The rise of 3D body scanning: Why digital avatars are the future
According to Markets & Markets, the 3D body scanning and virtual fitting room market reached 2.9 billion USD in 2019 and is projected to grow at an astonishing annual pace of 20,9%, to reach an estimated 7.6 billion USD by 2024.
There are certainly reasons behind such growth; let’s take a look at how body 3D scanning is helping companies in various industries re-think and boost their existing business models.
Few people could have ever predicted the spread of COVID, quarantine, and the new “normal” born with it. Fashion, as one of the most affected industries, had little choice but to adapt.
Even though the fashion industry was already in the process of shifting to digital, the closure of many physical stores made it obvious: further embrace today’s technology to survive and grow, or follow the same, conservative business model and join the long list of Retail apocalypse victims.
Design & Production
3D scanners enable brands and designers to obtain anthropometric data about their actual customers, rather than basing themselves on standardized body forms which are, in some cases, decades old. This helps brands improve their size charts and, even more importantly, identify correlations in order to establish new body types.
Switching from physical processes (design, production, and sampling) to 3D digital workflows also allows brands to market new collections in a much faster and cheaper manner.
60 billion USD. That’s how much retailers spent last year on return shipping for apparel that didn’t fit their customers and were returned. Due to the massive surge of online retail this year, this already staggering number will likely grow even more over the next few months.
3D scans solve at least part of this problem, as digital avatars allow retailers to offer precise size recommendations and virtual try-ons, offering their customers a personalized, smooth, and entertaining shopping experience.
The concept is simple: customers enter the 3D scanning cabin and obtain their very own digital profile with detailed body measurements. Then, with a special app, their digital self can virtually try on different items from anywhere, whether it’s at home or in-store, and anytime. Customers love it!
Studies & Surveys
“Know your customer”. This rule makes sense in a number of industries including medical (personalized diagnosis and healing of diseases) or ergonomics-oriented areas such as automotive, aviation, and furniture industries.
Companies conduct various scientific studies to define correlations between different activities and anthropometric characteristics, to make their products as comfortable to use as possible. Here, 3D body scanning appears as an ideal solution to almost effortlessly obtain precise, actionable data and at scale.
Entertainment & Advertising
A 3D scanner may be easily converted into an effective customer engagement tool to create ultra-personalized animation videos, starring participants themselves.
This type of customer-specific content is becoming increasingly popular, triggering more emotion and, thus, engagement from customers.
Here’s an example of Fanta using Texel’s services to create custom animations:
This video showcases a range of other use cases (gaming, events, advertising, …):
Another possible application here is 3D printed figurines, also known as mini-me’s or 3D selfies. Existing technologies enable the creation of such souvenirs or gifts in record time.
Accurate 3D copies of art pieces, sculptures, and even environments or monuments serve as a basis for CGI (computer-generated imagery) to offer spectators a new level of immersion in galleries, theaters, and cinemas.
Digitizing your body in 3D helps you track your progress via a visual overview of your stats. Comparing scans from week to week or month to month can demonstrate how different exercises affect your body shape, making the training process engaging and clear. It’s quite motivating to see one’s efforts convert into tangible, desired changes.
The artificial intelligence (AI) behind the 3D body scanners and their software offer tailored programs and exercises based on your current fit and goals.
Science & Education
Research and training using high precision avatars. 3D scanners help students and researchers acquire new knowledge to put forward new hypotheses and prove them right or wrong.
Some of the most popular educational courses that make use of full-body scanners certainly are Digital Designer programs, where students practice their design and development skills based on real people to compare new digital products with physical samples.
Another interesting use case is Medical Education; students can look for physical symptoms on their patients, helping them develop more acute expertise and visual assessment skills.