Blog

Alive with creativity. Follow our blog to see our latest work, goings-on and trend & styling inspiration

Friday, April 22, 2016

New ‘Horizons’ - Virtual Reality - Part 3 of our series on emerging technologies in retail marketing

Set_Visions_Visualise_Virtual_Reality_Retail_Yorkshire
Photo by Nan Palmero - used here with Creative Commons license.

Following on from parts 1 & 2 - “Set Visions: Horizons” is a series of blog posts where we’re looking at some of the uses of emerging technologies that some retailers and retail brands are experimenting in - and which we believe will be part of the mainstream in the coming years.

A retail revolution is coming - are you ready?
Having originally started as a Photography Studio in the 90s - evolving over the last decade to deliver CGI photography and interactive visualisers, we at Set Visions have become acutely aware of the need to embrace technology as visual communications continue to evolve at fast pace.
Augmented reality, virtual reality, digital immersive experiences - they are all on the horizon, and Set Visons have the vision to create and deliver them now through our in-house team and innovation partnerships.

In part 1 we covered some of the more impressive in-store immersive retail experiences that have recently been created. In part 2 we looked at Augmented Reality.

It’s been some time since our last ‘Horizons’ blog post – and these days 3 months is a long time in technological innovation. However, carefully planned, our 3rd installment focusing on Virtual Reality, coincides with the very recent (March 28th) launch of the long awaited, Facebook/Zuckerberg backed/funded/owned Oculus Rift Virtual Reality headset – which many foresee will be one of the leading forces in finally making Virtual Reality… a… errrr… reality.

Set Visions: Horizons. Part 3 – Virtual Reality
Virtual Reality has promised, but not delivered since the early 1990s. Remember the film Lawnmower Man anyone? And what about some of these technologies that failed to deliver an experience that was ‘real’ enough to send people into a virtual existence?

Unfortunately this gap between the vision and reality of what the technology could deliver meant that attempts at consumer VR were largely abandoned and the technology has lain dormant since, existing largely out of sight in some niche areas of engineering and science.

But such an exciting prospect – wear a headset, and go nowhere and anywhere simultaneously – means this technology was always set to rise, like a phoenix from the flames. The gap between the vision and reality of virtual reality’s promise has finally been closed. A virtual revolution is here – and here are some of the ways leading home and interiors retailers are getting on board.

IKEA’s Virtual Reality Kitchen Experience
Earlier this month IKEA released a pilot virtual reality app featuring a virtual kitchen experience. The app brings the user a virtual IKEA kitchen in real world size. Using an HTC Vive headset, consumers can use the app to explore one of three differently-styled kitchen room settings. The user can change the color of cabinets and drawers with a click.

Set_Visions_Visualise_Virtual_Reality_Retail_UK

The launch of the app is intended to solicit consumer feedback as IKEA continues to explore the possible implications of the technology for the home.

“Virtual reality is developing quickly and in five to ten years it will be an integrated part of people’s lives. We see that virtual reality will play a major role in the future of our customers. For instance, someday, it could be used to enable customers to try out a variety of home furnishing solutions before buying them,” says Jesper Brodin, managing director at IKEA of Sweden and Range & Supply Manager at IKEA Group.

Set_Visions_Visualise_Virtual_Reality_Retail_UK_Leeds

“We also see IKEA VR Experience as an opportunity to co-create with people all around the world. We hope that users will contribute to our virtual reality development, by submitting ideas on how to use virtual reality and how to improve the virtual kitchen,” says Martin Enthed, IT Manager for IKEA Communications, the in-house communication agency at IKEA of Sweden.
Source – ikea.com

Lowe’s Holoroom
Set_Visions_Visualise_Virtual_Reality_Developer_UK

US home improvement store Lowe's have created the Holoroom - designed to aid customers in remodeling a kitchen or bathroom. Taking things a massive step beyond simple static visualisations rendered using kitchen design software - the holoroom allows the customer to literally/virtually stand in the kitchen as they play an active role in designing it.

In 19 stores around the US, the simulated space can be personalised with individual room sizes, colors and finishings, as well as electrical goods and equipment. Giving Lowe's the dimensions of a room, customers are able to then fill their virtual space from a selection of thousands of Lowe's products.

