Lowe's developing 3-D app


Lowe's (NYSE:LOW) will soon be adding a 3-D component to its mobile app that lets users visualize how new furniture and appliances will look in their homes.

The program works with Google's 3-D mapping software and Tango smartphone platform on the Lenovo Phab 2 Pro. Lowe's will also sell the smartphone, which has dual cameras that see surroundings in 3-D, later this year.

Lowe's Innovation Labs created the new app. It's part of the retailer's efforts to stay ahead of technology trends. The lab works with science fiction writers to pair market research and trend data to create "stories."

Some stories are then mapped in a way that lets engineers create digital solutions, such as the Lowe's Holoroom announced earlier this year, according to Kyle Nel, executive director of Lowe's Innovation Labs. The Holoroom is an in-store tool that uses virtual reality to help shoppers design rooms.

"We hire professional, published science-fiction writers and give them all of our marketing research and trend data," Nel told Fast Company. "There's a whole rigor and process to this, but then they come back with the probable, possible convergence of people trends and tech trends, and what that might look like."

Virtual and augmented reality have big implications for retailers but seem tailor-made for those selling home-related products. Ikea is using augmented reality to help shoppers better visualize new kitchens, and Wayfair has been bringing catalogs to life and building better apps, also using Google's Tango technology.

For more:
- see this Fast Company article
- see this Engadget story

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