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Apple’s AI-powered RoomPlan complements a design app

Interior design company Planner 5D introduced an API feature created by Apple that enables app users to quickly scan rooms without taking too much time to draw and trace manually.

As a vendor of interior design software, Planner 5D develops an application that lets users design their rooms in 2D or 3D. However, many users felt the process of tracing and drawing the room they want to design took a long time. Planner 5D searched for ways to speed up the process.

During the summer, Apple approached the vendor -- based in Vilnius, Lithuania -- with an early software developer kit of the tech giant's own RoomPlan app. It scans rooms and turns them into 3D floor plans using AI and machine learning technology.

Planner 5D then incorporated the RoomPlan feature into its app, giving users the option to use it or manually draw and trace their rooms.

With RoomPlan, Planner 5D saw significant savings in the time it took users to scan their rooms and create floor plans of the rooms they want to change.

A time-consuming step

"It happens in minutes," said Alexey Sheremetyev, chief product officer and co-founder of Planner 5D.

"Customers were actually asking for something like this," added Matt Kryvashein, chief marketing officer at Planner 5D. "A user gets a way better experience than any other capturing [tools], and for us, it was kind of a natural addition."

With RoomPlan, customers use their phone's camera as a scanner to capture a room's dimensions, walls and objects. The tool helps users better capture planes and objects in the rooms at the right speed, lighting and distance. Then, Planner 5D's processing server receives the information, rebuilds the space's virtual geometry, and matches them with the app's 3D catalog.

Once the room is recreated, a user can rearrange the furniture placement and shape of the room virtually.

Not for everyone

While RoomPlan is a good option for some of Planner 5D's customers, it only addresses the initial problem for some.

Image of RoomPlan scanning a room
Using the RoomPlan feature, Planner 5D app users can quickly scan the room they want to design.

For one, the feature is only available for users who have LIDAR-enabled devices. Light detection and ranging technology uses lasers to measure distances and map objects. Apple's iPhone 12 Pro model and above uses LIDAR technology.

Moreover, since RoomPlan is an Apple feature, it is only available to customers with iPhones.

This limitation has led to complaints from customers without LIDAR devices or iPhones, Kryvashein said.

However, for Planner 5D, similar products on the market do not compare to RoomPlan.

"The quality of their results is not stable," Kryvashein added, referring to the other products Planner 5D compared RoomPlan to. "In the past, we decided we would not offer something that is not high quality or low end to our users. So we would rather wait for something similar to land on Android than provide our users with a negative experience."

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