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[Expert Series] The Current State of 3D Product Configuration

The current state of visual configuration and Augmented Reality (AR) are some of the top trends changing how manufacturers do businessBut how does visualization change how you sell to your customers, or how does it save time for your engineers? These are important questions to ask before you dive into 3D product configuration. 

Luckily for you, we sought the expert opinion of Tacton’s Senior Visualization Product Manager, Marco Lang. Marco brings more than a decade of experience working with Lumo Graphics and Tacton.

Let’s start out with an easy one: What is 3D Product configuration/visual configuration 

Visual Configuration is a tool that empowers sales representatives as well as the end customers to sell or buy a product on their own by making use of different visualization technologies. This ranges from simple and static “2D” images simply displaying the current configuration, over 3D real-time visualizations allowing to intact with the product and configure it more naturally, to AR/VR use cases making the whole sales experience more immersive and tangible for all participants by displaying it in real-life environments. 

What is the problem without having a visual configurator in your sales toolbox?  

Without visuals, products are left to the imagination of customers, so their expectations may not be met when the final product rolls off your assembly line. Now more than ever it’s critical to showcase your products in better ways than just a text description. The new B2B buyer won’t wait for you to make a product with errors, they will move on to another business who can fill their needs.  

Most manufacturing sales cycles are long, how can visualization shorten this journey?  

Seeing is much faster than reading (human brains process visuals 60,000 times faster than they do text, University of Minnesota) or giving a verbal explanation of the product. What You See Is What You Get. Miscommunication is significantly reduced, and the agreement is achieved much quicker. With visuals, your customers will be able to truly engage with their product. They can build something that is branded specifically for the different facets of their industry. Emotions are a powerful motivator, the look and feel of a product in a customer’s environment will help them realize how they will use it. You are able to reduce the need for physical examples in the field as well if speeding up the long sales cycle. 

Visualization helps my sales team, but how does it help my engineering team?  

Visualization creates a mutual understanding between your sales team and your customers. Once a product has been visually configured, even the smallest details aren’t missed. Now that your sales team and customer agree upon the design your engineers will get a product that doesn’t miss any detail, big or small. Engineering can now concentrate on solving the more complex design questions and leave the “basic” product visualization task to the Visual Configurator. Simplifying the complex configuration process with visuals mitigates the risk of combination errors, saving you time and money. 

How does visual configuration and AR enhance my customers’ experience?  

Buyers are visual by nature, no one wants to purchase a product sight unseen, so why wouldn’t you offer them the visuals they deserve? 3D interaction is the natural way of experience products in real life, no more guessing games. AR immerses customers with your product by allowing them to see the design, look and feel of a product, something that plays a critical role in the sales pitch. And verifying the design and dimensions of a product in the real-life spot where it will be placed later on is making the buying and configuration process much more valuable. 

Lastly, how does Visual Configuration fit into Tacton CPQ?  

Tacton Visual Configuration is fully integrated with Tacton’s advanced CPQ software. This integration helps accelerate the entire product configuration process through visually supported communication. The first step to selling your product is with visuals that capture the imagination of the buyers. We did it for example with MAN Truck & Bus and we can do it with your business. 

Bonus question: A lot of people are interested in digital twin technology, so what is it?  

A Digital Twin is a virtual representation of a physical product. It is typically used across the entire lifecycle of a product from engineering/design all way through training and maintenance. Therefore, it can be used for different purposes from testing, validation, prediction, simulation, analysis. For our visual configuration solution, we are using a Digital Twin as well. It is called a 3D real-time Digital Twin. A visual representation of the real-world product tailored to be used for supporting the configuration of a high variant product in real-time. 

That’s it for the latest Expert Series Chat, we’d like to thank Marco for his time and expertise about the current state of visual configuration. If you’re interested in learning more schedule your demo today or check out our Guide to Visualization: Seeing is Believing: Envision the Future of Manufacturing Sales 

Author: Michael Brassea