Lowe’s partners with NVIDIA and Magic Leap to create an interactive digital twin of its stores

Lowe’s partners with NVIDIA and Magic Leap to create an interactive digital twin of its stores
Photo : Lowe's

Lowe’s, a chain of home improvement stores in the U.S. and Canada, unveiled at NVIDIA’s GTC the industry’s first interactive digital store twin, which it is currently testing in two of its stores – in Mill Creek, Washington and Charlotte, North Carolina. Leveraging the NVIDIA Omniverse Enterprise platform and Magic Leap 2 to visualize and interact with a store’s digital data, this digital twin is expected to enhance both the employee and customer experience.

The first Lowe’s store, a hardware store, opened in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina, in 1921. Now based in Mooresville, N.C., the company has grown into one of the world’s largest retailers of home improvement products, with more than 1,700 stores in the U.S. and more than 450 in Canada, and 300,000 employees. A fortune 50 company, it conducts nearly 19 million customer transactions per week in the U.S. and Canada.

AI, 3D visualization and augmented reality (AR) to reinvent retail

Lowe’s is an innovative company. In addition to its Lowe’s Innovation Labs, it was one of the first retailers to introduce virtual reality to mainstream shoppers in 2014 with a holoroom and a pioneer in the use of retail robotics in stores. It is invested in emerging technologies to make the home improvement experience simpler and more intuitive and recently launched a LiDAR-based experience called Measure Your Space, which helps customers scan, measure and estimate their projects via the Lowe’s app.

Built by its Lowe’s Innovation Labs team, this digital twin is a virtual replica of a physical store, created in NVIDIA’s Omniverse environment. It merges spatial data with other Lowe’s data, including product location and historical ordering information, and brings all of these sources together in a visual package that can be accessed on a range of devices, from desktop computers to Magic Leap 2 augmented reality headsets.

Magic Leap 2 is a very lightweight enterprise AR headset, which allows users to wear it for quite a long time without any problems, it is currently the only device on the market with a 70° field of view.

Augmented reality replenishment and “x-ray vision”

By wearing a Magic Leap 2 headset, store employees can interact with the digital twin. Specifically, they see a hologram of the digital twin superimposed on top of the physical store, allowing them to compare what a store shelf should look like to what it actually looks like and thus ensure that it is stocked with the right products in the right configurations.

On the other hand, they can communicate and collaborate with centralized store planners via AR. For example, if they notice an improvement that could be made, they can report it on the digital twin with an AR “post-it”.

Finally, one of the benefits of the digital twin and the Magic Leap 2 headset is the ability to explore “X-ray vision.” Employees can collect and display information about hidden items on hard-to-reach shelves using Lowe’s computer vision and inventory application programming interfaces, so they no longer have to climb a ladder to get it.

Optimize the in-store experience

The digital twin visualizes sales performance and customer traffic data to optimize the in-store experience using 3D heat maps and distance measurements of frequently purchased items together.

Using historical order and product location data, Lowe’s can also leverage AI avatars created by Omniverse and Lowe’s Innovation Labs to simulate the distances customers or employees must travel to find products purchased together. On the other hand, employees can test changes to product placements in Omniverse to find optimal locations for products.

Lowe’s also announced at GTC 2022 that it will open up some of its virtual 3D product catalog, used to power its digital twin, to Omniverse users in the coming weeks to help them create new possibilities in their applications for retail and beyond.

Translated from Lowe’s s’associe à NVIDIA et Magic Leap pour créer un jumeau numérique interactif de ses magasins