Kyle Nel, executive director of Lowe's Innovation Labs, said the Holoroom helps nudge people over the biggest hurdle when it comes to a room refresh: imagining what those changes will look like in real life.

"If you think about the way people conceptualize remodels now, it's really abstract," Nel said. "They go and get a little swatch here and one there and lay it on a table."

But with virtual reality, people can get a much more "holistic" and immersive view of how a slab of marble or different paint color can change an entire room — drastically increasing the likelihood that they will go with Lowe's for their project, Nel said.

"It removes five steps along the way," he said. "Anyone who has done a renovation has a really visceral reaction."
Source LATimes.com.

Start experimenting
If you have an idea or concept that uses emerging technologies to help visualise your products – get in touch with Set Visions.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

New Year – New ‘Horizons’ – Part 2 of our series on emerging technologies in retail marketing

As we step forward into 2016, and with the highlights of this year’s International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) hitting the headlines - we thought it was poignant to publish part 2 of our ‘Horizons’ blog post series.

Following on from part 1 - “Set Visions: Horizons” is a series of blog posts where we’re looking at some of the uses of emerging technologies that some retailers and retail brands are experimenting in - and which we believe will be part of the mainstream in the coming years.

A retail revolution is coming - are you ready?
Having originally started as a Photography Studio in the 90s - evolving over the last decade to deliver CGI photography and interactive visualisers, we’ve become acutely aware of the need to embrace technology as visual communications continue to evolve at fast pace.
Augmented reality, virtual reality, digital immersive experiences - they are all on the horizon, and Set Visons have the vision to create and deliver them now through our in-house team and innovation partnerships.

In part 1 we covered some of the more impressive in-store immersive retail experiences that were created in 2015, and in this, part 2, we are looking at Augmented Reality.


Set Visions: Horizons. Part 2 – Augmented Reality
Augmented Reality (AR) isn’t especially new but awareness and usage is low – but with increasing investment from big technology companies like Google and Facebook and with AR’s sibling Virtual Reality (VR) set to explode this year, it’s surely only a matter of time before AR starts to play an increasing role in all our lives, and especially when making purchase decisions.

What is Augmented Reality (AR)?
Augmented reality (AR) is a live direct or indirect view of a physical, real-world environment whose elements are augmented (or supplemented) by computer-generated sensory input such as sound, video, graphics or GPS data. With the help of advanced AR technology (e.g. adding computer vision and object recognition) the information about the surrounding real world of the user becomes interactive and digitally manipulable. Artificial information about the environment and its objects can be overlaid on the real world.

Augmented reality and retail
As the worlds of commerce and consumer technologies get closer together, the opportunity to produce increasingly personal and engaging content and experiences aimed at increasing sales is growing.

Some of the largest retailers have been looking at augmented reality (AR) for years – most applications taking advantage of the advancements in smartphones and other mobile devices. The technology creates computer-generated graphics that are overlaid with scenes from the real world using the mobile device’s camera. 3D models of products can be placed in the space customers are shopping for. They can be viewed from different angles, and the customer can determine if they’re the right size for their home or office.

Creating a “Try-Before-You-Buy” shopping experience using AR offers a number of proven and cost saving benefits to retailers. These include:

  1. Removing barriers to purchase
  2. Minimizing customer returns
  3. Higher conversion rates and higher consumer loyalty due to increased engagement
  4. Increased awareness of products through ‘Social (media) shopping’
  5. Extended life of retailer’s digital assets

In reality… who’s doing what
Enough of the ‘what it is’ – let’s look at some of the best applications of Augmented Reality by the world’s most innovative retailers.

IKEA’s Augmented Reality Catalog App
Yorkshire_Augmented_Reality_Services_IKEA
IKEA’s annual product catalog has both print and digital versions, and the company released its first augmented reality application to complement it in 2013. In its first year in the app store, it reached 9.7 million downloads.

The AR app is designed to be a component of the print catalog. Users first select items from pages that feature messaging about the technology and they then place the catalog in the room where they'd like the piece of furniture to be. The catalog acts as a location marker and the basis for scaling the furniture to the room’s proportions. The 3D furniture can be seen from any angle and is moved around the room by relocating the catalog.


