Virtual Worlds is the Five Year Future for Villeroy & Boch

untitledVirtual Worlds, has renewed its contract with leading ceramics manufacturer Villeroy & Boch, who have chosen to sign its distributers up to a five-year contract with the business.

The new agreement will make the catalogue available to all Villeroy & Boch customers nationally. The deal will see catalogue updates across all Virtual Worlds platforms, including its Professional 3D Design software, 4D Showroom and 4D Theatre and newly launched One Price.

Virtual Worlds’ cutting edge virtual reality and CAD design technology will take the Villeroy & Boch product range to a new dimension by delivering a high quality, fully immersive and interactive buying experience to retailers. Customers using the product can explore a virtual reality simulation of their dream bathroom, containing the Villeroy & Boch products of their choice – a first-of-a-kind service for the industry.

With showroom staff able to create high quality imagery and produce a ‘real time’ simulation of the perfect Villeroy & Boch bathroom, retailers are able to provide a fully-comprehensive consumer experience. Designed to bring all of the advantages of the online retailer to the showroom, this includes detailed information and video about each product and design, which is accessed through Virtual Worlds’ innovative inspect mode.

Rick Jones, managing director at DHL Bathrooms, one of Villeroy & Boch’s UK Distributors said: “Purchasing a new bathroom is a large expense for many, and with so many options out there it can be difficult to know where to start. Our new five-year deal with Virtual Worlds, however, will help to ensure our retailers always get the right fit for their customers whenever they purchase a new Villeroy & Boch product.

“Virtual Worlds is right at the cutting edge of virtual reality and CAD design, and the lifelike models they have created for the Villeroy & Boch catalogue enable customers to get closer to the design than ever before.

“We look forward to continuing to work with the company over the coming years, and are confident our customers will continue to enjoy the service that Virtual Worlds provides to retailers across the country.”

The new deal, signed in July, will see all Villeroy & Boch catalogues made available for designers, aligning with its values of delivering high quality products and superior design.

Nathan Maclean, managing director at Virtual Worlds, added: “This is fantastic news for everyone involved and we very much are looking forward to continuing our working relationship with Villeroy & Boch.

“Our software is market-leading within the KBB industry, providing customers with peace of mind and all of the information they require to allow them to make the most informed decision possible. Not only this, but retailers are equipped with the tools and knowledge to assist customers every step of the way.”

For more information on Virtual Worlds, please visit www.virtualworlds.co.uk.

Virtual Worlds Celebrates the Success of 2017 with Roadshow at Ultra

CAD design company, Virtual Worlds, has celebrated a year of success and innovation in virtual reality technology with a series of roadshows, including its latest and last event of 2017 at Ultra in Halifax, which will take place on the 22nd and 23rd November.

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Customers will be able to immerse themselves in a virtual version of their bathroom

Virtual Worlds, which turned 20 this year, has marked 2017 as a momentous year of innovation, having launched its first-of-a-kind 4D Theatre, which brings a level of spatial awareness and immersion never before seen in the KBB industry. Allowing users to enter and walk around a proposed room from a first person perspective, via a virtual reality headset. 4D Theatre features an up-to-date catalogue of more than 100 popular manufacturers, such as Ideal Standard and Villeroy and Boch.

The occasion will see the cutting-edge company host an engaging roadshow at Ultra, where KBB retailers will be able to try out its 4D Theatre and see first-hand the power of virtual reality. Experts from Virtual Worlds will also be on hand to offer advice on how virtual reality software can help to generate sales and increase conversion rates.

The tour started at leading sanitary ware manufacturer Geberit’s head office in Warwick in May, and since then Virtual Worlds has toured the UK, visiting five locations as part of their roadshow tour.

Nathan Maclean, managing director of Virtual Worlds, said: “2017 has been an incredibly exciting year for us with lots of new developments and products being created. CAD design has come a long way in such a short space of time, and for KBB retailers, virtual reality is the next step along in that journey.

