Digital technology touches almost every aspect of our daily lives so it’s only natural it gets a starring role in making The Lobby unique. This is the third and final post I’m devoting to a major new Tridel initiative. It’s called The Lobby and it delivers a fully integrated and satisfying way for buyers to customize their homes.
In my first post, I introduced the concept, as well as colleagues essential to making it happen. In my second, I expressed my appreciation for the contributions of other key teammates and acknowledged II BY IV DESIGN, which helped us create a flexible, modular, multipurpose design space. The Lobby is a venue that our external design partner says is the leading and foremost design centre in Canada and North America.
Now, I want to tell you more about some incredible technology: the Tridel Design Studio, a digital exploration app that enables high-tech, virtual customization. It complements what buyers will experience when they visit The Lobby and was the first element Tridel developed when beginning the project.
An AI-powered Game Changer Built on Gaming Technology
What makes this new virtual reality tool so exciting is that it’s powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and data analysis. This empowers us to streamline our offerings, respond better to customer needs and reinforces our commitment to innovation.
Technology is the fundamental difference today, says Executive Vice-President, Sales and Marketing Jim Ritchie: “It’s an enabler. It pulls everything together…it improves the customer experience and our ability in terms of functionality – even the experience of our own employees is better.”
Our customers will love the Tridel Design Studio app and being able to plan their new homes remotely before visiting The Lobby. And what Aareas Interactive President and CEO Frank Guido and Project Manager Randy Maniu came up with is a game changer.
In technical terms, it’s an Angular based app (Web/iOS/Android) built on cross-platform, real-time gaming tech, allowing for WebGL (Web Graphics Library) real-time revisions. That’s the same technology behind the immensely popular Fortnite video game. What it means for our buyers is that the app reflects their changes as they explore design options in real time at such high resolution, you can’t say what’s real and what isn’t. And the images aren’t static: users can walk around, adjust cameras, angle, zoom in, or select a bird’s eye view.
Homebuyers make big decisions: this tool enhances their experience and selection process and will even educate them, eventually, on how selections can add more value. Tridel will apply its AI and data analysis capabilities to further streamline our offerings to better fulfill customer needs.
“I think they’ll love the ability to interact with the platform and understand what’s available,” says Jim. “It will be immediate on an iPad or laptop. The design process is a journey: customers can start online and interact. They don’t have to imagine the finished product because we can show them. It’s fun to work with the VR technology and experience ‘walking’ through a home. Eventually they’ll come to The Lobby and experiencing the materials in person.”
Users Can Explore, Experiment and Choose
Tridel’s point person, Pricing and Drawing Control Manager Claudine Nitsotolis worked with the Aareas Interactive team to create a powerful platform that not only shows products, features and finishes but also lets buyers experiment and play with them online.
The app is also a powerful financial planning tool allowing purchasers to see the cost of various materials and finishes so they can understand and select elements that suit their lifestyle—like closet organizers, window coverings or handheld showers—and have them ready when they move in. Not only does the app show costs in real time, it also predicts their mortgage impact, enabling buyers to see, for example, what they can add for as little as an additional $10 per month.
Claudine was excited to bring the first group through The Lobby (from Selene, the final phase of Tridel’s Metrogate community near Highway 401 and the Don Valley Parkway in Toronto). Nonetheless, she predicts there will be a “great uptake” of the online platform because it offers convenience and the ability to experiment.
Personally, I think most customers will use the app for inspiration but will still want a personal appointment with a Tridel Design Consultant. Car buyers like to take a “test drive” and play with selections before finalizing decisions: homebuyers are no different.
So that’s my guided tour of The Lobby and the interactive Tridel Design Studio. I hope I’ve done them justice and have made my interview subjects and other colleagues proud. I could not cover everything I learned or include everyone who participated in evolving our internal process and customer experience, but I hope I’ve given a glimpse into the journey.
If you want a real feel for The Lobby, then move from the online world to the real one. We’re at: 4800 Dufferin Street and open Monday to Thursday, 9 a.m. to 7p.m.; Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 12 noon to 5 p.m. (Oh yes, and there’s ample parking.)