Lowe's, Microsoft team up on virtual home renovation tool
- Lowe’s home improvement stores and Microsoft have partnered to test a design tool that uses the software giant’s HoloLens virtual reality technology to display kitchen remodeling options.
- Using the HoloLens, Lowe’s customers can test out different cabinets, appliances, colors and finishes in a sample space.
- Lowe’s is testing the HoloLens kitchen remodeling tool at a “secret” location in the Seattle area, and plans to pilot it in the Raleigh, NC market soon.
Lowe’s is testing Microsoft’s HoloLens virtual reality technology to help consumers envision kitchen renovations. Using the interactive tool, Lowe’s customers can view a holographic representation of a sample kitchen, comparing and contrasting options--for example, how shiny chrome appliances might look as opposed to matte brushed aluminum. Consumers also may save or share their designs with family, friends and store associates.
Home improvement is a natural application for virtual reality and other visualization strategies, since remaking a room tends to be a big, expensive task consumers want to get right the first time. And beyond its practicality, there’s a gee-whiz quality to virtual kitchen design that should get Lowe's shoppers talking.
The HoloLens tool brings Lowe’s efficiencies, too. Stores can install a single HoloLens station to save on floorspace and still offer a full range of design services, even in smaller, urban locations. Microsoft sees the technology eventually allowing consumers to map entire renovations without ever visiting a store—but a retail partner would still need to supply the physical goods.
Lowe’s is not new to virtual reality: Its “Holoroom” in-store and at-home design tool uses Oculus Rift optic technology and Google Cardboard. Other retailers embracing VR include Tommy Hilfiger, which last fall leveraged Samsung's GearVR to allow customers to “sit” in the front row at a fashion event and “experience” backstage goings-on.