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3D Configurator of a shoe, created using ONU's 3D Web technology.

ONU has been creating 3D Web technology and experiences for over 3 years. Making us a pioneer in this exciting new space. So we decided to write The Ultimate Guide to Your Products in 3D on the Web. Everything you need to know about how to get your products online in 3D.
 

Introduction

With the rise of e-commerce and the race for online sales, consumers are expecting more and more from their online shopping experience. They expect not only education, but also engagement with your products. There is also an increasing desire for consumers to personalize products to fit their precise needs. Using devices ranging from laptops, to tablets, to their phones.

 

Chances are, your website uses traditional photography for product education and engagement. This falls well short of expectations for most consumers. You may use 360 degree photography for more complete views of products. This is a nice upgrade, but still leaves most consumers wanting more. More engagement, more information, more interactivity.

 

In response innovative companies have begun to adopt 3D web technology. Finding immediate benefits in online sales and marketing. Providing customers the ability to customize and personalize a product, and instantly see the results. Some retailers are even using 3D product visuals to provide better service and training for their customers. Read The Ultimate Guide to Your Products in 3D on the Web to find out how!

 

The E-commerce Train

The e-commerce train left the station years ago and shows no signs of slowing. Business to consumer online spending is up dramatically each year. According to UPS’ Annual Pulse of the Shopper Report, discretionary retail spending was up 4% over the past year, while e-commerce grew 13%. In fact, online spending easily outpaces in-store shopping, with online influencing almost 80% of buying decisions.

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Don’t forget about Mobile

Each year, mobile devices are accounting for more online purchases. According to the UPS Report, mobile now accounts for 48% of online purchases. This is a 7% increase from 2015, at the expense of desktop purchases.

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Also, the
Adobe Digital Insights team predicts that the majority of online shopping this holiday season will happen on mobile devices. Customers are still more likely to complete a purchase on desktop after researching on mobile. But as we can see above, that’s changing.

 

B2B Joining the Party

With all the growth in consumer e-commerce spending business to business doesn’t get much attention. So the numbers may surprise you. By 2020 Forrester Research expects the U.S. B2B e-commerce market to be worth $1.1 trillion. That’s over twice the size of the B2C market. With the worldwide sales estimate to top $12 trillion by 2020 according to Frost & Sullivan.

 

Business buyers are also consumer shoppers, and will expect more consumer like experiences. In fact, with B2B purchases having more at stake, the expectations seem even higher, according to a recent study by SalesForce. Eighty-nine percent of business buyers say they expect companies to understand their unique needs and expectations, versus only 72% of consumers.

 

Online Consumers Are a Picky Bunch

As the amount of online shopping has increased, so have consumer expectations. An Adobe study from 2010 shows that customers expect every product view in every available color.

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The two most valued features are images in all colors (96%) and 360-degree views of products (91%). And this was 8 years ago! So imagine how consumers feel, years later, when the best you’ve got is 360-degree photography. You’re definitely not making any fans. Gallup reports that when customers don’t get what they want, they become disengaged. And not only disengaged, but antagonistic towards the offending brand!

 

Good News, Bad News

Good News: There has never been a better time to sell online. Both B2B and B2C e-commerce are on the rise. So just put up a website with some pictures of your product and profit, right?!?

 

Bad News: You must give the customer an accurate and engaging product experience. Including all the views and options of your product. Plus you must consider mobile responsiveness. If you don’t do all this then customers will not only disengage but could become antagonistic.

 

So how do you give customers everything they want?

 

3D Web To the Rescue

Show your products in their true form and give customers the ability to interact with them. Rotate to view at any angle and zoom in to see all the details. Customize for any possible configuration, color or texture option. Even animate your products to show how they work in real life.

 

And isn’t that what we should be pursuing; a re-creation of the actual retail experience. Where customers can pick up your items, rotate them, and view them from any perspective. As observed in this Mumbrella article, 2D product images are no longer useful and the future of e-commerce is 3D. Providing advanced innovation, flexibility, and actually lowering costs.

 

What Exactly is 3D Web?

Before we go much further, we should explain exactly what we mean by 3D Web. It refers to the rendering of 3D models, in real-time, using a technology called WebGL. Let’s breakdown a few of the key terms in that definition.

