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.

Catalogue updates

Our team at the Virtual Worlds Towers have been hard at work leading to a number of catalogues updated and released over the last few Months. Maintained Virtual Worlds users can access the following from the Virtual Worlds User Centre:

Bisque

This new version, as well as an update to the main catalogue interface, now includes a selection of products from the Finn range of radiators.

Bosch

This new catalogue contains the complete range of ovens, hobs and cooker hoods available from Bosch. Note that this catalogue is only available to Virtual Worlds Kitchens users.

Duravit

This update adds the Delos, Esplanade, Karree, Ketho, Light and Mirrors, MirrorWall and Nahho ranges to the bath, furniture and sanitaryware Virtual Worlds catalogues.

Grant Westfield

This main Wall Panel catalogue includes multiPanel, polyPanel and tilePanel wall panels and extrusions, the worktops include the multiPanel Vanity Tops and hydroStone Vanity Tops.

The Tiling catalogue includes all the panels and extrusions for ceilingPanels, and twinFloorClick and twinFloorClick items.

Hansgrohe

This new version now includes the Logis range, as well as the ShowerSelect thermostatic valves.

Ideal Standard

This new version includes a wide range of their baths, furniture, sanitaryware, taps, showers and wastes available. Keep an eye out for further catalogue in the near future!

Ideal Standard – Sottini

The new version of this catalogue contains the complete range of sanitaryware, baths, taps showers and wastes available.

Kohler UK

A new version of the Kohler UK bathrooms catalogue is available which now includes the new Terrace range of furniture and sanitaryware.

Keuco

This new version of the Keuco bathroom furniture catalogue contains the complete range of bathroom furniture available from Keuco.Note that this catalogue is password protected for Keuco retailers.

Matki EauZone Plus

To coincide with the release of Virtual Worlds version 5.9, the standard and bespoke catalogues have been upgraded to include new functionality.

RAK

This catalogue contains a wide range of mirrors available from RAK Ceramics.

Roman

This update includes the complete range of shower enclosures, trays, bath screens and accessories available from Roman.

Siemens

This new catalogue contains a wide range of ovens, hobs, cooker hoods, dishwashers, fridges and freezers available from Siemens.

Symphony

The Lindo and Finishing Touches catalogues now contain the Naples range of fitted furniture and mirrors.

Utopia

This new version includes the complete range of fitted and modular furniture, sanitaryware, taps, accessories and tiles currently available from Utopia.

Victoria & Albert

This includes new products from the Amiata, Barcelona, Elwick and Maru ranges of baths and sanitaryware, and the new Staffordshire wall-mounted bath/shower mixer.

For any assistance with downloading or using any of the catalogues please do not hesitate to contact our support team on 01908 448899.

Roman Upgrades to Ultimate 3D Interactive CAD Design Software for Retailers

Roman has significantly upgraded its presence on CAD, ensuring its entire range is accessible on the latest, 3D interactive platform − Virtual Worlds Professional from Logicom.

The result is a major boost for Roman’s extensive nationwide network of retailers. They are now able to design specifying from the complete Roman range, including enclosures, showers and accessories, using the latest CAD technology. This will allow them to create bathroom designs faster and more accurately than ever before.

Roman has committed to an on-going programme of 3D modelling with Virtual Worlds, so as to ensure its CAD product catalogues are always current and comprehensive.

David Osborne, Managing Director of Roman, commented: “Virtual Worlds CAD is now a vital tool for our retailers to allow them to effectively present all our products in 3D, real room set situation and inspire their customers. The visual bathroom representation that Virtual Worlds presents is critical for customers making a purchasing decision and improves the whole customer experience.  We are confident that our collaboration with Virtual Worlds will further enhance our retailers’ sales performance.”

Virtual Worlds Professional is the 3D interactive CAD design package which brings to life designers’ creative ideas.  Users design in 3D, producing a room which is life-like from the out-set.  The Roman catalogue will include all the latest functions, including product image previews for ease of searching, automated connection points, an upgraded rendering facility and area lighting.

Virtual Worlds CAD – the Efficient Way to Generate High Value Orders

Virtual Worlds Professional is the 3D interactive CAD design package which brings to life designers’ creative ideas. Users design in 3D, producing a room which is life-like from the out-set.  Virtual Worlds is a powerful design and sales tool – ideal for live design in front of the customer.  It is an engaging experience for customers, which results in rapid closure and significant up-selling, with retailers reporting up to a 90% design to order conversion rate.

Latest product releases include version 5.9 containing many updates and the Design Viewer Apps, which allow customers to send and demonstrate designs on a tablet or mobile telephone. Customers experience their rooms from any angle, walking through them, opening drawers and cupboards and interacting with the proposed design in 3D.

Virtual Worlds Leads the Way with Bosch Appliances

The latest version of Virtual Worlds Professional design software 5.9 has been released including the major addition of Bosch appliances and an enhanced kitchen catalogue. The Bosch catalogue has been widely requested by retailers and includes its latest induction hobs, ovens, extractor fans and microwaves.
The updated 5.9 version also provides practical new functions such as the ability to create layers, an upgraded rendering facility and area lighting, helping to make it a powerful design and merchandising package for retailers.

Bosch retailers now have access to powerful, 3D interactive CAD design. Once again, Virtual Worlds has come up with new, time-saving tools, which are sure to delight retailers and designers alike. The search facility is sophisticated, allowing users to choose by handy criterion such as energy rating, depth or style. Appliances such as extractor hood chimneys are parametrically scaled, to reflect their adjustable specification, whilst connection points automatically align appliances such as ovens with the appliance housing unit.