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Nathan Maclean, MD of Virtual Worlds

“Our roadshow will help to give retailers the opportunity to experience the excitement of virtual reality technology and see how it can be a highly effective sales tool, making it easier for customers to experience, and fall in love with, their dream kitchen, bedroom or bathroom.

“Our final roadshow of 2017 will be a great way to top off what has been a truly successful year for us, full of pioneering technology and progress. It’s fair to say that we’re looking forward to continuing to innovate to the next level in 2018.”

CAD design has come on leaps and bounds in the 20 years during which Virtual Worlds has been working in the space, most recently with the development of VR technology. Over the last few years VR has really begun to make its mark as a serious option for designers and retailers as they seek a more interactive, immersive way of sharing their plans with customers.

Once an icon of low-budget science fiction movies, VR has become more accessible since the turn of the decade thanks to the evolution of smartphones, games consoles and dedicated headsets such as HTC Vive and Oculus Rift.

 

Virtual Worlds Roadshow

On a mission to make Virtual Worlds synonymous with successful KBB showrooms nationwide, we are running a series of roadshow events up and down the country. With each event hosted by our manufacturing partners, they provide your business with the perfect opportunity to network with suppliers, engage with peers and learn how Virtual Worlds is providing businesses like yours with the tools to succeed in a constantly evolving market.

The video features the highlights from our last roadshow event hosted by Roman in Durham.

Our next roadshow event is on the 22nd and 23rd of November and is hosted by Ultra Finishing in Halifax. Book here to select your day.

Virtual Worlds- Shaping the Future of KBB Retail!

Virtual Worlds Scoops Gold At BKU Awards!

Virtual Worlds, has been crowned Best Software Brand at the BKU Awards.

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The Virtual Worlds Team accepting the award for Best Software Brand

For the second year running Virtual Worlds beat off stiff competition to scoop the title in recognition of its design, innovation and influence in the KBB market.

The prestigious event was attended by the bathroom and kitchen industry’s most respected professionals, who gathered to celebrate standards of excellence in retail, design, innovation and remarkable achievements of the sector.

With judging open to the KBB industry across the nation, the results are a true reflection of a brand’s influence within the sector. The awards, which were hosted by funnyman Jimmy Carr, were well attended with professionals from a whole host of backgrounds gunning for the top accolades on the evening.

BKU Awards win Virtual Worlds best software brand
MD, Nathan MacLean with the evening’s host Jimmy Carr.

Nathan Maclean, managing director at Virtual Worlds, said: “We’re delighted to have been awarded Best Software Brand at this year’s BKU awards.

“As a business committed to breaking boundaries in KBB software technology, we are constantly looking to the future of CAD technology in order to further support retailers and revolutionise the industry.

“With continuing growth, continued client investment and strong customer feedback, this really is only the beginning for us! From production, through to delivery and support, we are continuously evolving and it is this combination that has clearly given us a winning formula.

“We are thrilled to be recognised by BKU in such a highly competitive category and it’s amazing to see we are leading the way in developing innovative technology systems for the KBB industry. We can’t wait to see what the future holds – hopefully it includes a few more awards in the years to come!”

Virtual Worlds Releases Industry First…

Virtual Worlds is breaking boundaries with its latest development in virtual reality (VR) design software, 4D Theatre, which brings a level of spatial awareness and immersion never seen before in the KBB industry.

4D Theatre assettIn contrast to previous iterations of the software, 4D Theatre ditches the controller and allows customers to walk around the space freely via a specially-designed headset. This tracks their body and hand movements and relays them onto the screen, making customers feel like they have jumped into the room created by the designer.

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Customers physically walk around their designed space
Products from more than 100 different manufacturers such as Ideal Standard, Crosswater, Roca and Vitra are represented within the system, increasing the level of immersion and allowing users to do anything from step inside a shower to open up a cabinet drawer simply by physically walking over and touching them.

Consumers can freely move around the room in the headset, giving retailers a platform to showcase the full potential of the space – while giving designers the opportunity to experiment with a range of configurations quickly and easily.