3D Model
Refers to a product of 3D modeling. Which is defined as “the process of developing a mathematical representation of any surface of an object (either inanimate or living) in three dimensions via specialized software”. Some of the more common software used by 3D artists are Maya and 3DS Max by Autodesk, Blender, Modo and ZBrush. The output from 3D modeling software can be a number of different formats. Some of the more common are FBX (Filmbox), OBJ (Wavefront) or DAE (Collada).


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Real-Time Rendering
Refers to interactive 3D computer graphics or models. Traditional computer graphics are baked into non-interactive images or sequential video. Real-time rendering allows a user to control the display of the 3D model. The model responds in real-time by providing the view requested.


WebGL
Short for Web Graphics Library. Refers to a JavaScript API for rendering interactive 2D and 3D graphics within any compatible web browser without the use of plug-ins. WebGL is an extension of OpenGL, used for years to provide 3D experiences on desktop computers and gaming consoles.


Below is an example of a 3D model, rendered in real-time, using WebGL.



How Is 3D Different Than 360 Degree Product Photography?

The major difference is the control provided to the customer. With 360 degree photography, the number of available product images limit the available product views. Often times, the view or angle a customer wants is not available. Another frustrating aspect is limited zoom capability. The inability to get a closer look at a product could be the difference between a sale and no sale. One could argue that 360 photos are sufficient in these areas. Given the maturity and adoption of the technology, that would seem a reasonable argument.

 

What 360 photos lack are affordable animation and configuration capabilities. It’s one thing to setup a photo shoot to provide 360 degree views of a product. But creating imagery for a product animation is not viable. Nor is it practical to create a product configurator using 360 photos. Here your choices are taking photos of every possible color and option from every angle, or having a full-time Photoshop resource to create the images. Neither option is efficient or affordable.

 

Don’t misunderstand, 360 degree product photography is a major step up from standalone images. Providing customers with more product views, translates to better information and more conversions. But remember, that Adobe study demanding more views and product options was from 2010! At the rate technology evolves, that was a lifetime ago. 3D Web is the next evolution in e-commerce technology.

 

So You’re Convinced, Now What?

So we’ve made our pitch and you’re ready to get started. So how exactly do you get your products into 3D? There are three traditional options, which we will explore in more detail below. Any of the options can create 3D models for use on the web.

 
3D Scanning

The first option is 3D scanning of products. This is done using a variety of different equipment and techniques. Such as structured light scanning using a handheld device like this one from our friends at Artec. Another viable technique is photogrammetry, which uses images from one or more DSLR cameras. Either technique requires additional software to process the scan data into a 3D model. Here is a great primer for 3D scanning objects for use on the web.

 

The upside of 3D scanning is that the process can scale for certain product types. One example is footwear, where the product size and materials are ideal for the application. Most shoes are roughly the same size, so a standard setup can accommodate the scanning process. The relative lack of metal or shiny surfaces allow for high quality scan results in most situations. See the example below.

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Another advantage is technical accuracy. Scanning can be accurate to the millimeter or even micron level. The capture of geometrically accurate data ensures that the resulting 3D models are created to scale.

 

The major downside is the lack of flexibility in the resulting 3D model. The scanning process is not able to create a mesh structure that corresponds to the actual product structure. Let’s take the footwear example. The 3D scan of a shoe would not separate the upper, bottom, tongue and laces. Making it impossible to configure different areas of the shoe with different color or material options. It also means we can’t animate different parts of a product. Such as making a transmission spin or viewing the internals of a football helmet.

 

Another drawback to scanning is the resulting size and quality of the 3D model. Initial scan data can be very high quality, but also very dense. Models which are too dense, will not perform well in WebGL. As a rule of thumb, 3D models need to be 250,000 polygons or under to perform on a mobile web browser. Finding a balance between quality and density is challenging and often requires decimation of the 3D model. This affects the image quality and often results in an unacceptable result. Especially for discerning customers.

 
3D Models from Images

The second option is to create 3D models from scratch using images as a guide. Using this technique, 3D artists use one or more product images and dimensional data to create a model. The models are then textured using physical or digital material samples. High quality 3D product models can be hard to distinguish from product photography.

 
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There is definite upside to using 3D models created from images. Since the 3D artist has complete control over the model, the mesh structure can reflect the actual product structure. This allows for changes to color and material options on each part of a product. Using our shoe example above, a customer could choose to have a red rubber bottom, black leather upper, and blue laces. Products can also be animated to reflect real-life operation.

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Another advantage is that the 3D artist has control over the image quality and model density. So it is generally possible to find an acceptable balance. Of course there will always be compromise. But for 3D artists, especially those with experience in gaming, this is a normal part of the job.

