Chester Springs, PA (June 2017) Azione Unlimited (AU), the education and buying group for custom installers and home technology professionals, has announced its virtual reality (VR) showroom—built on a sophisticated graphics engine employed by top video game studios—has gone live. The VR Showroom software, developed by BDX, Inc. a digital marketing technology organization for builders, allows users to experience how technology will look and function in a home while moving, virtually, through each room.
The Azione Unlimited Virtual Reality Show House demo runs on a computer or an app, giving dealers the ultimate flexibility to bring the showroom demo right to the prospective customer’s home. However, the VR experience can also be controlled via a PC or an Xbox game controller and viewed through an Oculus Rift Virtual Reality headset, or it can be viewed by more than one person at a time on a computer monitor or a larger HDTV or projection screen.
Azione and its member vendors have joined together to fund a base model containing over 100 products from 30 companies. With the heavy lifting completed, dealers now have the option to purchase the model as-is or customize it. BDX can create specialized versions for dealers that could include their particular brand mix, company logo, and contact information, regional/environmental landscape representing the dealer’s location, and much more.
“The Azione Virtual Reality (VR) Showroom platform gives dealers the option to customize as many details of the demo as they want, from different scenes within the home down to the specific products deployed,” says Azione President Richard Glikes. “We can even customize the screens within the VR environment to play a video promoting the dealer’s services and brand, which users can play upon entering a room. It’s quite exceptional!”
With the dealer’s guidance, consumers can “walk through” the virtual home and interact with the different components, and then choose to view a pop-up information panel that describes the product’s features. The highly tactile, interactive experience gives the consumer an idea of the various options available and the functionality of different products and, more importantly, helps the consumer visualize the end result in their own home.
Many Azione dealers do have a showroom with speakers, screens, security equipment, and a control system, but it’s often hard to imagine the separate components within a whole home environment. Additionally, static, real-world showrooms don’t usually give dealers the option to switch out equipment for demos. Being able to have the client experience the look and feel of certain products in a home environment can help dealers upsell to a better class of products, resulting in greater profit margins for the dealer.
As always, the success of a traditional brick and mortar showroom demo is contingent on getting the client through the door in the first place. “For many dealers, adding a VR showroom is a unique step up that really differentiates their brand (and ours),” says Glikes. “Azione is growing and our members are evolving. Adding services like this—and being the first ones to do so—make it far easier for customers to experience technology before they buy, which increases the likelihood they will purchase what dealers recommend.”
Azione Unlimited first introduced the VR Showroom concept at its Fall Conference in a presentation by Tim Costello of BDX, the company that developed the software. During the Spring Conference, Costello and Glikes unveiled the Azione Unlimited VR Showroom and described the capabilities, detailing specifics during a launch webinar held in May. Several Azione members have already deployed the software and in the months to come, Azione will share details of their success and how the offering has enhanced their company’s profile.