They can also drill down on their favourite products in inspect mode. This offers an in-depth description of the product specifications – making the purchasing decision easier and helping to prevent dreaded buyers’ remorse.

Virtua Worlds CAD software
Nathan Maclean, MD of Virtual Worlds

Nathan Maclean, managing director at Virtual Worlds, said: “4D Theatre is our most exciting and immersive product to date and it will undoubtedly help to deliver a futuristic retail experience for bricks and mortar KBB retailers.

“Our software is all about providing customers with peace of mind, giving them the information at their fingertips to ensure they have an informed decision throughout the design process.

“This new software not only provides customers with greater insight before they commit to a purchase, but also further equips retailers with the tools to increase footfall, shorten the buying cycle and increase revenue.”

20th Anniversary Roadshows

Here at Virtual Worlds we are celebrating two decades of innovation by touring the UK with our very latest virtual reality (VR) technology.

Virtual Worlds turns 20 in July, and we’re marking the occasion by inviting KBB retailers to try out the very latest innovations during a roadshow at various locations throughout the year. We plan to show designers the power of virtual reality and offer advice on how it can help to generate sales and increase conversion rates.IMAG1252

The tour started at leading sanitary ware manufacturer Geberit’s head office in Warwick on May 8-9, and is followed by a series of events to mark Clerkenwell Design Week next week. A visit to Dansani, Brighton takes place in July with Roman Showers, County Durham, scheduled for September, and more locations and dates to be announced later next month.

The first roadshow at Geberit was well attended with visitors able to try out our 4D Theatre system, receive training on their existing Virtual Worlds system and to experience our virtual reality (VR) plans for the future. 4D Virtual Reality Headset

CAD design has come on leaps and bounds in the 20 years during which Virtual Worlds has been working in the space, most recently with the development of VR technology. Over the last few years VR has really begun to make its mark as a serious option for designers and retailers as they seek a more interactive, immersive way of sharing their plans with customers.

For KBB retailers it can be a highly effective sales tool, making it easier for customers to experience, and fall in love with, their dream kitchen, bedroom or bathroom.

4D technology, Virtual Relality
Customers will be able to immerse themselves in a virtual version of their bathroom

Virtual Worlds’ 4D Showroom software, for example, allows users to enter and walk around the proposed room from a first person perspective. It features an up-to-date catalogue of more than 100 popular manufacturers.

Nathan Maclean, managing director of Virtual Worlds, said: “CAD design has come a long way in such a short space of time, and for KBB retailers, virtual reality is the next step along in that journey.

“It’s something that you really do have to experience, which is why we’re inviting retailers along to celebrate our 20th birthday with us by trying the very latest technology on the market for themselves.”

For more information please visit www.virtualworlds.co.uk or contact 01908 663848

 

From Virtual to Reality

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Ten years ago the virtual reality (VR) concept would render images of cheesy 80’s Sci-Fi’s and nascent gaming technology, appearing more like a fantasy for technologists with little bearing in the real world.

That is, of course, until now. Today, VR is not so much creeping but rather leaping into the mainstream.

Only last year we saw Oculus, Samsung and Sony get seriously big on VR, keenly competing to achieve media share for their latest headsets and this trend shows no sign of abating anytime soon.

But, you may ask, can VR really have a tangible business impact in the KBB world? The answer is irrevocably yes, and for those retailers who aren’t already using it the (not so virtual) reality is that it really is no longer a case of ‘if’ but rather ‘when’…..

More in Store

For the large part, VR allows KBB retainers to create that all-important USP in what, with the dominance of e-commerce, has become a keenly competitive market.

Today’s abundance of online KBB retailers, many of which offer a fast delivery and cheap prices, mean it can be all too tempting for consumers to buy their kitchen or bathroom on the Internet from the comfort of their home.