 

However this method has its drawbacks as well. First, it is difficult to create technically accurate models. Precise dimensional information is often unavailable, so objects are often not to scale. Also, the number of images is often limited. Meaning the artist has to guess on certain areas of a product, particularly the inside.


But the biggest drawback is the lack of efficiency and affordability when creating 3D models from images. Imagine drawing a highly complex product, such as a car engine, from scratch. A project like this can take days or even weeks! Especially when the goal is a high degree of photo-realism. Even with very affordable resources, each 3D model will cost hundreds to thousands of dollars to create.

 
3D Models from CAD

The third option is to create 3D models using CAD data. Using this technique, a 3D artist will receive CAD data of a product to use for model creation. The artist will use software to convert the CAD data to a polygonal format. This allows them to use the CAD representation of the product as a guide when creating the model. Like with the previous method, the models are then textured using physical or digital material samples.

 

This option has all the advantages of creating 3D models using images. In addition, the resulting models are more accurate. The CAD data contains dimensional information, so 3D models are to scale. The 3D artist also isn’t forced to guess based on incomplete imagery. The CAD data contains representation for all aspects of the product, including the internal components. Sometimes CAD data can even include color or material information. Meaning 3D artists can leverage design data to create better representations of products. All the better for the ever-discerning consumer.


Unfortunately, creating 3D models from CAD isn’t much more efficient than from images. This is because when CAD converts to a polygonal format, like scanning, it retains density. Often tiny screws or unseen internal parts create unnecessary polygons. So the 3D artist needs to recreate all the geometry. This process is sometimes known as retopology or retop for short. As with the previous method, the process can take days for each model. Meaning similar costs on a per model basis.

 
Comparing the Options

See below of a quick recap of the options. As you can see, none of them check all the boxes. As a result, there is no clear choice on which option to choose.

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What If There Was a Better Way?

Well there is! ONU 3DLite turns native CAD to low poly FBX files in minutes. Our automated CAD conversion and optimization technology save both time and money. Enabling the creation of 3D models up to 75x faster than with the traditional methods. Once optimized, export your CAD as an FBX file for use in 3D Web viewers. Head over to our website and start your free trial of ONU 3DLite today!


See the previous comparison with ONU 3DLite
 added to the mix. Now you have an option that checks all the boxes!

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Well That’s Exciting! But What To Do With All These 3D Models?

Once you have created 3D models of your products, it’s time to put them on your website. This is where the aforementioned WebGL comes in. Luckily, a number of solutions exist that make it easy to display your product models on your website. Much like embedding a YouTube video. Just upload your 3D model and use the provided embed code to include on your site. These 3D Web viewers will be compatible on any HTML5 supported desktop or mobile browser.

 
3D Viewers

The most well known is Sketchfab, with over 1.5 Million 3D models shared to date. They have free plans that allow users to upload and share 3D content, quickly and easily. There are also paid plans, such as their Personal plan, which allows their 3D viewer to be embedded on your site. This plan also includes use of their viewer API. Allowing for more advanced product experiences, including animation and product customization.

 

Another option in the space is P3D.in. They provide free functionality similar to Sketchfab, with the addition of limited embedding. Their paid plans are also less costly. But the lower cost comes with less robust functionality. At the time of writing, P3D.in does not have an API to support animations or product customization.

 

At ONU, we have a 3D Web viewer as part of our Publishing solution. This includes the ability to easily embed on your website. As well as an advanced API to trigger animations and enable advanced product customizations. Feel free to Contact Us for more information on our pricing plans and options.

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3D Configurators

The hottest trend in 3D on the web are 3D product configurators. This allows consumers to customize products to their specifications. All while viewing your products in 3D! Giving customers all the views and all the options. What more could they want?

 

The best part is that 3D configurators are more affordable than their 2D counterparts. Requiring Photoshop or layered PSD solutions, 2D configurators are time consuming and inflexible. So brands such as Vans, Under Armour, and Xenith Helmets are using 3D to create greater customer satisfaction while saving time and money.

 

Configurators built using 3D Web viewers take advantage of WebGL’s real-time rendering capability. Consumers can make choices on different options, colors and materials. With choices reflected live in the 3D Web viewer. The difference between this and 2D, is that there aren’t loads of images to create and manage. That’s because the 3D Web viewer updates in real-time using a JavaScript API. No more Photoshop, layering PSDs or hardcoded options. Unlimited flexibility for both the brand and the consumer.

