The big takeaway from The GTA Home & Reno show’s talk on technology and interior design was that industry professionals are going to need to get tech savvy or risk going out of style.
Sponsored by SOFA (Source of Furniture & Accessories), the talk, entitled How Interactive Technology Will Be A Game Changer For Interior Design, featured a panel of technology experts. These experts represented companies that are spearheading the introduction of new technologies to the design industry. This presentation was especially important because it was the first time that the topic had ever been brought to the stage.
New technologies are changing absolutely everything about the way we as consumers go about our daily lives, and this is certainly no different when it comes to planning the look of our homes through professional interior design.
It was stated that 70% of consumers are more likely to purchase something when they can see it and that ⅔ of interior design clients are unable to visualize a finished room. These numbers alone make it essential for design professionals to embrace technologies that are able to provide clients with the most accurate environments and experiences.
The panel featured five design and technology experts, all of whom touched upon three specific areas: virtual reality, augmented reality and 3D. Here is a look at what each speaker brought to the table:
Powerball Technologies – Edwin Padilla
Labelled an augmented sourcing and visualization tool, the offering from Powerball Technologies is used to create 3D renderings in a client’s home. While it is presently an iPad app, Padilla says that there are plans in the works to bring this technology to Microsoft HoloLense and other similar headsets.
Matter and Form– Trevor Townsend
Developed by Matter and Form, Bevel is a small but mighty 3D attachment that can turn a smartphone or tablet into a 3D camera. Simply plug it in and pan it over an object to create a photo in 3D. Townsend claims that using Bevel is as easy as taking a video on your phone.
Sulon – Kibaya Njenga
The spatially aware, AR/VR (augmented reality, virtual reality) Sulon HMD headset will allow designers to walk through a client’s home and map the environment in real time. Additionally, headset users are able to interact with the environment using “gestures”.
Just imagine being able to not only virtually place a coffee table in the corner of a room, but having the ability to resize it as well, with only a wave of your hands. Njenga says that designers will be able to virtually decorate a room on site.
Nix Color Sensor – Greg Summers
The Nix Color Sensor is a small, smartphone/tablet enabled spectrophotometer that can be used to measure the colour of any surface. This tech will allow a more accurate interpretation of a client’s colour inspiration.
3Dream.net – Ross Barlett
3Dream is an online, interior design tool that creates a client’s potential environment. Already in use by a few members of the audience, this tool is considered to be a bridge that allows clients to better visualize what their finished environment will look like.
The Future and some concerns
Understandably, there was some concern among the audience members, most of whom were very busy design entrepreneurs. The prospect of having to learn these new technologies seems intimidating and arduous, particularly when their schedules are already tightly packed.
However, as consumers become more tech savvy and generations of digital natives start to embrace the services of professional designers, taking steps to learn and embrace these technologies is crucial. In the end, when it comes down to working with a designer who has incorporated new technologies into her or his business practices vs. a designer who has not, there are quite a few consumers who may be more likely to choose the more tech savvy interior design professional.