Lowe’s Canada exploring virtual reality for home improvement

Home renos could be the next industry to be infiltrated by virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR) technology.

Home improvement giant Lowe’s Canada, through its Innovation Lab, has announced Holoroom How To, an on-demand VR skills clinic that aims to be an effective training tool for customers wanting to learn how to DIY (do-it-yourself) on their own terms.

Holoroom How To Experience
The Holoroom How To experience as seen in a Lowes store location.

First used at a Lowe’s location in the Boston, Massachusetts area, Holoroom will debut in Canada in a Burlington, Ont. and a Beloeil, Que. store later this month.

Claire Bara, vice-president of strategy and business insights at Lowe’s Canada, says that the partnership with Lowe’s Innovation Labs to make Holoroom How To available to Canadian customers is exciting and “clearly illustrates how innovation can enable us to go one step further in supporting and inspiring our customers in their renovation projects.”

“The Canadian market represents a great platform for the Lowe’s Innovation Labs to test some exciting new projects,” she said in an Apr. 3 press release. “With its diverse portfolio of brands and store formats, Lowe’s Canada offers many varied opportunities for learning.”

With Holoroom How To, users put on a virtual reality headset and are immersed in a DIY project, such as tiling a shower, and given step-by-step instructions on how to complete it without the pressure or mess of doing it in real life. The experience is made as realistic as possible through controllers in each hand that provide haptic feedback, like the vibrations of a drill.

Lowe’s says that initial testing of the technology “has not only proven an increase in recall, but also that training through VR using Holoroom How To boosts customer confidence and enhances motivation to take on DIY projects.”

Holoroom How To Hand Controllers
The Holoroom How To hand controllers.

Kyle Nel, executive director of Lowe’s Innovation Labs, says that the company has been exploring real-life applications of such technology for three years now.

“Our experience has shown that customers are embracing AR/VR as part of their home improvement journey, and now, we are using immersive VR to help our customers learn the required skills to complete challenging home improvement projects,” he adds.

Lowe’s Canada is the first retailer to go beyond using AR and VR technology for just design assistance, and it will spend the next several months evaluating customer responses to the Holoroom How To experience.

“From this pilot, Lowe’s will learn how innovations like Holoroom How To will enable instantaneous learning moments and massively scalable training opportunities that empower both customers and employees around the world,” the company says.

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Mandy Kovacs
Mandy Kovacshttp://www.itwc.ca
Mandy is a lineup editor at CTV News. A former staffer at IT World Canada, she's now contributing as a part-time podcast host on Hashtag Trending. She is a Carleton University journalism graduate with extensive experience in the B2B market. When not writing about tech, you can find her active on Twitter following political news and sports, and preparing for her future as a cat lady.

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