Home Depot paint visualiser
Yorkshire_Augmented_Reality_Services_HomeDepot
The Home Depot Project Color app allows potential customers to test paint colors on their walls at home.


Sayduck furniture visualiser
Yorkshire_Augmented_Reality_Services_Sayduck
Sayduck’s AR mobile app incorporates a range of furniture products, from tables and chairs to lighting fixtures and china from European brands. It offers consumers a platform for discovery and design inspiration.


Curioos art print visualiser
Leeds_Augmented_Reality_Services_Curioos
Curioos is an online marketplace that sells art created by digital creatives from around the world. Its augmented reality app allows potential buyers to see over 5,000 artworks on their own walls in “gallery-quality” HD.


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The (3D) shape of things to come?
This years CES show featured a number of technologies that may have implications for how Augmented Reality may take shape in consumer’s homes in the near future. The BBC reported (http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-35210019) that a number of technology companies are pitching to deliver some of the technologies that may well be the next big thing in homes and interiors retail marketing.

French company levels3d are set to release their MyCaptr application later in the year. This, and ‘Tango’ which is in development by Google will allow consumers to create complete 3d models of their own homes by using their mobile devices as a 3D scanner. They can then use their 3D model to design and visualise aspects of their entire house – pulling in countless retailer’s products into their virtual home.

Leeds_Augmented_Reality_Services_MyCaptr
Levels3d’s MyCaptr


Leeds_Augmented_Reality_Services_Google_Tango
Google Tango

Google Tango Demo Home Designer App



Thursday, September 10, 2015

Set Visions: Horizons. An eye on emerging technologies in retail marketing - Part 1

We’d like to introduce “Set Visions: Horizons” a series of blog posts where we’ll be looking at some of the uses of emerging technologies that some retailers and retail brands are experimenting in - and which we believe will be part of the mainstream in the coming years.

A retail revolution is coming - are you ready?
Having originally started as a Photography Studio in the 90s - evolving over the last decade to deliver CGI photography and interactive visualisers, we’ve become acutely aware of the need to embrace technology as visual communications continue to evolve at fast pace.
Augmented reality, virtual reality, digital immersive experiences - they are all on the horizon, and Set Visons have the vision to create and deliver them now through our in-house team and innovation partnerships.

We’ll cover subjects like Virtual & Augmented Reality in future ‘Horizons’ blog posts… but for our first in the series we are focusing on immersive retail experiences.

Set Visions: Horizons. Part 1 - Immersive retail experiences
We were actually prompted to write this series of blog posts following the announcement of some of the great interactive installations and technologies that have been encoperated into the 14m refurbishment of John Lewis’ homes department of their flagship Oxford Street store which reopened last week.

Encoperating digital experiences into the retail environment isn’t especially new - but as the worlds of commerce and consumer technologies get closer together, the opportunities to produce increasingly personal and engaging content and experiences aimed at increasing sales is growing. Below are some of the great examples we have seen most recently.

John Lewis - Head of Design
The show-stealer is the 'Head of Design', a 2.5m high pod in the shape of a head on the second floor. You enter, respond to a series of psychometric picture tests on an ipad, and leave with a carefully curated moodboard of colours, textures and styles, which you email to yourself.

Set_Visions_Emerging_Technologies_Retail_Marketing_06

More info

Tom Dixon - Multiplex - Working, playing and entertaining
This autumn Tom Dixon presents MULTIPLEX at the Old Selfridges Hotel, an immersive, multi-sensory department store of tomorrow. MULTIPLEX brings together design, technology, fashion, film and interiors to explore how the future of retail might look, sound, smell, taste and feel.

Set_Visions_Emerging_Technologies_Retail_Marketing_03

Tom says: ‘The high streets are fighting a losing battle against the shift to online shopping, while eyewatering rents for prime locations squeeze traditional stores even further. It is time to radically rethink how these spaces can become relevant again in a digitally-defined future. The Multiplex is a prototype shop for the future, a multiple stage for new ideas. Just as in the modern world, the artificial distinctions between Designers, Artists, Manufacturers, Wholesalers and Retailers, Communicators, Entertainers and Customers blur, merge and get redefined. The space becomes a resource for working, playing and entertaining, for inspiration and for business, a platform for superior broadcasting of brands and ideas and a temporary central London entertainment space for new commerce.’

