Virtual Worlds brings cutting-edge technology to KBB show

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British CAD design company, Virtual Worlds, will be bringing its latest award-winning 4D technology designed for the KBB sector to the West Midlands when it exhibits at the KBB Show in Birmingham.

From 4th – 7th March, visitors will be able to see the latest developments to Virtual Worlds’ virtual reality (VR) design software, 4D Theatre, which brings a level of spatial awareness and immersion never before seen in the industry.

This includes a sensor which tracks the customer’s hand movements, allowing them to operate items around the room naturally, improved render speeds, and new visual effects to make the spaces portrayed in the system more beautiful and realistic than ever before.

4D Theatre ditches the controller and allows customers to walk around the space freely via a specially-designed headset. The system tracks their body and hand movements and relays them onto the screen, making customers feel like they have jumped into a room that has been specially created for 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.

The high cost of kitchens and bathrooms, and therefore the inherent risk of buyers’ remorse that comes from a purchase that does not meet up to expectations, means that many customers now want to ensure they have a complete picture of what their bathroom will look like, before committing to a purchase. Immersive tools such as 4D Theatre help retailers to convert sales by alleviating that sense of risk, while allowing them to deal with other problems such as a lack of showroom space to display stock.

With two stands at the event, Virtual Worlds will feature live and interactive demo sessions and training for this 4D software, which is the first of its kind in creation, offering a genuine and sophisticated level of 4D VR which supports KBB businesses in achieving their goals.

Nathan Maclean, managing director at Virtual Worlds, said: “We’re incredibly excited to have such a big presence at the show with two stands where we will be showcasing our 4D Theatre technology and offering. This really is our most exciting and immersive product to date and as a result will undoubtedly help to deliver a new and futuristic retail experience for bricks and mortar KBB retailers.

“Shows such as this provide us with an invaluable opportunity to stage our cutting-edge technology, as well as demonstrating our strength in innovation and the high quality of our products. 4D Theatre is fast becoming a highly sought-after solution to protect the consumer against buyer remorse and is changing the face of KBB retail forever – we look forward to sharing this with visitors to the show.”

Visitors to the show can find Virtual Worlds at stand F124 and stand G100, which are on the edge of hall 19 and 20 respectively.

For more information about 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.

Virtua Worlds CAD software
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 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.”

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.”

Virtual Worlds and Sottini Take Up Residence at Potton Homes!

Virtual Worlds and Sottini are teaming up to break new ground by installing the latest 4D Theatre CAD technology system in a Potton show home on site at its St Neots development in Cambridgeshire.

As part of this industry first, Virtual Worlds will provide access to a wide range of bathroom layouts from Sottini, the timeless bathroom brand built on a heritage of quality and innovation in design, which customers can then tailor for the home they are interested in designing while visiting the Potton show home. This innovative technology allows the homeowner to virtually walk around and sample their bathroom before they order.

In what is akin to a show home of the future, Virtual Worlds’ market-leading 4D Bathroomsoftware uses a 4D headset to enable customers to enter the designed space, experiencing it in full virtual reality and having the opportunity to walk around the space, just as they would in the real world.

The software replicates the dimensions and layout of the room exactly, with customers even able to interact with objects around the room just as they would in real life, such as by opening and closing drawers, cupboards and doors.

The exceptional Sottini collection will be displayed in exquisite detail through the Virtual Worlds software, with customers able to experience the beautiful design possibilities of the range to its fullest. The result will be a stand out showroom which will help Potton’s partner Cambridge Kitchen & Bathrooms to drive sales and improve customer experience.

The scheme will see the system installed at the Potton Self Build Show Centre for a period of six months. It will be the first time 4D CAD technology has ever been used in a show home environment.

Nathan Maclean, managing director of Virtual Worlds, commented: “We’re delighted to be partnering with Potton and Sottini to deliver a unique experience for self-builders.

“Designing and building a bespoke home is the biggest transaction most people will make in their lifetime. Our software will help to enhance the buying experience as well as provide the peace of mind that comes from virtually sampling the room and their chosen products before investing, ultimately resulting in a product they are happy with. It’s the ultimate try before you buy experience.”

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Fae Perkins at Potton, said: “We’re always looking for new ways of improving the experience for individuals designing their dream home with us. We’re sure Virtual Worlds will prove to be a popular addition to our show centre and will help to ensure that customers are 100 per cent happy with their completed property.”

