Posted by Dale Buss on June 12, 2014 03:01 PM
It's always interesting to see a non-tech brand stretch itself to adapt and explore the latest technology, especially when such explorations directly attribute to growth ambitions and a positive brand culture.
That’s what Lowe’s is attempting with its new “Holoroom” augmented reality project and related efforts that stem from the home improvement chain’s earnest ambition to envision the future of its industry and to help consumers access the possibilities. The new Lowe’s Innovation Labs will focus on “uncommon partnerships” with tech consultants Singularity University and SciFutures.
Holoroom is the first fruits of their cooperation, a 20-by-20-foot room that allows customers to simulate renovation projects. They can create realistic spaces on an iPad stocked with Lowe’s goodies and then “enter” the Holoroom to experience a 3D version of their creation, Ad Age reported. An app allows them to work on their 3D creation at home.
The Holoroom initiative stems from Lowe’s broader effort to use physical lab spaces and even a team of science-fiction writers to help it envision what the future might look like in its industry and to its customers. It includes deep dives into augmented reality as well as 3D content and even harnesses the writers to produce stories.
“You take all of your market research, all of your trend data and hire professional science-fiction writers,” Lowe’s CIO Paul Ramsay told Ad Age. “And they write real stories with conflict and resolution and characters. We turned it into a comic book and created possible stories or visions of the future.”
Lowe’s plans to install two Holorooms in Toronto stores later this year, initially restricting customers to visualizing bathroom fixtures— but the effort will grow from there. Meanwhile, Lowe’s content technologists will be on to the next thing.
The innovative experience echoes similar virtual efforts by brands including virtual fitting rooms. IKEA, after using AR in its 2012 catalog, last year released an app that allowed users to visualize what a piece of furniture would look like in their own rooms at home.
With Blippar buying Layar this week, and Facebook buying Oculus Rift for $2 billion, the possibilities for virtual shopping are endless.
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