EXCLUSIVE: Stannah says introduction of augmented reality has transformed its sales process
Augmented reality (AR) is helping prospective stairlift customers get a clearer picture of how a stairlift might fit into their home due to an exciting new development from Stannah.
The stairlift and homelift manufacturer has utilised the expertise of technology solutions provider PTC to develop Envisage, a second-generation app that can be used to bring a virtual stairlift into the home of a potential customer.
AR is an enhanced version of the real physical world that is achieved through the use of digital visual elements, sound, or other sensory stimuli delivered via technology. It works by overlaying digital assets onto a real-world environment.
Discussing how the new technology has helped transform Stannah’s sales process, Ross Pascoe, Chief Technical Officer at Stannah, exclusively told THIIS: “AR technology opens up numerous benefits for us and our customers. Many purchasers have never seen a stairlift before they buy one so AR can address any misconceptions, showing how a stairlift might look in the customer’s home, in a way that print or web never could.
“For us, AR transforms our sales process. We can offer a more tailored sales approach so that our customers are better informed and more confident in their purchase.”
Stannah sales engineers can minimise the amount of time spent in the homes of people by using AR to quickly show exactly how the product will look, including curved and straight stairlifts, movements and positions and differences in upholstery fabrics.
The process is quick to complete and the customer can then be transported into the future to see the product set-up in the context of their home. Customers can zoom in on specific features and will receive images they can send on to their family, who may not be present at the consultation but could play a role in the decision-making.
It is the next stage in Stannah’s digital transformation journey, which has seen it use PTC’s Creo and Windchill technology to enhance its design and product lifecycle management.
Ross continued: “Augmented reality helps alleviate the hurdles of purchase and the questions that customers have. We can use AR to explain the product features and we can show the clear benefits for them rather than focusing on their challenges that led them here.
“We noticed that a lot of customers needed an additional tool to envisage how their purchase would look in their homes. This is where Augmented Reality and our strategic partnership with PTC came into its own.
“Our development team took twelve months to create Envisage, and our sales consultants are now using it when visiting clients, giving people a clear idea of how the stairlift will look whilst exploring which models are best suited to the environment.”
Ross said that while the homelift and stairlift specialist had been using AR for some time, it realised that the technology could be used during the pandemic to help with social distancing and reduce the time employees spent in people’s homes.
He continued: “Envisage was recently launched and will be rolled-out across all of our UK and international teams, working in more than 46 countries across the world.”
Stannah has worked closely with PTC’s AR Centre of Excellence on the development of the Envisage app, tapping into its Vuforia Engine software to harness the power of AR.
Its markerless AR technology detects objects or characteristic points of a scene without any prior knowledge of the environment, allowing the company to simplify and streamline the process so the capture does not distract from the actual sales conversation.
The intuitive and easy-to-use format of the PTC Vuforia Engine technology also meant that the training of all engineers was completed in a matter of weeks, Stannah outlines.
Ross added: “The long-term relationship we have with PTC really accelerated our approach to this project. Its experts understand our business and how its technology portfolio can alleviate some of our pain points and this sparked a lot of digital conversations that has improved the functionality and speed of Envisage.
“A lot of people wouldn’t automatically associate a stairlift manufacturer with Augmented Reality when, in real life, the technology lends itself perfectly to protecting vulnerable people whilst still giving them another layer of confidence and engagement in the sales process.”
David Grammer, General Manager for UKI for PTC, added his support: “AR is rapidly changing how we live our lives and is coming up with solutions to everyday issues.
“Stannah is passionate about embracing the digital thread and has already seen the operational and customer benefits of cutting-edge design capability and now Envisage. The latter is using Augmented Reality to improve lives and that is the most important thing.”
Founded in 1867, Stannah has grown to have a turnover in excess of £260 million, now employing over 2000 people and providing stairlifts, commercial passenger lifts, service lifts and goods lifts to a global customer base.
In November, the company launched a digital platform to allow UK customers to arrange buying a new stairlift within 20-minutes online from a laptop, tablet or mobile phone.https://thiis.co.uk/exclusive-stannah-says-introduction-of-augmented-reality-has-transformed-its-sales-process/https://i1.wp.com/thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Stannah-L.jpg?fit=900%2C659&ssl=1https://i1.wp.com/thiis.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Stannah-L.jpg?resize=150%2C150&ssl=1NewsroomSupplier NewsTrade NewsEnvisage app,homelift manufacturer,Mobility aids,PTC,stairlift customers,stairlift manufacturer,Stairlifts,Stannah,Stannah AR,Stannah augmented realityAugmented reality (AR) is helping prospective stairlift customers get a clearer picture of how a stairlift might fit into their home due to an exciting new development from Stannah. The stairlift and homelift manufacturer has utilised the expertise of technology solutions provider PTC to develop Envisage, a second-generation app that...Sarah SarsbySarah Sarsbysarah@thiis.co.ukAdministratorTHIIS Magazine