First Impressions of the New 4D CAD Experience for Showrooms

A new CAD consumer experience is being rolled-out by Logicom, which could significantly change the way retailers sell.   Launched at the May Design Series, Virtual Worlds 4D proved a popular attraction for visitors who queued up to don the futuristic headset and experience a 4D world. One or two sceptics suggested it was a techie gimmick, whereas most thought it could transform the showroom experience and prove an exciting new selling tool.  The first installations are completed and the early indications are that this latest innovation could be a game changer.

The technology

Virtual Worlds 4D is an adjunct to the popular Virtual Worlds Professional 3D interactive CAD software. Key to the technology is the Virtual Worlds unique interactive platform and the advanced, simulating headset. When worn by the customer, it places them centre stage, in the designed space. Look down and the customer sees an avatar of themselves, sitting in their new room.

VW4Dsmall

Designs in Virtual Worlds 4D appear with exceptionally realistic depth, scale and parallax, made possible by Virtual Worlds’ unique 3D modelling. Users of 4D have access to all the current product catalogues of a vast choice of KBB manufacturers’ brands. Each manufacturer has worked closely with Virtual Worlds to ensure their product collections are accurately replicated in 3D format and update their catalogues regularly.

In 4D 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.

A first for the KBB sector, Virtual Worlds 4D claims to deliver a ground-breaking, virtual reality and interactive buying experience, which is compelling and optimises the sales potential of excellent design.

Subscription based

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, 2D Planning and Pricing Module. The software specialist Logicom is behind Virtual Worlds and it is understood that more innovations are currently in development, which will be made available to all subscribers.

A unique showroom experience

Reese James is one of the first retailers to install 4D. Owned and managed by Nigel Mason, the company has a showroom located in Shirley, near Solihull. A hot spot for kitchen and bathroom showrooms, Reese James has three competitors within a five minute walk. Working in such close proximity to other kitchen and bathroom businesses is a key reason Mason was eager to sign up to the 4D package, as he explains.

“Our whole approach is to offer the consumer a unique and outstanding experience from beginning to end. Having seen the 4D demo, I was sold hook, line and sinker. I knew our customers would be wowed and I wanted it immediately for our showroom. This is a major, major way that we are different from the guys down the road.

Nigel Mason of Reese James with customer using Virtual Worlds 4D lr

On the day the software was installed Mason and his staff demonstrated its capabilities to a steady stream of staff from neighbouring businesses, intrigued by the experience. “It was comical, we’d complete one demo and another person would pop in saying they’d heard our goggles were amazing and could they have a go. We were the talk of the area and the experience spread by word of mouth, within hours. It made us begin to realise what a powerful marketing tool this was going to be.”

The showroom is split 50:50 between bathroom and kitchen settings with Rotpunkt, Dornbracht and Laufen products on prominent display. Mason considers the technologically advanced 4D is in keeping with these brands and the company’s upmarket and forward-looking image: “I want customers to enter our showroom and be so impressed with what they see and the shopping experience we promise that they commit without delay. For us 4D is instrumental in achieving this”.

Like Mason, Derek Waddington owner of Broadway Bathrooms in Putney, London was immediately excited by the whole concept of 4D: “I’ve used Virtual Worlds for five years now and love it. When I saw the 4D demonstration, I immediately thought it was for us. It’s an additional investment but our showroom is not that large and needs to work hard for us – I feel 4D will really help”.

Pre-empts installation issues

It is early days for 4D and Mason is the first to admit that he and his staff are still honing their sales pitch, when it comes to introducing consumers to it. His commitment to the technology is such that all potential customers are given a brief demonstration of the ability of the “goggles”, as he refers to the headset, at preliminary discussions and visits to the showroom. “We show them how their kitchen or bathroom design will be visualised, how it will appear through the goggles and the outstanding level of detail they will be able to experience. So far each one has been amazed.  You can hear some of them leaving the showroom still excitedly talking about it. This is a major, major tool for us. We plan to use 4D with as many people as possible.”

Resolves spacial awareness

One of the key features of the technology is that the customer experiences their kitchen or bathroom as though they were walking through it in real life. The realism is impressive, so much so that both Waddington and Mason report that 4D provides the spacial awareness which so many customers lack.

