Dassault Systèmes is seeing immersive virtual reality (VR) play a growing role in computer-aided design (CAD).
Global affairs and communities executive vice-president, Philippe Forestier, said Dassault Systèmes itself has invested in creating a "cave" at its Paris headquarters where an immersive 3D environment can be recreated.
"Some of our customers are using this type of immersive technology to do some specific design and simulation while recreating the real experience," he said.
Forestier said the advantage of VR over a flat screen is that it allows products to be designed "in the context of the way it will be used or applied."
To illustrate his point, Forestier points to how some companies in the consumer goods market are designing shampoo bottles from the perspective of the shopping experience.
"In a place where there are multiple products, a consumer will only be attracted by one item," he said.
Not only does VR help to simulate the reaction of a customer, Forestier said eye tracking tests can also be done to determine what products stands out and why.
The only downside of VR is the high cost, though recent technologies, such as the Oculus Rift headset, can potentially make it more accessible.
Forestier is keen to see VR have wider application in the world beyond the design studio, such as auto showrooms.
"You could save on showroom space and create a virtual showroom where people can view cars in an immersive virtual environment," he said.
The shopper's viewpoint
Different industries in Australia are adopting elements of the 3D experience, though Dassault Systèmes A/NZ value solutions director, Lloyd Perrin, said the truly immersive experience has not yet taken off locally.
"Immersive technologies are not as prevalent in the local design and manufacturing sectors as they are in other parts of the world," he said.
"However, the adoption of more intelligent 3D capabilities to help businesses is seen as important."
Getting shelf space in either of the two dominant supermarket chains in Australia is not an easy thing, and Perrin said there is value in virtualisation of stores and merchandising.
"It's not by chance franchised stores have a similar look and feel when you walk into them, as testing and unifying the store layout has taken place," he said.
Patrick Budmar covers consumer and enterprise technology breaking news for IDG Communications. Follow Patrick on Twitter at @patrick_budmar.