Steve Breen, Sottini Sales Director, added: “This is a unique opportunity for buyers to experience their dream bathroom before even a single tile has been laid and bathroom suite has been installed. A bathroom is a huge investment but this show home gives individuals purchasing through Potton  the perfect chance to ensure their room will be money well spent.”

For further information please visit www.virtualworlds.co.uk

Maximise The Millennial Movement…

With a new report highlighting the millennial generation as the UK’s most active renovators and decorators, Virtual Worlds is reminding retailers of the importance of selling on the benefits of CAD technology to this captive audience.

According to a new report by Houzz, over half (57%) of millennial homeowners (aged 25 to 34) renovated their home in 2015, which was in line other age categories. However, millennials far outpaced other generations when it’s comes to delving into decorating – with 79% having recently redecorated compared with 71% of those aged 35 to 54 and 68% of those 55 and over.

Nathan Maclean, managing director of Virtual Worlds comments: “It is interesting to see this distinctive market shift as the younger catchment group begin to enter the housing market and invest in customising their new home. More so, with the report showing that the kitchen is the second most prevalent home improvement focus, shortly followed by the bathroom, it certainly reflects a buoyant opportunity for the KBB retailer.” 4D Bathroom

To help retailers take stock of this opportunity, Virtual Worlds’ innovative 4D CAD technology, the first of its kind in the UK, enables would-be buyers an incredibly realistic 4D simulation of physically being in their dream design. Users are able to immerse themselves in the room as an avatar; allowing them to get a feel for the space, how the designs works and even try out functions such as opening drawers.

Nathan adds: “As a generation already well accustomed to the marvels of modern day technology, millennials are a natural audience for 4D simulations; and in fact, from our experience, many actively seek it as part of their buying process.

“For the retailer looking to tap into this opportunity then, we’d recommend it as a way to attract business, create standout and driving sales – after all, once a customer has had the experience of walking around their dream kitchen or bathroom design it is very likely that they will be sold.”

Visit us on stand G100 at KBB 2016…

In designing this year’s stand at KBB Birmingham, Virtual Worlds have decided to create a friendly, open space that reflects the creativity, innovation and confidence that has become associated with the brand. Managing Director, Nathan Maclean, comments “Our objective for the exhibition is to provide all visitors with an informative, thought provoking and memorable experience, which encourages the industry to think about CAD in a new way.” 4D Bathroom

Nathan goes on to say “Unlike traditional 2D CAD which is hindered by the delay in editing in 2D and visualising the 3D image, Virtual Worlds boasts the fluid real time editing of the 3D environment. We have now taken that a step further with our fully immersive, 4D development”.

In an industry first, Virtual Worlds launched ‘4D Showroom’ which sees the end consumer wear virtual reality technology to immerse themselves in a fully interactive simulation of their future room. People visiting the stand will be able to experience the game changing power of Virtual Worlds 4D in person.

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As well as test driving the new “4D Showroom” technology, activities on the stand will include seminars that explain the benefits and features of all integrated modules, such as pricing, reporting and various web tools that make up the ‘all inclusive’ Virtual Worlds ONE package. There will also be group training classes for existing users and private demonstrations throughout the duration of the exhibition.

For further details please visit www.virtualworlds.co.uk or call 01908 663848

 

Thinking inside the box….

 

For a moment, imagine that you sell houses and for some reason you never let your prospective clients inside. Instead, you tell them to walk around the outside and look in through the windows. If you were to sell houses this way, what opportunities would be lost and what level of buyer remorse will factor in those you close?

Okay, you design and sell kitchens, bathrooms and bedrooms: all being rooms within a home, but do you currently ask your prospective clients to look in through the window in order to make a purchasing decision? The window, in this case, is the monitor of your CAD presentation.

4d Kitchen

If this is how you currently sell, it will pay you to take time out this week to discover how your competitors are opening the door to success and to speak to your Virtual Worlds representative.

Experience what Virtual Worlds 4D is all about and discover how the  Virtual Worlds ONE suite of software solutions can give your business a powerful competitive advantage. Integration with business management systems deliver reliable information and increased sales process efficiencies.  4D Bathroom

Make your business stand out from the crowd and invite your customers to step inside their future room before they buy.

 

  • Evolve your business to generate increased showroom footfall.
  • Provide your customers with an enhanced buying experience.
  • Offer your customers spatial awareness and peace of mind.

For further details, please contact sales@virtualworlds.co.uk                          or call 01908 663848