Andrew Jones, Bosch Group Marketing Manager “We are delighted that Bosch kitchen appliances are now included in the latest version of Virtual Worlds Professional software. As the winner of the Which? Best Home Appliance Brand 2013, Bosch is a popular choice amongst consumers and the development of a 3D interactive catalogue is the next step for complete visibility for both consumers and retailers. The option of an 3D service not only allows complete clarity to those looking to purchase but also for retailers to give a complete forecast of a kitchen design ensuring ease of installation and possible selling up opportunities – we’re looking forward to seeing it develop.”

The expanded, generic kitchen catalogue will likewise be a popular addition providing a comprehensive choice of kitchen furniture in every conceivable shape, style, size and colour.

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

Bathrooms brought to life – Duravit partnership with Virtual Worlds strengthens

With immediate effect, Duravit is delighted to announce the strengthening of its partnership with Virtual Worlds, the leading 3D room-planning software package, widely used throughout the KBB sector.
A three year programme has been agreed until 2016, during which time the main catalogue will be uploaded and continually updated to ensure that Duravit partners will have access to Duravit’s most recent product imagery. A highly regarded interactive tool for planning and designing bathrooms, Virtual Worlds offers rapid and simple integrated solutions and is proven to help convert prospects into sales.
As part of the agreement, Duravit partners who are not signed up to Virtual Worlds will be offered an incentivised package in order to take advantage of the partnership. UK Managing Director, Gary Dart, comments, “With increasing demand for 3D bathroom presentations, we believe that our commitment to Virtual Worlds will be a valuable tool for our retailer partner and ensure that the entire Duravit product portfolio is portrayed realistically and is always on hand to help create attractively designed bathroom solutions.”

Virtual Worlds CAD expands free catalogues with theshowerlab portfolio

For the first time, the showerlab’s product portfolio is available in CAD format. Theshowerlab’s standard and bespoke catalogues are recent additions to Virtual Worlds Professional CAD software and are made available to all current users, free of charge, in 3D interactive and 2D plan format.

Virtual Worlds has developed new functions, which enable the rapid and accurate creation of bespoke designs. Controlled Parametric Scaling allows glass panels and doors to be resized, automatically and proportionally re-sizing components, such as profile channels and connecting glass enclosure panels. Resize and Track facilitates rapid editing of an existing design and automatic sizing of selected products, whilst Hole Cutting replaces previously time-consuming elements such as inserting finger hole handles, with a single mouse click.

T: 01908 663848  www.virtualworlds.co.uk

The future of CAD for the KBB sector

The Designer ran a great article about CAD in their November issue.  They asked the various CAD companies, including our Mike Vinten, what the future had in store for the KBB sector.

It was that that many of our competitors predicted tools that Virtual Worlds already provides!  Good to know we are ahead of the game.  And there are even more developments just around the corner. 

3D interactive CAD design – available now

The article quoted comments from CAD providers about what CAD would be like in the future : “interactive tools”, “using software online” to “collaborate” with the consumer on designs ,  the concept of  “walking round” a design before you buy, interacting with other design software  and the importance of realistic visual were all mentioned…they ought to try out Virtual Worlds Professional.  These are all standard to the latest 5.8 package www.virtualworlds.co.uk Available NOW!

Collaborative online design with the customer – available now

We agree that a strong on-line design capability will be key for some customers…that is why we are already working with various customers, customising our 2D/3D Planner www.virtualworlds.co.uk to their particular requirements.  For those retailers who want to give their customers scope to outline their own design ideas, before passing them over to a professional, showroom designer to develop into a feasible KBB design, then this software is hugely powerful and user- friendly.  For some we even integrate with pricing, checkout and parts list – all online.

Realistic visuals you can almost touch – available now

Some of our competitors do not seem to rate their own CAD particularly highly! However, from our retailer user comments, it is apparent that Virtual Worlds CAD is so realistic and the 3D interactive facility so engaging, that Designers are now able to create a sense of the ambience in a customer’s kitchen or bathroom, not just fantastic visuals.  The software tools are there to be used.

What next for Virtual Worlds CAD?

Apps, more online solutions… the developers here at Logicom are way ahead. Watch out!

Life after KBB London 2011

Well, KBB London 2011 has been and gone for another year and it’s now back to normality!

Well, KBB London 2011 has been and gone for another year and it’s now back to normality!

We had a great show and took full advantage of the event to meet lots of new faces and of course, some old ones! It also gave us a chance to showcase our swish new marketing material, which seemed to go down a storm and I’m sure, contributed to our overall success at Excel this year.

 

 

 

 

The Virtual Worlds team were rushed off their feet for most of the three days and have been really busy since getting back to the office, following up on all the Virtual Worlds enquiries that were taken.

The team had lots of interest in our Virtual Worlds software packages, in particular our new Virtual Worlds online: VWo – which transforms your design and presents it live on the web, in unrivalled ‘real time’ simulation!

 

 

So if you missed us at the show (tut, tut..), but feel you would like to know more about Virtual Worlds and how it could help maximize your business performance.

Don’t waste a moment – ensure your competitive advantage today and call us for a demo!

Speak to one of the sales team on: 01908 663 848 or drop us a line at: sales@virtualworlds.co.uk

www.virtualworlds.co.uk