Kitchen & Bath Design News

OCT 2018

Kitchen & Bath Design News is the industry's leading business, design and product resource for the kitchen and bath trade.

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AUGMENTED, 360 Panorama and Virtual: these are new "realities" that your clients now expect in presentations. After all, it's what they experience daily on HGTV and the web, so today's consumers insist on the same quality experience from kitchen and bath professionals. You may not have taken this leap yet, but let me share some great news: These tools already exist for kitchen and bath pros, and you can personally be using them by the end of the day. All we need is a quick 101 course on how to implement them. So, let's start right now. The first step is to define each "reality" presentation type. TYPES OF 'REALITY' Virtual Reality is an immersive, computer-gen- erated artificial representation of a real-world space. In the kitchen and bath world, our customers would wear a headset to see their new space. The real world is blocked out by the goggles, and they can turn around, look up and down and see a realistic view of the space we designed. 360 Panorama offers another computer-gen- erated representation of a real-world space, but the viewer is not immersed inside of it. Rather your customers would stretch their arms out holding their smart device and turn 360 de- grees to see their future room while standing in the middle of their existing space. Augmented Reality is a blend of the real world and artificial additions. An example of this would be your client standing in their master bath, look- ing through their smart device screen to see the existing vanity cabinets while having the ability to artificially overlay new faucets on the sink. As you can imagine, all three options are impactful in inspiring and allowing clients to make well-informed decisions. So, how do we implement these in our own businesses? Well, it's pretty simple; you can literally start using all of these in your business today. 360 PANORAMA For 360 Panorama, you probably do not need to buy anything new. As long as you're using a design application specifically created for kitchen and bath designers, 360 is most likely an existing feature in your software. To create a 360, open a perspective view, and then find the button called Panoramic or 360. This should automatically generate a URL link that you can share with your client. Be patient; it may take a while to build. Once your client has the URL, they can open it on their smart device and stand right in the middle of their existing "1983" kitchen and simultaneous- ly turn to see the 2019 space you designed. Here are a couple of tips: Choose a viewer position that is centered in the room, select high resolution when publishing and don't forget to encourage them to share the link on social media. Their friends and family can use the link, too, and potentially generate a buzz about you and your business. VIRTUAL REALITY VR is the same as 360, but it's formatted to use with VR goggles. It creates the immersive ex- perience your clients are seeking. Again, if you are using a professional kitchen and bath design application, this should already b e built into your software. The steps are the same, but when you view the image on a smart device, there is a "goggles" icon that you can select. It converts the image to a right eye and left eye view, en- abling your customers to slide their phone into a pair of VR goggles to see their space in virtual reality. As a designer, you don't need to know a thing about virtual reality; you can concentrate on creating great designs and the software gen- erates your virtual reality for you. I suggest investing a few dollars in VR gog- gles to enhance the experience. My recommen- dation is that you go on Amazon and purchase four or five pairs of plastic VR goggles for your showroom. They should cost around $20-$25 each. Make sure that you buy a couple that are made for standard-size phones and a couple for plus-size phones, too. These are great for quick use in your showroom. Next, I recommend that you consider pur- chasing custom branded VR goggles to give away to your clients. It's a great marketing technique that encourages current clients to take home and share their enthusiasm and your brand with potential future clients. I love this idea; Google companies such as DoDoCase to find options ranging from easy fold-up cardboard goggles to hard-cased goggles. They should cost around $10 per set and up, based on quality and quantity. And, if you're looking for the most profes- sional of experiences, look into goggles that con- nect directly to your computer, such as Oculus goggles. They start at around $300 but provide a unique exp erience for your client, so the cost is " Virtual reality, 360 Panorama and Augmented Reality are impactful in inspiring and allowing consumers to make well-informed decisions – and you can start using all of these in your business today." Adding Technology-Enhanced Reality JOHN MORGAN Photo: © iStockphoto.com/ alvarez 22 Kitchen & Bath Design News • October 2018 FUTURE FORWARD

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