 

To make things easier, there are solutions to manage 3D configurators with little to no coding. This includes integrations with the major e-commerce platforms. One such solution is from our partners at ThreeKit. They offer a WYSIWYG Configurator, making it easy to build a product configurator with no programming. This and other plans start at $100/month. Which includes integration with e-commerce solutions such as Shopify, Magento, WooCommerce and DemandWare.

 

Beyond E-Commerce

So we’ve explored e-commerce and what 3D Web has to offer. But are there other uses for 3D Web technology and your business?

 

The answer is a resounding yes! The same 3D models that you create for e-commerce experiences have other uses. Such as trade show marketing, sales, troubleshooting, service, and training. Imagine your products displayed on a big touch screen at a trade show. Or on your website to provide troubleshooting information to your customers and technicians. This blog post from FormLabs does a great job of explaining some of the potential benefits.

 

You have likely heard all the buzz surrounding augmented and virtual reality. Just more examples of how to extend the use of your newly created 3D models. These technologies are in the early adopter stage now. Over the next few years they will become commonplace and your organization will be ready. So what are you waiting for? Head over to our website and start your free trial of ONU 3DLite today!

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Trade shows are a powerful way to increase a company’s visibility and generate warm leads. It’s a big business, with billions spent every year. To make the most of your trade show experience, you need a stand-out exhibit. But with so many people crowded in the same space, what works? At ExhibitorLive in Las Vegas, everyone was talking about virtual reality. The ONU team exhibited our VR solutions, and the response was tremendous. Virtual reality has so many applications for nearly every vertical. Here’s three types of companies that can maximize their trade show presence with VR.  


Brands Can Show Off Products In Virtual Reality

If you’re going to a trade show to sell a physical product, bring your inventory along in virtual reality as well. ONU’s VR platform is revolutionary for products designed in CAD. Our pipeline makes quick work of converting polygon-heavy files into usable formats. (If you don’t use CAD, our team can still move anything into a virtual world.) Leverage the investment you made in CAD with a VR experience for sales and marketing. Other benefits include the high level of interactivity. Say you make large machinery – like the water filter we brought to the show. A simple swipe of the hand explodes the entire system. Guests can walk around inside your product to scale. VR defies the limits of the physical world.  


Booth Fabricators Can Build and Collaborate In Virtual Reality

Trade show booths offer unlimited opportunity for creativity. They’re blank canvases to help companies tell their product story. Like those products, booths are often designed in CAD as well. ONU’s proprietary software allows for real-time rendering to show different configurations. A basic CAD-based showroom is enhanced with different types of carpet, lighting, furniture. In virtual reality, customers can build a custom world, filled with interactive models. If the client is located outside of your headquarters, VR becomes even more useful. With our collaborative technology, people can jump in the same virtual scene from anywhere in the world. This extends to the trade show floor, as well. Invite prospects that aren’t attending to experience your booth virtually.  


Agencies Can Take Branding To The Next Level With Virtual Reality

Agencies embraced virtual reality early on. They know and understand the value of new technology that generates buzz. VR is now a component of the total brand strategy. VR allows for total immersion in a company’s products. It’s unlike any other traditional form of marketing. Virtual reality also allows for an edge when it comes to personalization. The Chevy Camaro we brought to ExhibitorLive changed colors by throwing paint swatches. Building a custom car increases emotional engagement and brand loyalty. It’s also an all-around attention grabber. People love sharing videos of their colleagues trying out a virtual reality experience. Extend the reach beyond the trade show itself.   Brands, booth fabricators or agencies will all benefit from ONU’s virtual reality technology. Contact us to learn more and get started.  

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Booth sizes. Freight shipping. Furniture rentals. Oh, and did you want carpet? It costs extra. Sound familiar? You’ve done trade shows countless times and know the routine. But what if there was at least one aspect of a show where you could save money, time and space?

ONU’s Virtual Reality platform can have a huge impact on your bottom line for exhibiting. That’s because ONU’s software leverages your existing files. Instead of keeping product designs confined to the computer, move them into any digital space. ONU’s pipeline delivers products into mobile apps, on the web for e-commerce and into virtual and augmented realities.

This is because ONU is first and foremost a 3D visualization platform. Like many other SaaS products, the advantages of a full platform include a backend, analytics and user control of content. Instead of using photos or clunky animations, ONU creates beautiful 3D representations of products that are customizable and interactive. Anything can go into digital space, from shoes to sporting goods, cars or large-scale machinery.