Customer using 4D at James Reese lr

“Most customers struggle to grasp an overhead, 3D plan or flat render – however smart it looks. We find the 4D experience overcomes this problem entirely. They feel physically in the room and so they can see exactly how much space there is between the island units and the oven or the drawers fully extended and whether there is sufficient space for their requirements. It avoids all sorts of potential problems”, explains Mason.

Waddington agrees: “We use Virtual Worlds a lot in the showroom as it is real time and in 3D. Customers can relate to what they are seeing − they really get involved with the design. I anticipate 4D is gong to be that much better”.

As the customer physically experiences the room via the headset in 4D, the designer views the same design on a screen, only in 3D format. If required, adjustments to the design can be made and the customer can view the changes immediately. There is no additional work involved for the designer to go from standard 3D interactive stage to showing the customer the design in 4D.

Waddington thinks the consumer experience of 4D could negate the requirement for producing high resolution renders entirely: “High quality rendering is slow and dated; I think there will be no need once the consumer has seen their design through the goggles – we’ll be talking to them at an entirely different level”.

Design consultation fee potential

Installation of the new CAD technology has also made both retailers start to re-evaluate their approach to charging for design consultations. Like so many kitchen and bathroom retailers, Reese James does not currently charge for designs and Broadway Bathrooms do so rarely, both nervous of deterring potential clients. However, the introduction of the 4D experience is making them question this approach. Mason explains his thinking: “If you can bolt together an impressive showroom with strong design, personal service and add the wow factor of Virtual Worlds 4D experience, I am beginning to think a consultation fee could be feasible”.

Now that would be a game changer.

(Published in KBB Review, September 2015 edition, page 49.)

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.”

VW4Dsmall

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.

Tissino launch exclusive CAD début on Virtual Worlds

Tissino, the luxury bathroom manufacturer, has unveiled its entire product range exclusively on the Virtual Worlds Professional CAD platform, linked to a powerful online planning tool for consumers. Tissino’s investment in gaining a major presence on the popular Virtual Worlds design software endorses the company’s strategy to attract top end designers and retailers.

The entire Tissino luxury bathroom collection is available for download in both 3D and also 2D format on Virtual Worlds from Logicom. Retailers and designers will therefore be able to create 3D interactive bathroom designs for their clients to appreciate, invite them to ‘step inside’ to experience an impressive and life-like preview and then print out glossy, photo-realistic images.
The Tissino website is likewise cutting-edge when it comes to engaging with the consumer. A special Planner design tool has been created by Virtual Worlds. This enables interested consumers to access Tissino’s products and start to plan their own bathroom, online, at any time of the day or night. Their own designs appear as inspiring 3D visuals, on-screen, which they can then save and Tissino can forward to retailers to progress the sales conversation.
New products in Tissino render
New Tissino render
Colin Hayward, UK Marketing Manager at Tissino comments: “Tissino is relatively new in the UK and so we decided to work with Virtual Worlds, the CAD company with greatest market share and popularity with retailers, to help us rapidly establish the brand. Our products are high quality, high performance and desirable and designers can create rooms and specify them confidently. Allowing consumers to design and see their new bathroom through our website is very powerful, especially taking into account the lead generation possibilities of the system”.

For further information T: 01908 663848 www.virtualworlds.co.uk

Apprentices will now be trained to use Virtual Worlds CAD

Trainees at KBB National Training Group and Webs Furniture Training will now be educated in the use of Virtual Worlds Professional 3D CAD software as part of their NVQ courses, both for design and merchandising purposes.

Renée Mascari, chief executive of NTG, said: “It is vital that new entrants into the industry are equipped with the skills to use the latest technology and we are hugely grateful for Virtual Worlds’ support.”

Mike Vinten, sales director at Virtual Worlds, commented: “The training and facilities provided to apprentices at NTG and Webs is very impressive and Virtual Worlds is pleased to provide apprentices in the industry access to the latest CAD, to help them develop the necessary skill-set to succeed”.

Virtual Worlds Professional proves a winner at KBB Ldn

Virtual Worlds reported a hectic kbb Ldn show with not only kitchen and bathroom retailers, but architects and designers also queuing up to see demonstrations of Virtual Worlds Professional 5.8.3 – the company’s latest 3D interactive CAD software for the KBB sector.

“It was apparent that more and more architects and interior designers are embracing kitchens and bathrooms in their plans and were on our stand looking for a fast but sophisticated, real-life design package, compatible with AutoCAD.  Many were attracted to Virtual World’s high calibre visuals, images and unique customer fly-throughs, which are all strong selling tools, when it comes to booking business”, reported Mike Vinten, Sales & Marketing Director at Virtual Worlds.

