Lowes Bringing Augmented Reality Rooms Into Canadian Test Stores
June 12, 2014 by Dave Haynes
The DIY store Lowes will be rolling out a series of augmented reality spaces in four stores around Toronto in the second half of this year, enabling people to visualize what their home reno jobs might look like.
“We know that for many homeowners, the struggle to visualize a completed home improvement project or to share that vision with others can stop a project in its tracks,” says Kyle Nel, executive director of Lowe’s Innovation Labs, in a news release. “The Holoroom is our solution, enabling consumers to visualize their project and share that vision with family and friends.”
The Lowe’s Holoroom is a home improvement simulator which applies 3-D and augmented reality technologies to provide homeowners an intuitive, immersive experience in the room of their dreams.
A customer will begin by choosing their preferred products before viewing and experiencing those products in the Holoroom. While in the Holoroom, they can make changes to the room design or finalize their plan with confidence. A take-home printout will allow customers to view a 3-D model of their room at home, and share the model with family and friends, by downloading a free app available on iOS or Android devices.
Lowes says the holorooms will be introduced in select Toronto stores in 2014, and equipped with thousands of products to help customers plan a bathroom remodel. Additional product categories and rooms will be added to the Holoroom to help plan projects throughout the home over the next 12 to 18 months.
This kinda screams gimmick. It’s an AR app, hooked into SKUs for bathroom finishings, and you use the blank walls of the holoroom to light up different elements as viewed through a tablet the store provides. Using software to visualize renos on a tablet or monitor is not at all new, so the main difference here is that what you are looking at through the window of the tablet changes as you point the tablet camera in different directions.
Lowes stores are BIG, so eating up space for this is not that big a deal. But I’m not sure how much this will do to move quartz counters and commercial grade faucets. You also have to staff the thing to show people what to do, and keep the tablet(s) from walking out the door.
It WOULD be interesting if this was a holographic room. With projectors, the four walls could be painted with the visuals developed on tablet, and shoppers could stand back and look. Set up the right way, shoppers would be able to change paint colors, countertops, flooring and so on.
Apps already exist, such as DecoLabs, to do aspects of this sort of thing at home.
There’s a shiny new Lowes in my general area. Maybe that will get one of these whiz-bang test rooms, and I can wander in for a look.