Walmart may be making a big move towards developing and using virtual reality technology. The company has confirmed that its tech-based subsidary, Store No 8, has acquired the startup Spatialand, which has created tools that will help convert normal content into VR experiences.
Spatialand previously worked with Walmart to develop a VR demo that the retailer said could serve as an example of how millions of future shoppers will use the technology. Now that partnership has turned into a full acqusiiton of Spatialand. The company, based in Venice, California, has 11 current employees. The specific financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
In an interview with Recode, Katie Finnegan, the current head of Walmart’s Store No. 8 and the interim CEO of Spatialand, stated that we may not see what this team has been working on for at least a year, and perhaps longer. She added that Store No. 8 is working on retail technology that may not enter into the mainstream for another five years. That shows that Walmart is playing the long game when it comes to new retail experiences, as it tries to compete successfully with Amazon and other retailers.
It will be interesting to see how VR will be used at Walmart’s brick-and-mortar locations, as well as online. While it’s easy to imagine how wearing VR and AR devices can help when ordering products online in the privacy of your own home, it will be a bigger challenge to see that kind of technology implented in the company’s thousands of stores.