This, in turn, has put increased pressure on traditional retailers to create a 4D Plus imagetangible differentiation to win business. This is clearly reflected in the latest Mintel report on the bathroom sector which concurs ‘Retailers need to build a wide suite of skills to service the complex requirements of a bathroom make-over – services will become increasingly sophisticated, with branded elements to add reassurance for shoppers.’1

Here, the remit then is about thinking outside the box and applying the use of the technology to a retail advantage: cue the VR revolution.

The integration of VR with design consultancy quite simply takes the customer experience to another level. Virtual Worlds’ 4D CAD technology, for example, delivers high quality, virtual reality and an interactive buying experience via a futuristic headset whereby users can realise a 4D simulation of physically being in their dream kitchen or bathroom design.

Sitting comfortably in their chair complete with an avatar (which is even matched with appearance) they can experience every socket, every stitch, each and every fine detail of their concept and how it may look and feel in real-time. Want to check how much space is between the island unit and the oven? Check. Extend drawers to ensure sufficient storage? Check. Operate functional fittings such as magic corner units? Check.

This digital transformation of blended reality experience with product design takes the ‘try before you buy’ concept to whole new level and it is a very powerful business tool.

From our experience, most consumers will struggle to grasp an overhead, 3D plan or flat render, however realistic it looks, yet our 4D experience negates this problem entirely by allowing designers to express their ideas in a precise way that their clients physically experience. It also enables installers to plan work with confidence, knowing the design will work as ‘real’ products have been tried out in the design.

4d KitchenThe result is the end of ‘buyer remorse’. Given that a new bathroom or kitchen is a huge investment for the average consumer, it is, of course, extremely important that they get it right. In this way, it effectively alleviates the fear factor associated to buying these big ticket items – and given the fact that two thirds2 (63%) of shoppers admit they don’t get the best experience online this makes for a very appealing proposition.

Testament to this, here at Virtual Worlds, our customers have reported an average 50 per cent increase in sales conversions since using our CAD technology – with some reporting a conversion rate of 80%.

Future Gazing 

While VR has certainly come a long way in recent years, it really is just beginning.

Having already launched the industry’s first 4D CAD software in 2016, here at Virtual Worlds we are all geared up for the launch of the next generation of product which will truly blur the lines between virtual and reality like never before. And we have lots more in the pipeline.

Indeed, while good customer service and expert design consultancy will always be the pinnacles of success in the KBB world, the blending lines of VR for consumer and enterprise use cannot be ignored. It is the future and what all retailers should be aspiring to in this age of digital transformation.

 Sources

1 http://store.mintel.com/bathrooms-and-bathroom-accessories-uk-august-2013

2 http://www.information-age.com/industry/uk-industry/123459020/two-thirds-shoppers-unhappy-online-customer-experience

Winner Of ‘SHOWROOM DESIGNER OF THE YEAR’ Award Announced

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The winning designer was Emma Knight of Elliotts Lymington Living Spaces

The winner of the inaugural ‘Sottini Showroom Designer of the Year’ competition has been announced – with the design by Emma Knight of Elliotts Lymington Living Spaces Showroom scooping the £2000 prize after being selected by a judging panel made up of leading industry names. The winning entry was commended for combining style and innovation with excellence and simplistic functionality in its design.

Luxury bathroom brand Sottini ran the competition to find the nation’s pride of showroom design, in partnership with Virtual Worlds, the UK’s leader in CAD technology for the KBB sector. Entrants had to submit their design proposals in a 3D CAD format, using a software package such as Virtual Worlds, to include all key elements of the bathroom and with an ethos on creating a showroom that was inspiring and innovative, but also realistic.

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Judges got to experience the designs in virtual reality using Virtual Worlds 4D Theatre
 It received a great response from the Designer community across the UK, with a final shortlist of 20 entries considered by judges. The judging panel was made up of industry experts from Barratt Homes, Potton Homes, Millwood Designer Homes, Colemore Tang and Conran Design, as well as Virtual Worlds, Ideal Standard and EKBB magazine. The judging took place at The Bathroom Showroom in London with the judges initially looking at the designs on paper before getting to experience the rooms in Virtual Worlds 4D Theatre software. The unique design presentation from Virtual Worlds allowed the judges to explore the rooms in virtual reality to fully appreciate the design, before finally choosing their winner.

