Kettering technology drives furniture giant’s strategy

Furniture maker and retailer Ashley said Wednesday it is working with Kettering-based Marxent to create a company-wide “virtual reality and augmented reality strategy.” Barry Besecker, Marxent co-founder and chief technology officer, shows an example of the company’s mobile technology. TY GREENLEES/STAFF

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Furniture maker and retailer Ashley said Wednesday it is working with Kettering-based Marxent to create a company-wide “virtual reality and augmented reality strategy.” Barry Besecker, Marxent co-founder and chief technology officer, shows an example of the company’s mobile technology. TY GREENLEES/STAFF

A Kettering company’s technology is driving a new way to shop for furniture.

Furniture maker and retailer Ashley said Wednesday it is working with Kettering-based Marxent to create a “virtual reality and augmented reality strategy” to let consumers see furniture layouts and products in a new way.

An announcement from Ashley called Marxent “the leader in augmented reality and virtual reality for products and spaces.”

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“Augmented and virtual reality are essential to our growth and vision for the future,” Todd Wanek, Ashley’s president and chief executive, said in the company’s statement. “Our data shows that a combination of 3D visualization, seeing, touching and feeling actual products, combined with the consultation of our knowledgeable salespeople, will lead to a stand-apart customer experience that is location-flexible.”

“We’re excited to be a part of Ashley’s future vision of retail,” Beck Besecker, CEO and co-founder of Marxent, said in the same release.

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In April, Marxent Labs LLC attracted $10 million in Series B funding “for its promise of bringing virtual and augmented reality experiences to retailers and manufacturers.”

In 2015, the company told the Dayton Daily News that it had more than doubled its workforce over the past 16 months, expanding then to about 50 developers, 3-D artists and designers. Marxent also has offices in Tampa, Fla. and Detroit.

Marxent’s clients include Fortune 500 retailers, builders and manufacturers including Ashley Furniture, American Woodmark, AZEK Building Products and USG.

Ashley HomeStore says it is the No. 1 furniture retailer in the U.S. with more than 670 locations in 35 countries.

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