The company has seen its sales of licenses increase by nearly 50% in the last 12 months, attributed in part to the scope of the software. “It was noticeable just how many visitors were looking for an all singing and dancing CAD package and loved the fact they could use Virtual Worlds to not only design a high-tech kitchen or bathroom, but also office, breakfast areas and other living spaces”, commented Vinten.

Virtual Worlds was particularly pleased with the number of kitchen designers visiting the stand, impressed by the re-vamped kitchen catalogue section, which now encompass a string of leading brands including JJO, Symphony and Omega, and a strong generic section for bespoke work.

For more information or to book a demonstration contact Virtual Worlds.

Well… KBB Show is over for yet another year!

And what a fantastic show it was as well and it all started off the week before, with the stand build!

From little acorns…

Boxes and rubbish everywhere… but the boys (Nick & Paul) worked really hard painting and drilling, until the stage was finally ready for us to dress – the best part! We had wanted something a little different from all the other stands and opted for a lovely room set – so we got busy with sofas, table, cabinets and picture frames. Although we suffered with a few stiff backs and aching joints, we could finally see some light at the end of the tunnel! And with a quick hoover and a last tweak, we were almost ready for the gates to open…

We were particularly proud of the hanging pictures! Our modelling team had generated some fabulous images for us to use and showcase the Virtual Worlds software. Everyone who visted the stand over the four days agreed wholeheartedly, they all looked simply stunning on the wall!

So for those that couldn’t make the show, here are a few of those images…

A beautiful dresser from Mereway Kitchens – product catalogue available in Virtual Worlds

And two fabulous images showing Virtual Worlds’ versatility within rooms such as the lounge and bedroom…

And with all our hard work now in place – all that was left was to be ready for Sunday morning. Before we knew it, the numbers of visitors to our stand began to grow – interest in Virtual Worlds was really promising and the day just flew by! Phew! Monday was much the same, with lots of new enquiries, plus many of our software users popping onto the stand for a natter.

With a change of staff for Tuesday and Wednesday, it was time to take a mooch around the show. Started off nicely with a lovely invite to a champagne reception and great talks by some very inspiring architects (sponsored by BD Online) – in particular Patrick Reardon from ReardonSmith Architects. Very much enjoyed! Then met with all our favourite advertisers, eased along with a much appreciated mojito from Luke Sutton – mobile cocktail barman from Speak Easy Bars very kindly hosted by Cosentino on their ‘always busy’ stand.

Wednesday was equally enjoyable (we may have sneaked another mojito) and continued to be busy, busy, busy – met with some really lovely people: manufacturers, retailers/designers, and interior designers. Saw some wonderful stands and took loads of orders for Virtual Worlds! What could be better! ;-)

There are some final images I just had to add (personal favourites) from a stand I visited at the show with really eyecatching baths, by the Mosaic Bath Company – would really love the yellow one in my bathroom – lush!

    

How great would these baths look in a Virtual Worlds product catalogue!

So.. to round up for KBB Birmingham 2012 – a great time was indeed had by all! But if you missed our stand and would like to know more about Virtual Worlds’ design software, then why not drop us an email at: sales@virtualworlds.co.uk or if you prefer to chat on the phone, call to speak to one of our sales team on: 01908 663848 – they’re a very friendly bunch!

Here’s to KBB 2013

www.virtualworlds.co.uk

Busy Times Ahead…

…just a few quick words to say hi and that we are back in the office after a VERY busy Interiors UK show at the NEC last week!

Virtual Worlds were launching their new software version 5.8; the very special online 3D tool ‘Options Viewer’ – specifically designed with manufacturers and retailers in mind; and it’s new software functionality ‘Dynamic Textures’ – which now makes Virtual Worlds an absolute must for not only kitchen, bedroom and bathroom designers, but all interior designers as well.

The below image is just a peek at the design possibilites available with using Virtual Worlds!

We met some lovely people at the show, were given fantastic feedback, and had so many new enquiries from interior designers and manufacturers for our Virtual Worlds software; we are really excited about 2012 and hopefully, our stand at KBB Birmingham will be equally successful!

Crikey, that will be here before we know it – hope it’s in your diaries: 4 – 7 March at the NEC Birmingham

Go on, get yourselves registered today! www.kbb.co.uk

www.virtualworlds.co.uk/interiors