More info

Nike's new 'digital' retail experience
Aware of how today's consumers are utilizing both the digital and physical worlds; Nike sought to create a new 'digital' retail experience. An experience which combines retail store, eCommerce and mobile customer journeys – seamlessly.

Set_Visions_Emerging_Technologies_Retail_Marketing_05
Image and Social: The Media Wall
A multi-touch, multi-user wall displays campaigns, products and related social media bursts.

Set_Visions_Emerging_Technologies_Retail_Marketing_04
Interaction and Comparison: The Nike Bootroom
An 65'' interactive surface with multi-touch facilitates employees and enables customers on their continued journey. Nike products are comparable with real-time availability for size and color, detected by the ERP system.

Set_Visions_Emerging_Technologies_Retail_Marketing_01
Customization and Purchase: The Replica Kiosk
A digital retail kiosk with a 65" touch display where Nike Football fans can find, customize and order their favorite Nike team products. Here one can see product availability in real-time for both in-store or online purchase.

More info

Bloomingdale’s Ralph Lauren Clothing To-Go Window
Bloomingdale’s Manhattan flagship store sought to convert passersby into paying customers this Father’s Day with six interactive window displays of Ralph Lauren clothing. Shoppers on-the-go could tap color swatches on a touchscreen facing the sidewalk. That same colored shirt, tie or pants would materialize behind the window. If they liked what they saw, they could text “POLO” for a link to a checkout page.

Set_Visions_Emerging_Technologies_Retail_Marketing_02

The experience also aimed to avoid slowing shoppers down — they could opt to have the clothing hand-delivered to the sidewalk, completing the entire impulse buy without ever setting foot in the store.

More info

Rebecca Minkoff’s Interactive Dressing Room
The mirror in the fitting room of Rebecca Minkoff’s SoHo store doubles as a personal shopping assistant, inviting shoppers to reflect (in every sense of the word) on which designer handbag suits their taste. A touchscreen display suggests alternative designs and colors. Shoppers can flip through their options, make a purchase or even adjust the mood lighting.

Set_Visions_Emerging_Technologies_Retail_Marketing_07

More info

Mr Porter x Kingsman Immersive Pod Experience
Using a custom-built green screen and a bullet time camera rig 16 simultaneous images of a model striking a thematic pose were shot, whilst dressed head-to-toe in clothing from the Mr Porter x Kingsman Collection.

Set_Visions_Emerging_Technologies_Retail_Marketing_08

These images were then composited together onto background scenes that were recreated to match three key locations from the film. When guests enter the pod and align themselves with the appropriate markers, the same bullet rig captures their image, creating the illusion of their presence within the film, head-to-toe in the stylish collaborative range. The footage is converted into an animated .gif that guests can share on social media or save via email.

More info


Macallan Whisky - 3D Holographic Point of Sale Display
The creative tells the story of the whisky from its heritage in the Scottish Highlands to the unique Macallan distillation process. The campaign features the product itself with 3D animations appearing in and around The Macallan 1824 limited release decanter.

Each stage of the distillery process is visualised from barley fields to quality oak casts, to highlight the processes that contribute to the colour, aroma and flavour of The Macallan, as the tagline states “All our experience distilled into one special collection.”

More info

A retail revolution is coming - are you ready?
Get in touch with Set Visions if you are interested in exploring the possibilities of these emerging technologies.

Tags

Connect With Us

10th Jul 2018

Investing In Our Software To Save You Money

Set Visions Technical Director has invested in cutting edge, next generation server technology...

More on our blog

An absolute pleasure to work with @LAKitchensUK on this shoot
#bootroom #doglovers #bespokekitchen… https://t.co/gNlbC0i8JJ

15th Mar 2018

The Age of AR

AR can deliver near photographic 3d visuals to scale in your own home. The recent converge...

More on our blog

Register for our newsletter

With offices in the north and south, we can easily drop in for a chat wherever you are

Contact Us

Main office:
Set Visions Ltd
Robin Mills
Leeds Road, Greengates
Bradford, West Yorkshire
BD10 9TE

Tel: 01274 610 600
sales@setvisions.co.uk