Lowe’s Innovation Labs Looks to the Future of Designing a Home

On Day Two of The Wearhouse, Cheryl Friedman, vice president of Lowe’s Innovation Labs, sat down with James Fallon, editorial director at Fairchild Media Group, for a fireside chat presented by Lowe’s Innovation Labs, to explain the creation of the home improvement retailer’s innovation arm and the future of the industry through emerging technologies. 

The Labs launched a decade ago and is “focused on looking around the corner,” with projects and technologies looking ahead five to 10 years, Friedman said. She said the Labs’ main goal is to look at how consumer expectations will evolve and how people will think about their homes in the future — in parallel to how emerging technologies evolve. 

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As the Labs’ continues to experiment, it works from everything in prototypes to scaling projects for consumer usage. “We see a paradigm with the digital and physical worlds more seamlessly blending,” Friedman said. “We begin to experiment far earlier than what is mainstream.”

Removing friction from the retail experience is the Labs’ top priority — visualization being a top hardship. Spatial computing — combining physical and digital worlds — using sensors, spatial mapping and computer vision to create a realistic digital creation of what people’s homes look, could transform the home design experience.

Lowe’s Innovation Labs has been experimenting with advanced technology since its launch a decade ago in 2014. “Measure Your Space,” available on the Lowe’s iOS app, allows consumers to spatially capture their floor plans and measurements to bring into the store for usage on any project.

Tommy Hilfiger
Tommy Hilfiger tries the new “Lowe’s Style Studio” for Apple Vision Pro.

When Apple launched Apple Vision Pro, the Labs leaned into the technology to help customers create the kitchen of their dreams. Lowe’s Innovation Labs gave a demo of its “Lowe’s Style Studio” for Apple Vision Pro to SXSW attendees on the first day of the event.

Friedman said the company has leaned into the VR headset, as seeing 4K in each eye creates a real-life visual experience to help make key decisions in the home. Consumers can see materials, textures and finishes as if they are right in front of them, and in turn, be more confident in their choices for home improvement.  

The company sees spatial commerce as the future, and said consumers can bring to life their vision with “Lowe’s Style Studio” for Apple Vision Pro. Through “trying on” different combinations and styles, consumers have access to almost 80 billion combinations to experiment with, Friedman said.

Compared to how consumers can experiment with their personal sartorial choices, Friedman noted that there’s no equivalent now in the home improvement space — especially with consumers making, often, lifelong decisions on their tile choices and kitchen floors. 

“Whether it’s the smallest bit of millwork, a major kitchen remodel or the decor sitting on your table, we want to make that easier,” Friedman said. “We see that spatial computing has so much potential to take the friction out of all those decisions.”

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