And speaking of space and time: VR defies the limits. Why choose what to pack when you go to your next show? Bring your entire inventory in the space of a suitcase. Do you make large pieces of machinery or equipment? Fit them into a 10’x10′ booth space. How about a car? No problem. Everything in the experience is to scale.

It’s not just viewing products, though. You can also interact with them. Animations include operating equipment, swapping colors or textures to customize in real time, and fully exploded views (like a diagram) so you can show off all the nuts and bolts.

But seriously, it gets even better: invite people to participate from anywhere in the world. With ONU’s new multi-user functionality, people can join the virtual reality environment live! All they need is a smartphone and mobile VR viewer, like the Samsung Gear VR. People can either be passive – watching what’s going on – or active, and take control themselves. Invite every contact you have to your next show, and if they can’t make it, send them a Gear VR.

We can’t help with the carpet, but we do have a few tricks that will save money and make you stand out on a crowded show floor – and beyond.

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Digital assets. They are the primary format for everything we create. Photos, videos, documents, models – we work on them individually and collaboratively and need to access them in a variety of ways. There are a lot of systems that sort and organize our files, but the general idea is the same: we need a software program that makes sense of our stuff.

Beyond simply organizing, what if these systems could do more? What if they could truly move design assets into multiple platforms, with minimal work for the user? The definition of digital asset management is a way to organize information that emphasizes encryption, asset permissions and redundancy (backup copies). Other key features include secure storage, a searchable content management system (CMS) and an easy way to move content outside of the system. DAMs can be local or cloud-based, which is known as DAM SaaS (Software as a Service).

Digital assets are created in a single platform for multiple uses. And often, exporting to a similar-but-slightly-different file type isn’t enough. Recent advancements in WebGL, smartphones and virtual reality created a demand to move those assets onto these new platforms.
ONU created ONU One, a 3D visualization platform, to address these demands. With ONU One, design files move easily through a pipeline to be exported to use anywhere in full 3D. Our proprietary algorithms lower the density of CAD or other large files – without lowering the quality.



Because of the reduced polygons, ONU One can optimize and deliver, for example, a FBX file into virtual reality or augmented reality in 3D. Real-time rendering allows for total interactivity, super-quick performance and photorealism. Our platform integrates with game engines like Unity and Unreal, and works on the web with e-commerce platforms like Magento and Shopify. Easy access to these 3D assets means your team can create 3D presentations for use in sales and marketing. Adobe found 91% of online shoppers want to turn products 360 degrees and zoom on any perspective.

Interactivity like this increases emotional engagement, which in turn builds brand loyalty. And with ONU One’s powerful customizer anyone can make your own version – try it with
Xenith Helmets! It’s easy to see how 3D visualization communicates a product’s features and differentiators in any format. A 3D visualization platform is, in essence, the most accurate, interactive and cost-effective way to showcase your products. How did you ever live without one?

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Screen Shot 2017-12-13 at 7.49.56 AM.pngTechnology continues pushing the capabilities of e-commerce forward. So what should online sellers focus on adopting next year? From the mobile takeover to custom products and the dawn of v-commerce, ONU One covers B2B & B2C on desktop & mobile. Oh, and there’s a customizer. Did we mention the customizer? Yeah, you’re definitely going to want this customizer. Here’s why adding 3D visualization to e-commerce should be at the top of your 2017 list.


B2B and E-Commerce

B2B online retail will see an estimated $12 trillion in sales by 2020, according to Frost & Sullivan. The volume of transactions is different for B2B compared to B2C, but strategies overlap. Especially with product-focused B2B enterprise, like OEMs, customers need straightforward views of complex products. ONU One’s 3D visualization platform optimizes CAD data to make products look their best online. Another major factor in the B2B e-commerce growth is mobile ordering. Internet Retailer shows how mobile is on everyone’s minds. Mobile is creating massive opportunities for e-commerce everywhere, not just with B2B. And with a great mobile experience, comes the need for a great responsivity.   


So Responsive on Mobile
 

E-commerce spending edged out brick-and-mortar in the last quarter, according to UPS’ annual Pulse of the Online Shopper survey. And within those groundbreaking online sales, mobile saw huge gains – 25%, to be exact. So more people are shopping online, and more of them are converting right on their smartphone. What does this mean for e-commerce? First, make sure your site is mobile-friendly for search engine ranking and optimization (here’s Google’s tool to check). Second, ensure any software you use is responsive. ONU One’s web embed is responsive, scaling to the size of any screen and operating lightning fast. Third, consider how important responsiveness is for customer experience.  


