February 27/March 6, 2017: Volume 31, Issue 19
By Nicole Murray
Las Vegas—Emser Tile and Chameleon Power gave Surfaces attendees a “virtual” first look at an innovative tool that allows consumers to browse through products using high-tech goggles and sophisticated software. The program essentially lets users design their household in the virtual world to see what the final product will look like prior to purchase and installation.
How it works: While wearing the goggles, attendees can use handheld remote controls to design the demo kitchen on display via a monitor. With the left hand controller, the user is able to scroll back and forth through the available products; with the right-hand controller, she can select the flooring of her choice. Products can be applied to various surfaces throughout the virtual experience so dealers could potentially finish the sale with products for multiple rooms and designs purchased.
“Once the final version is released, consumers will be able to search by product type, design, color or any other logical progression that can classify a product,” Phil Kenyon, vice president, color solutions, at Chameleon Power, explained. “If you can picture what a customer’s final product will look like for her, she will be able to make a decision faster and be that much more confident moving forward.”
The virtual reality tool, developed by Chameleon Power, also contains settings for the home being designed in the virtual world to contain different degrees of sunlight, lighting, and overall ambiance so the consumer can see the virtual final product exactly how it will look in the real world.
For example, different weather and lighting will change the appearance of the product. “It is our job to make sure nothing is inappropriately represented,” Kenyon stated. “We have an innate understanding of color physiology and how to create an environment with the ambience and mood desired.”
Along with a wide array of products, consumers will also be able to see prices associated with the respective products seen through the viewer. The goggles and associated equipment can be used in stores or even on site at the consumer’s home.
Emser estimates the tool will hit the market this quarter. “The goal is for Emser Tile to be on the cutting edge of technology,” said Barbara Haaksma, vice president of marketing. “We will be able to take this tool wherever we need to because it is digital. Eventually we will be able to have customers design their future kitchen in their current kitchen.”