Such was the quality of entries in fact, a further two entries received a highly commended accolade: Ben Mellor of Oakland’s (Leicester) and Dean Saoud-Easton of Just Add Water (Kings Cross, London).

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Winner, Emma Knight, with highly commended designers Ben Mellor of Oakland’s (left) and Dean Saoud-Easton of Just Add Water.

Steve Breen, Sottini Sales Director, comments:  “The aim of this competition was to reward and acknowledge the talents of the UK’s finest KBB designers who continue to go the extra mile when it comes to creating truly stunning showrooms which excite, entice and inspire customers.

“We received a fantastic response and I’d like to say thank you to everyone who entered and congratulate the winner, but also add that the standard of designs submitted was testament to the talent and hard work of the designers who dedicate thousands of hours to creating truly stunning showrooms destined to ‘wow’ customers – and in doing so demonstrated the multitude of combinations that our Sottini collection offers.”

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Virtual World’s MD Nathan Maclean presenting the award.

Nathan Maclean, managing director at Virtual Worlds, adds:  “We really do have some of the most hardworking, talented KBB designers here in the UK, so it is great to have an opportunity to give them the credit they deserve.”

Winning bathroom designer, Emma Knight, said: “I love doing what I do, so I am absolutely thrilled to have won this award and really enjoyed creating the design for the competition.

“The split levels allow the stylish products to stand out against a stunning back drop, as well as increasing the sense of space – I can imagine relaxing for hours in this bathroom!

“My manager, Andrew, gives me great support and I’ve learnt so much from him. Winning this award has given me inspiration and increased confidence to do more fabulous designs for our customers at Elliotts Living Spaces.”

Northern Heights for Virtual Worlds

Virtual Worlds is strengthening its presence in the market place yet again by adding a new regional sales executive to its busy team.

Matthew Froggatt has joined the firm, which develops market-leading 3D & 4D Design software for the KBB industry, to raise awareness of the product and drive sales in the business across the north of England.

IMG_0043 Matthew has six years’ experience working in the home improvement industry. He joins the team from Homebase in Bolton where he has been project managing, remodelling and helping with the designs and layouts for his customers’ homes.

Nathan MacLean, managing director at Virtual Worlds, said: “We’re delighted to welcome Matthew to the team. His work within the retail and KBB sector has given him a wealth of knowledge in the industry and he has an innate understanding about Virtual World’s and what we are about.

Matthew’s knowledge around technology and design will allow us to continue to grow and develop our business, and ensure many more customers are able to take advantage of Virtual Worlds’ design packages when they visit retailers, thereby allowing them to create their dream kitchen or bathroom.”

For more information on Virtual Worlds, please visit www.virtualworlds.co.uk.

Scotland is Reaching New Virtual Worlds

Innovation-led CAD technology company, Virtual Worlds is continuing to grow with the addition of a new regional sales representative to its busy team.

Leigh Townley has joined the firm to help drive sales of its market-leading 3D & 4D design software and raise awareness of the product in the KBB businesses across Scotland.DSCN2058

Leigh has over 10 years’ experience working in the design and interior architecture business in sales and design roles. For the past three years he has been working at Luxury Home Design in Glasgow where he has been project managing, remodelling and helping with the designs and layouts for his customers’ homes.

Now active in his new role, Leigh will be responsible for driving Virtual Worlds’ brand into the, until now, untapped Scotland region.

Nathan MacLean, managing director at Virtual Worlds, said: “We’re delighted to welcome Leigh to the team, his work with architects and designers has given him a wealth of knowledge in the design industry and has an innate understanding about what Virtual Worlds is all about. With a solid sales background stretching over seven years this role is perfectly suited to Leigh, and we can’t wait for him to get started expanding our customers within Scotland.”