Better Customer Experience

While online sales hit record numbers this Black Friday and Cyber Monday, Gallup reports that technical difficulties – like unresponsive sites – lead to more disengaged customers. And not just disengaged, but antagonistic towards the offending brand! So how does a company capture the massive mobile market without frustrating its customer base out of existence? By using a smart and effective platform like ONU One. The customer experience is revolutionary: fast, intuitive and responsive. Try it for yourself on our client Xenith’s website. If you didn’t click to try it, here’s a spoiler: you can also make your own custom helmet. Because what do more and more consumers want? Custom everything.  


Customize Everything

The Census Bureau tells us there are more Millennials than Boomers. What else do we know about this large market share? They expect custom products. It isn’t just this on-demand, personalized generation that wants custom options, though. A Bain survey found that 30% of all consumers are interested in trying a customized option. We’re seeing market proliferation of customizers, with varying degrees of success. Major shoe brands like Van’s and Nike offer custom items. If you really want to go all out, build your own Ford Mustang. Customizers are implemented with varying degrees of usability right now. Customizers should enhance the online experience, increase customer engagement and deliver a product with an emotional connection. But they often fall short of these goals. Don’t forget – frustrating experiences online can actually make customers disengage completely.  


Better Product Views

It isn’t good enough to see the custom build on a layered PSD file, or click through four clunky images that don’t show the whole product. We already know that products with 360 degree spins increase conversions, and that 91% of online shoppers want to be able to turn products 360 degrees and zoom at any angle. ONU One has this covered. Don’t forget about e-commerce expanding into the virtual space, becoming v-commerce. There’s ample room for ancillary experiences in virtual reality (VR) for retail. What we’ve seen so far has largely used 360 video in a passive environment. ONU One’s platform can put the products themselves in a VR environment, and make them interactable. This means opening up parts of products or exploding the whole thing to look inside. It takes ONU One’s online customizer and moves it into virtual reality for a truly futuristic – and engaging – shopping experience.

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Last week, Business Leaders for Michigan held their fifth annual CEO Summit. This day-long event drew an enormous crowd from all the major Michigan industries: healthcare and banking to automotive and education. This year, BLM focused on some timely topics. The speakers discussed disruption, innovation, emergent technology and competing in a global economy. Here’s our Top 5 Takeaways from the day. Team ONU had an amazing time and can’t wait for next year!



Our very own CEO, Sam Sesti, spoke to one of the key concepts: differentiators. With an ever crowded marketplace, what are the tools companies need to succeed? How do you communicate loudly over the roar of competition? One way is with 3D visualization: engage your customers emotionally and give them an interactive, custom experience with your products. Sam said, though, it might not just be one way – it is the way. Fairly soon, all marketing, sales, service and training will be done using 3D visualization.





Even pizza companies are technology companies. CEO Patrick Doyle spoke about how most of their commercials aren’t about the product, but about how tech delivers it. Have you ordered a pizza with an app yet? What about via emoji? It’s time. Disrupt your Friday night dinner. 🍕  


 
Steelcase CEO – and gamer! – Jim Keane spoke about how office furniture design is influenced by technology. His optimistic vision of the future of workspaces is one where people are no longer tethered to any particular location. Steelcase also uses virtual reality so clients can understand relationships between furniture and architecture.
And, with the Internet of Things, offices will be as smart as the people who work in them.  

These are words to live by. Make a desktop wallpaper, write it on a white board, tattoo it on your arm. If everything around you is changing rapidly, staying the same automatically makes you obsolete. This isn’t about failure, though – many tech leaders talk about the importance of failing fast. Taking risks was central not only to this talk, but embedded into the overall day. What makes this field so exciting and challenging is the opportunity to always push forward and innovate. The real risk is taking no risk at all.

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Cars: we need them, we love them, we customize them. Buying a car is just the beginning – opportunities abound for components. From rims to seats to strut bars, nearly every part can be swapped out to make a car truly yours. (Don’t forget those colorways – anodized titanium shift knobs, anyone?) Car enthusiasts spend hours researching, obsessing, drooling over aftermarket parts. SEMA’s 2016 report highlights the massive market that is this $39 billion dollar industry. And Hedges & Company estimates that of that, $7.4 billion is spent online, with ecommerce seeing a 16% increase this year. So, those sweet 20” rims? They need to look just as good online as they will on your ride. Hedges & Co. also reports that desktop searching is down for tire and wheel searches, with mobile growing by 20%. So a responsive website is critical for ecommerce.  

