Virtual Worlds Scoops Gold At BKU Awards!

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

BKU Awards win smaller
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.”

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.”

Dynamic Duo Join Virtual Worlds

Virtual Worlds is continuing to grow with the addition of two new regional sales representatives to its busy team.

Miles Maunganidze and Brandon Kwesiga have joined the firm to help drive sales of its market-leading 3D & 4D Design software and raise awareness of the product in businesses across the south of England, the Midlands and Wales.

New sales representative for Virtual Worlds 3d design software
Brandon will cover London and the South East regions.

Brandon will be covering London and the South East of England and has 10 years’ experience in the bathroom industry since first joining the Bathstore as a sales consultant in 2006. He most recently worked at bathroom supplier Farmiloe where he was the company’s brand manager, having been promoted from the position of business development manager earlier in 2016.

New sales representative for Virtual Worlds design software.
Miles will cover the Midlands and South West regions.

With an equally impressive retail background, Miles will be bringing a fresh perspective to Virtual Worlds, following a successful career in retail store management including spells at House of Fraser and Superdry.

With a business management degree from Brunel University, he will be able to use his customer experience skills to get retailers on board whilst managing sales across the Midlands, South West and Wales.

Nathan MacLean, managing director at Virtual Worlds, said: “We’re delighted to welcome both Miles and Brandon to the team. We’re sure they will both prove to be a real asset to the business in the months and years ahead.

“Having two additional experienced sales representatives in our team 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 package when they visit retailers and create their dream kitchen or bathroom.”

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

Virtual Worlds ONE event, supported by TOTO

Last week saw Virtual Worlds out and about meeting retailers and designers, at our 3 day Virtual Worlds ONE event, which was kindly hosted by TOTO at their London showroom.

Toto day

We wish to express our thanks to TOTO, who provided a great venue and warm hospitality. The space made available to us was perfect.

At the event, we met new and existing clients, where we were able to discuss their specific business needs, as well as present our new Virtual Worlds ONE suite of products. Virtual Worlds ONE is an all-inclusive subscription service that includes-

  • Virtual Worlds Professional
  • Online Pricing Module
  • Remote 3D viewer
  • AutoCAD Export
  • Web Planner
  • Unlimited classroom training

and of course….  our revolutionary 4D showroom, that allows your customer to try on their future new room, for size.

TOTO Day 2

Thank you to all that took time out of their busy day to be with us.

If you haven’t done so already, a visit to the  TOTO showroom, 140-142 St John St, London EC1V 4UA, is well worthwhile. They have impressive products, working displays, and a very friendly team.

Toto Day 3

If you would like to find out more about Virtual Worlds ONE and how is can help your business, contact us on 01908 663848 or email sales@virtualworlds.co.uk

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.

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 Sponsors Inaugural BKU Awards

The first ever BKU Awards are being held at Madame Tussauds, Thursday 25 June 2015. Virtual Worlds is a major sponsor of the event and is looking forward to the Awards, meeting the winners and finalists and networking with the KBB industry.

The occasion promises to be a fun evening, celebrating excellence and innovation in the kitchen and bathroom industry. In fact, Virtual Worlds is delighted to be named as a finalist in the CAD category. The evening is hosted by DJ Greg Burns, a familiar face on Have I got News for You and the Catherine Tate Show.

Nathan MacLean, acting Managing Director at Virtual Worlds explains: “Awards help drive the industry to develop and share ideas, whilst giving the due recognition to those that excel”. He added: “Sponsoring this major industry event provides the opportunity to thank our many existing clients for their ongoing support”.

For more information and book tickets visit: www.bkuawards.co.uk

 

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.

Not just the best 3D Design Software around…

…and granted, that’s pretty well up there for being more than enough accolade for anyone; but here at Virtual Worlds we have many strings to our bow!

Now, we all love a trade exhibition but stand competition can be pretty tough – so you have to make sure you capture the crowd as they pass by and make your product look the very best it can be. There’s no getting away from it, we live in a time where we all like things ‘instant’ and to truly engage with your audience, your stand must be compelling and attractive to draw in passers by and hopefully, maximise those selling opportunities!

What better way to do that, than with video! People usually like to watch something on a screen, in preference to reading a leaflet or booklet and will respond with much greater force.

Video marketing is becoming increasingly effective as a marketing medium, both online and in an environment like exhibitions. It’s quick and effective and encourages people to engage with your brand by saving them time… and it just so happens, back here at Virtual Worlds HQ, we can help you do just that!

Not only do we produce the ultimate 3D design software for the kbb industry and interior designers, but we have a great Video & Audio Production team who can create and produce a vast range of broadcast quality projects.

With fully equipped in-house facilities, including a video edit suite, HD video camera equipment, ISDN link and a professional sound recording studio! We offer a very cost effective solution to our clients, by having everything under one roof – not only do our audio and video departments work closely, but they also work together with our other creatives; so we can seamlessly integrate sound, video, 3D graphics and animations with your projects.

01908 663848

www.logicom.com