Lowe's has announced its latest Lowe’s Vision mobile app, which leverages Google’s Tango augmented reality technology on the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro, the first smartphone enabled with Tango, to help customers with in-home design needs, according to Lowe’s Innovation Labs.
“The Lowe's Vision app enables customers to easily measure any room in their home with the touch of a finger, and style it with virtual Lowe's products in real-time through augmented reality," according to a statement on the Lowe’s Innovation Lab’s website. "This is a big step forward into our vision for how customers will use these technologies to design, build and enjoy their homes, from the comfort of home.”
This latest mobile app comes on the heels of the March unveiling of the Lowe’s Vision: In-Store Navigation app, which is intended primarily for in-store navigation, product search and related in-store shopping functions.
A video on the Lowe’s Innovation Labs page explains the Phab 2 Pro with Tango technology has multiple cameras that allow app users to create 3-D experiences that show a highly realistic view of how a re-imagined living space will look. That really is the name of the game here, as there is no point in putting augmented reality technology into this sort of mobile app unless it is going to virtually imitate the experience of seeing the products in the customer's actual home.
Lowe's has been aggressively developing new technologies, and this isn't its first augmented reality solution. In fact, just a few months ago Lowe's announced a Vision app leveraging Tango, but that app was targeted more at in-store navigation and needs.
This app is targeted for use outside of the physical Lowe's store, and while it's not described as a mobile shopping app, that's really what it is. It's also much more advanced than most mobile shopping apps, allowing users to drop a new stove into a space in their kitchen where the old stove still sits. That's about as close as you can get to buying the thing, having it delivered, installing it and seen it in the space — except the app takes all the nervousness, risk and mystery out of the equation. If shoppers don't like how it looks in the app, they can drop in an image of a different stove.
The only negative here is the fact that a lot of people who might want to use the app don't have the Phab 2 Pro smartphone. Tango is a pretty impressive 3-D technology with a lot of potential uses, and Google is sure to work hard to get it into more devices. (The upcoming Asus ZenFone AR actually looks to have some pretty major implications for retail.) For Lowe's shoppers, wider availability of this particular app, regardless of device, can't come soon enough.