It is only natural that metaverse creators may want to share the look and feel of their homes with others. Lowe’s is hoping to make this a little easier by extending its existing product line into the metaverse with the recent launch of Lowe’s Open Builder.
The portal currently provides more than 500 3D assets representing products stocked by Lowe’s for unrestricted reuse across the metaverse. It’s the first home improvement company to open up its product library to metaverse builders, but it is not likely to be the last. Both Ikea and Home Depot are busy on their own 3D design projects.
The new asset hub provides a variety of Lowe’s products, including lighting, patio furniture, area rugs, kitchen and bath accessories, and décor accents. Each asset is delivered in USD and glTF formats, allowing creators to pull assets into popular metaverse and non-metaverse environments for gaming, augmented reality and creative design.
Extending across channels
Lowe’s CIO Seemantini Godbole told VentureBeat, “We feel it’s a natural extension of what we were already doing in other channels.” This new offering will give Godbole’s team a chance to find out how to leverage the creative inspiration of customers to bring more attention to the brand and further improve the customer and employee experience.
The company has been working on the 3D assets for some time for use within its existing home improvement workflows. The company has other apps for capturing data about a home to visualize and plan home improvement projects, like designing a new kitchen, and visualizing the look for new paint or floors.
And Lowe’s also uses digital twins to improve store planning and layout using interactive 3D planograms. “It almost feels like in PowerPoint where you can go in and drag and drop assets on the slide to get an idea of how your planogram is going to look before and after,” Godbole explained.
Building 3D workflows
Lowe’s has been working on new 3D technologies for the last 18 months. Godbole said they paid just as much attention to the new assets as they did to building the technology and process foundation for new 3D efforts. For example, Lowe’s Open Builder takes advantage of the 3D assets that Lowe’s already created for its various home improvement apps. “The beauty of building a great technology foundation is that you can reuse it again and again,” Godbole said.
The creation process also involved a lot of customer research-and-experience design work. Lowe’s teams studied how its 300,000 associates interacted with customers and worked with users to see how new approaches to kitchen design might improve their experience. “We have been students of this process to ensure our technology fits what our customers are thinking about and the biggest problems we need to solve.”