By Brianna Ahearn, contributing writer
The 2015 International Consumer Electronics Show, or CES, began January 7, 2015, and will showcase the latest in consumer electronics, such as smartwatches, TVs, video games and more. Among the innovations of consumers and tech experts can expect to see at CES 2015 is the innovative technology demonstrated by home improvement store Lowe's. The technology is the work of Lowe's Innovation Labs, a hub of Lowe's Companies and which offers innovation for retailers to help consumer problems.
Lowe's is a provider of smart home products, which help homeowners control variety aspects of their homes, including lighting, locks, temperature, and more, via smartphones and tablets. CES 2015 features a showcase of smart home technology in action, with Lowe's offering a model home with all features orchestrated with the touch of a button. However, Lowe's Innovation Labs has taken demonstration features up a notch with the Holoroom. The Holoroom is a home improvement which uses augmented reality and 3D to show homeowners how to create the home of their dreams, helping them visualize how to transform their homes.
“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. The Holoroom is our solution to that problem by enabling consumers to visualize their project and share that vision with family and friends,” says Kyle Nel, Executive Director of Lowe's Innovation Labs.
The Holoroom helps consumers walk through the process of transforming their rooms by letting consumers choose products, then view how they look in the Holoroom. They can make changes as needed, and when their plan is completed, they're given a printout that allows them to see a 3-D model of the room at home, or share it with friends using a mobile app for iOS and Android devices. The Holoroom is already in active in two Toronto, Canada stores for bathroom remodels and refresh projects, with more expansion for more living spaces planned. CES 2015 reaction has been positive, with Lowe's Innovation Labs receiving a nomination for Top Tech in the Home category.
“Lowe’s wants to lead innovation by developing disruptive technologies that will help us establish a long-term competitive advantage,” says Nel. “Lowe’s Innovation Labs will allow us to quickly bring in new technology and new partners, explore a wide range of possibilities and identify opportunities to develop concepts like the Holoroom.”
Also on display at the CES 2015 show are the Lowe's Innovation Labs “robotic employees,” currently being tested at a Lowe's Orchard Supply Hardware Store in San Jose, California. The retail service robots are the newest wave of consumer experience technology, and can assist customers the moment they walk in the door. Customers are first greeted by the robots, then they can tell the robots what they're looking for, by typing on a screen or verbally. The robots are also equipped with a 3-D scanner, so customers can hold up objects that show what they're shopping for, such as a screwdriver or nail. The robots will display information on current in-store stock, then guide the customer to the shelve where they may retrieve their desired item.The robots were designed to improve the customer experience while in-store, but not to eradicate sales associates all together. Now sales associates will be free to answer complex questions about a customer's particular project and solve problems.
Consumers can visit the Lowe's Innovation Labs website to see videos and information about both of these consumer experience technologies.