Have you ever struggled to sell a service to a customer because they simply don’t see your vision?
Sometimes even when you have drawn a birds-eye view of their future landscape design, rendered it using a 3D software application, and talked your customer through the vision you have for the area they are still hesitant. It’s frustrating, yet you can understand that it’s hard to spend thousands on something that isn’t tangible yet.’
One technique that may become a future tool of landscape design is virtual reality, and Urban Ecosystems based in St. Paul, Minnesota, is already putting it to use.
The addition of virtual reality (VR) into the landscaping business’s design strategy started by teaming up with a developer and a computer game designer and seeing where their combined expertise could take them.
“I had an interest in the interactive component,” stated Samuel Geer, director of operations for Urban Ecosystems. “I committed some energy into seeing what the process would be to bring it (3D models) into a virtual environment. A great deal of it can be automated. It wasn’t that much extra effort.”
Geer states the company develops the environments in SketchUp and then uses the computer game engine Unity to add the ability to view and manipulate the environment. Urban Ecosystems utilises VR innovation that is custom designed for landscaping contractors and designers.
The software application can render big, intricate styles such as parks and golf courses, as well as property landscapes. The area can be filled with people to assist in identifying how the area works when crowded and it can be viewed in daytime and night time settings.
The amount of required time it takes to create a VR suitable landscape design can differ.“It depends upon the job and exactly what you’re attempting to do, little scale versus a bigger, more intricate environment,” Geer stated. “It’s going to take longer depending upon the number of bells and whistles you put into it.”
At this current point in time, Geer hasn’t become aware of other landscaping businesses utilising this tool; however he keeps in mind that architecture companies in their area have started to adopt VR into their design strategy.
Clients often value getting to sneak a peek of what their dream backyard will appear like, and seeing it in relation to the rest of their house helps them see how a new aspect would fill the space.
“It helps communicate the cost dimensions,” Geer said. “Having the ability to look at the materials set up helps them make those decisions. There’s a great opportunity to integrate some decision-making requirements with an aesthetic decision. You can really clearly present that info to the client.”
One of the advantages of VR is the ability to take a look at how the design communicates with the area. Users can see where a view has to be saved, especially ones they cherish and would otherwise be unaware of how the design will impact it. Like the clients favourite viewpoint to gaze at while sipping on a glass of yarra valley wine with the girls on a weekend. They can also decide which design fits best with the various style options they have to choose from and they can switch between styles too.
“It helps them feel more in control of the procedure,” Geer said. “It lets them seem like they remain in the driver’s seat.” Geer believes the interactive nature of VR will help it eventually end up being the standard of selling landscape designs to clients in the near future.
“It ends up being a hands-on experience and people’s individual interest and tastes have the ability to be expressed more eloquently compared with seeing a top down design of the space,” he stated.
An investment in VR could really be a beneficial tool for those who struggle to sell their vision in the service industry.