Lowe's Canada introduces next-generation VR experience, Holoroom How To


Preliminary studies by Lowe's Innovation Labs reveal multi-sensory virtual reality can increase engagement and retention in home improvement education

Boucherville (Québec), April 3, 2017 - Lowe's Canada is proud to introduce Holoroom How To, an on-demand virtual reality skills clinic and the latest iteration of Lowe's Innovation Labs' Holoroom experience, their immersive design and visualization tool. Debuting this month in a Lowe's store in Burlington, Ontario, and in a few weeks in a RONA store in Beloeil, Québec, the simulated experience explores the relationship between virtual reality technology, engagement and retention in learning. The Holoroom How To proof-of-concept made its first appearance at a Lowe's store in Framingham, Massachusetts (in the Boston area). Lowe's is the first retailer to apply augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technology beyond design assistance to address the evolution of home improvement learning and skills.

We are excited to be a partner of Lowe's Innovation Labs and to make the Holoroom How To experience available to our Canadian customers, as it clearly illustrates how innovation can enable us to go one step further in supporting and inspiring our customers in their renovation projects," mentioned Claire Bara, vice-president, Strategy and Business Insights for Lowe's Canada. "The Canadian market represents a great platform for the Lowe's Innovation Labs to test some exciting new projects. With its diverse portfolio of brands and store formats, Lowe's Canada offers many varied opportunities for learning," said Claire Bara.

"During the past three years, we have been exploring real-life applications of augmented and virtual reality experiences to directly help our customers solve everyday problems," said Kyle Nel, executive director of Lowe's Innovation Labs, the company's disruptive innovation hub. "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."

The Holoroom How To experience provides a more effective training tool so customers can learn DIY on their own terms. When users put on the virtual reality headset and hold the controller in each hand, they will be immersed in a DIY project — such as tiling a shower — and given step-by-step instructions to complete the task. From mixing the mortar to laying the pattern, the simulation walks the user through each step of the process. Haptic feedback, such as feeling the vibration of a drill through the controller, adds to the life-like experience, without the waste or mess of testing a DIY project in the real world. 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.

Over the course of several months, Lowe's will evaluate customer response to this experience, gauging how this technology impacts customer learning and confidence. 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.Download photos and video here.

More About Lowe's Innovation Labs

Lowe's Innovation Labs (LIL) uses story as a strategic tool to map out the future, then builds technology to bring those stories to life in the real world. By leveraging stores as living labs, LIL rapidly tests the prototypes they build, continually learning while technology evolves. Holoroom, a VR home improvement design and visualization tool, was the first proof-of-concept LIL developed, available in Canada in 2014. Several years of testing customer response to this technology uncovered the power of AR/VR as a tool for teaching and learning, resulting in the creation of Holoroom How To.

Other recent LIL projects include LoweBot, a retail service robot that walks the aisles of Lowe's stores to help customers find what they're looking for and provides employees with real-time inventory monitoring, and a partnership with Made in Space to launch the first commercial 3D printer to space.

About Lowe's Canada

Lowe's Companies, Inc. (NYSE: LOW) is a FORTUNE® 50 home improvement company serving more than 17 million customers a week in the United States, Canada and Mexico. With fiscal year 2015 sales of $59.1 billion, Lowe's and its related businesses operate or service more than 2,355 home improvement and hardware stores and employ over 285,000 employees. Based in Boucherville, Quebec, Lowe's Canadian business, together with its wholly owned subsidiary, RONA, inc., operates over 535 corporate and independent affiliate dealer stores in a number of complementary formats under different banners. These include Lowe's, RONA, Réno-Dépôt, Marcil, Dick's Lumber and Ace. In Canada, the companies have more than 24,000 employees, as well as more than 5,000 employees in the stores of RONA's independent affiliate dealers.