will strive to provide the most expedient path to creating visual content. The market will also expand in search of tools that can produce 3D models from photos, CAD models, or by scanning real products.
This, in turn, means more and more products will include 3D visual experiences. Within a short time, these experiences will then become the standard expectation of the market. Manufacturers who do not provide such an experience will start to lose sales to their competitors who do.
As 3D visual experiences become the norm for B2C, we will see the expectation for similar experiences in B2B2C. This will arise as customers work with dealers through portals to select and configure products, and then to B2B as the dealers develop an affinity for 3D visual experiences through interacting with their customers.
In the end, every manufacturer should care about 3D visual experiences, even if their products are only sold through B2B sites. The time to start navigating a path towards 3D visual experiences is here. You can bet your competitors will leverage the emergence of 3D visual experience, driving their customers and partners to choose their products.