You can’t have images that load poorly, don’t scale to screen sizes, or remain static. Consumers need to interact and understand the nuances in this crowded market for your company to truly differentiate.
Enter ONU One. It’s the only 3D product visualization platform. There’s no flat 2D photography with ONU One. The depth of 3D shows customers the entire product.

Rotate and zoom to maximize visibility on small screens; or even explode a component with many parts to understand functionality.
This smart software is optimized for the web and mobile. Our custom, branded mobile app makes your inventory available anywhere, on demand – even offline. The app is made to deploy to a salesforce or for quick demos during trade shows. The web viewer fits easily into your site, and is used in concert with Shopify or any other ecommerce platform.

On both platforms, total customization is possible. All of your products, with all of the options, are available on demand. Change colors, either of the entire item, or swap out choices on certain parts. Isolation views allow for exploring fine details. Swapping textures? No problem. Check out that racing seat in cloth or carbon fiber.Optional hotspots can call out important information, whether through text, video or links to PDFs. Add instruction manuals, explainer videos – anything important about your line. There is so much knowledge required in the automotive industry, everyone can use a little reminder.  

There still isn’t anything as impressive as showing your products on an actual car, but that isn’t always possible. Bringing something that large to a trade show or sales meeting is expensive and impractical. The next best thing, though, is virtual reality. ONU One can optimize anything, and place it in a VR environment that fits in a small space. See how we did that at TEDxDetroit here. Are you going to SEMA next week? So are we! Say hi to Team ONU and tell us what custom features you need for your company. If you won’t be there, contact us to get the most important tool in your box for effortless automotive ecommerce.

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So that trade show is coming up. Or another sales meeting. Maybe it’s a pitch for seed funding. But your product is big. Like, it’s big, as in, it’s amazing, but it’s also large. A car? An enormous tractor? There’s no way you can bring that inside a convention center, or into a boardroom.

How will you show your potential customers all of the features without physically bringing them into your facility? Or get them as excited as you are about that groundbreaking new concept still in the prototype phase? “But wait!” you say. “I saw something that could do all of that at TEDx Detroit last week!”

If you weren’t at TEDx Detroit, you may think that made-up person speaking out of turn in this blog post is mistaken. No such magic exists. But then what was everyone in line waiting for? A glimpse of the sorcery that is the combination of 3D visualization with virtual reality. ONU One teamed up with PIXO Group to develop an experience that would wow the audience at TEDx, and it didn’t disappoint.

People gathered and patiently waited (more than an hour in some cases) to try this completely new and innovative experience. ONU One’s 3D visualization was designed for use on tablets, mobile phones and web browsers. By combining the platform with virtual reality, those 3D models aren’t limited by screen size anymore: they’re now as large as life.

Participants put on an HTC Vive headset and grabbed the controller to explore something never seen before. They were able to experience a car. The model, originating from CAD data, appeared in virtual space to scale. That is to say, when standing next to the car, it was like standing next to an actual car. Looking at the car was only the beginning. The audience was able to actually step inside. And if stepping inside a virtual car isn’t enough, how about exploding it? No, not like blowing it up – that would be cruel – but experiencing an exploded view. Walking around inside all of the nuts and bolts of a complex piece of machinery is something that cannot be duplicated outside of virtual reality. 


VR is ripe for development in enterprise. Industries that specialize in large products like robotics or construction equipment could see a huge benefit from this technology. But we aren’t biased against the smaller guys, either – maybe you want to fill a virtual space with a variety of products, like a digital showroom. And for startups, if your invention requires funding to get into production, showing off the prototype in interactive VR will communicate your vision better than any other type of presentation.

So there you have it – it isn’t magic, just science. Dust off those CAD files and let ONU take them out of the computer and into virtual reality. A small computer and a headset are infinitely more portable than large products. Plus, it’s insanely impressive.

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It’s so frustrating when you’re shopping online, checking out different angles of this epic new shoe, when you realize you can’t see the sole. Or when you want a closer look at the textures of that sweet new breathable athletic material, only for the zoom to be constrained to a tiny thumbnail. Argh!  

