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.

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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

Your Invitation to Become the Sottini Showroom “Designer of The Year” and win £2000 of John Lewis Vouchers

In a true meeting of industry minds Sottini, the timeless bathroom brand, and Virtual Worlds, the UK’s leader in CAD technology for the KBB sector, have joined forces to reveal a brand new competition to find the nation’s pride of showroom design. The winner of the competition will scoop a £2000.00 prize, in John Lewis gift vouchers.

The inaugural ‘Sottini Showroom Designer of the Year’ in partnership with Virtual Worlds competition aims 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.

Steve Breen, Sottini Sales Director, comments: “The showroom design world has shifted dramatically in recent years; today’s discerning customer increasingly seeks a bold approach, infinite inspiration and more creative design freedom.”

Nathan Maclean, Managing Director at Virtual Worlds adds:  “We really do have some of the most hardworking, talented KBB designers here in the UK. Plus now, with 4D CAD systems, such as Virtual Worlds, they are able to really push the boundaries in terms of creating truly outstanding designs which show the remarkable design detailing of collections such as Sottini in all their glory. It is therefore great to have an opportunity to give them the credit they deserve.”

The competition is open to all Sottini retailers – and to be in with a chance of taking the crowning title, retailers must submit their design proposals by 13th March 2017 to marketing@sottini.com, in a 3D CAD format, using a software package such as Virtual Worlds, to include all key elements of the bathroom using products solely from the iconic Sottini bathroom collection. The ethos is on creating a showroom which is inspiring, innovative but also realistic.

From those entries, a judging panel 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, will decide upon the overall winner. Winners will be announced late March 2017.

Full details and terms and conditions of the completion can be found here

Virtual Worlds Creates New Role to Champion 4D Installations.

Virtual Worlds at Logicom, the innovation-led CAD company, has appointed Jamie Gibbs as its first Customer Experience Manager. The new role reflects the company’s expansion into software which delivers both advanced CAD design and consumer-interfacing experiences, including its new Showroom 4D. Gibbs will be an external-facing customer champion.

Jamie
Jamie Gibbs – New Customer Experience Manager

Nathan Maclean, Acting Managing Director at Logicom explains the thinking behind the new position: “Our recently launched Virtual Worlds One package provides customers with a formidable array of powerful design and selling tools, including the exciting new 4D technology. Take-up has been exceptional and Jamie will be providing invaluable after-sales service, helping customers to use all the technology to its full potential and tailor it to their business”.

Gibbs has in-depth knowledge of the Virtual Worlds suite of software, having worked in Support and Training for the last three years. He explains: “My prime focus will be new users, including those of our 4D showroom software, providing hands-on support from the very out-set, so that they quickly get up to speed. The 4D technology is awesome and I’ll be going the extra mile to make sure our customers get the most from it.”

Under a subscription known as Virtual Worlds One, Virtual Worlds 4D is bundled together with Virtual Worlds Professional interactive 3D CAD software, its Viewer App and 2D Planning. Logicom is behind Virtual Worlds and it is understood that more innovations are currently in development, including a pricing module, which will be made available to all Virtual Worlds One subscribers.

Virtual Worlds Launches the Future of CAD for Retail Showrooms

The future of CAD was revealed on the Virtual Worlds stand at The May Design Series. The company attracted huge interest with its demonstration of Virtual Worlds 4D, which promises KBB retailers a powerful technology-led consumer experience. A first for the KBB sector, Virtual Worlds 4D delivers a ground-breaking, virtual reality and interactive buying experience, which is compelling and optimises the sales potential of excellent design.

Nathan Maclean, Acting Managing Director at Logicom reports the most frequent comment from visiting retailers experiencing 4D for the first time was “Wow, that’s just amazing”!  He goes onto explain: “We were taken aback by the excitement 4D generated amongst retailers and were delighted with the brisk sales.”

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A futuristic, simulating headset is fundamental to Virtual Worlds 4D; when worn by the customer, it places them centre stage, in their designed KBB space. Designs in Virtual Worlds 4D appear with unsurpassed depth, scale and parallax, and are capable of creating the excitement and adrenalin rush akin to those experienced by gamers. The 110 degree viewing angle places the customer directly in the room, rather than looking in through a screen. The response to eye movement is immediate, facilitating 360 degree head-tracking and interaction with moving elements of the room, including opening cupboards, looking inside drawers and stepping into showers.

Nathan Maclean, Acting Managing Director at Logicom likens Virtual Worlds 4D to the core elements of interior design, alongside space, light, form, texture, colour, furniture and objects: “Virtual Worlds 4D provides out retailers with the missing 8th element of interior design. It places the physical body, or customer, inside the space, so as to be able to fully appreciate the design’s potential and stimulate the aspiration of ownership. The design becomes theirs. The experience is engaging, entertaining, compelling and leads customers to the point of ordering”.

Virtual Worlds by Logicom is keen to optimise sales opportunities for showroom retailers and envisages a Virtual Worlds 4D in-store area, dedicated to elevating the design experience. Virtual Worlds 4D is a significant element of a new Virtual Worlds 4D Showroom package, which combines the acclaimed  Virtual Worlds Professional 3D interactive CAD software, Viewer App and 2D Planning tool with the new 4D showroom technology.

Virtual Worlds New Training Videos Deliver CAD Basics in Minutes

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Learning a CAD programme can seem daunting to some KBB users, especially those new to CAD. Virtual Worlds at Logicom recognises this and has created three new audio training videos, which teach the basics in less than ten minutes. The videos explain the prime navigation and key functions, enough for new users to begin to create their first 3D interactive room plans.

The three videos complement the existing available training, which includes a one-day Virtual Worlds Foundation Training Course for new users, and is backed up by the invaluable Virtual Worlds technical support helpdesk.  The new videos introduce three core areas: An Introduction to Virtual Worlds, Navigating the 3D Environment, and Using Manufacturers’ Catalogues. Topics covered include how to use unique functions such as the customer Fly Tool and the 3D elevation, how to create rooms to exact dimensions and how to search and access the thousands of manufacturers’ products freely available as 3D models with the Virtual Worlds software.

Nathan MacLean, Acting Managing Director at Logicom explains: “In our experience, new customers to Virtual Worlds are eager to dive in and familiarise themselves with the software, but initially they need a bit of hand-holding. However, they do not necessarily want to wait for a formal training session. Our new videos are available 24/7, so they can get a good handle on the key navigation and interactive 3D functions within just ten minutes and at a time to suit them”.

Virtual Worlds Professional from Logicom is the popular 3D interactive and powerful CAD design software, which features thousands of KBB products from leading kitchen, bathroom and bedroom manufacturers and provides engaging 3D visualisations for customers.