The Online Views Blues Such is shopping online. We can’t see the full features of products or inspect them like we can in a store. But the vast majority of consumers research online before buying – sometimes even while they’re in the store, according to Synchrony Financial. And while e-commerce as a whole has undergone tremendous growth, what about transformation? So far the best solution is some type of photography, with 360 degree product photography coming in as the reigning champ. But there is an underdog waiting to jump into the ring – and that champion will transform the experience for companies and their customers.      

What Is 360 Product Photography? It is, much like it sounds, a 360 degree view of a product. Said product is placed on a platform, that spins as a DSLR captures dozens of images, which are then compiled by a team of designers. And edited. And retouched. If there’s anything in the photos that shouldn’t be – say, a speck of dust – the process begins again. It’s time-consuming, expensive and high-maintenance. So why does anyone go through this process? So why do a lot of companies go through this? Because it’s the status quo, and it takes a fierce challenger to create change.  

The Competitor ONU One skips the massive infrastructure and goes straight to the source: the design files themselves. Our platform uses your existing CAD or scan data to show your products in hyper-real 3D. It’s easier and more efficient than any possible combination of photographs. Even if it wasn’t better, faster and cheaper, there’s the end user to consider. The customer has total control over the interaction. No longer limited to the views that were captured, they can explore everything, via zoom, rotate and exploded views.  

After using ONU One, you’ll find yourself wishing it was everywhere:

“Why can I only see that cell phone from a few angles?”
“You mean I have to actually go to a store before I purchase this?”
“It’s not rotating! It’s not…. Oh wait. No ONU *sad face*.”
 – Actual quotes taken from people who genuinely love ONU and may or may not work here.

There’s more options for customization, but we’ll cover that in a future post. In the meantime, visit Xenith Helmets to try changing features and functionality on-the-fly.  

The Title Belt Goes To… ONU One. What are you waiting for? You should put money on this fight. It’s only a matter of time before 360 product photography finds itself on the receiving end of a knockout. And we, as consumers of many things, can’t wait.

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The ubiquity of online shopping presents manufacturers with the opportunity to showcase their products with a high degree of accuracy and realism. Xenith, the industry-leading football helmet manufacturer, partnered with ONU to deliver an 3D interactive product solution to their eCommerce platform.   Founded in 2014, ONU’s flagship product is ONU One, a 3D visualization platform that turns existing CAD data into interactive product presentations. ONU One takes CAD files and adds colors, textures, and lighting to build a lifelike, interactive representation of any product. What began as a mobile app for iOS or Android devices, ONU reached out to Clara.io in order to provide the web-based viewing solution for eCommerce Xenith required.

Xenith manufactures industry-leading football helmets; they offer a multitude of customization options on their products, from colors to different elements, like the facemask and chin cup. With so many options to choose from, the ability to see the final product online in rich detail is a huge service to the consumer.

Xenith wanted ONU to provide the infrastructure to accomplish real-time, 3D viewing during web ordering. The process of taking CAD data and transforming it into something for the web isn’t straightforward. First, models must be optimized for use online. ONU created the API for the customization functionality, to be able to change the color of different parts or replace parts with different ones. Once models have been prepared for online use, they need to be embedded online. Clara.io was the final piece to move Xenith’s helmets from CAD data to photorealistic, interactive 3D models.

Clara.io, is the wildly popular full-featured online 3D editing and viewing tool created by Exocortex, which allows users to create, animate, and render 3D content. ONU One relies on the Clario.io player to enable customers to interact with the helmet models.

The groundwork functionality is the Clara.io player, which Exocortex exposed to ONU One through their REST API. ONU One leverages the strengths of Clara.io’s web viewer to make Xenith’s products interactive and customizable in 3D. And when customizations were needed, Clara.io was very receptive.

In addition to changing features on the helmet, ONU created an explodable animation. This allows the consumer to explore the layers and detail that is put into each helmet — a view of the inner workings otherwise not visible without ONU One. Xenith has the highest rating for safety, and this important market differentiator is now an interactive feature integrated into their eCommerce.

As a result of this success, ONU is building a pipeline between Clara.io and ONU One to push CAD into Clara.io to prepare it for ONU One. Eventually, the seamless process from CAD models into Clara.io straight into ONU One’s mobile app would allow for a quick turnaround with less effort.

Working with Clara.io helped ONU to create an entirely new product that is now a powerful solution for eCommerce providers that wants to deliver a highly-realistic experience to their valued customers. Read our Ultimate Guide to Your Products in 3D on the Web for complete guide to creating 3D web experiences.

 

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