Milan, 22 July 2020 - Ferroli, historic Veronese company active in the air conditioning and heating sector, announces a strategic partnership with Microsoft Italy and Hevolus and presents the new MixedReality@Ferroli project. It intends to re-design the customer experience, enhancing the sales network and support services through new technologies. Thanks to the advice of the partner Hevolus Innovation and leveraging on Microsoft Azure Cloud Computing and the Mixed Reality of HoloLens, Ferroli has created an innovative "Mixed Reality Store" to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Ferroli Partners network working with end consumers - from the offer and design phase of the solution that best suits the needs of the end-user, both residential and professional, to the installation phase, up to the maintenance of the products.
Together with Microsoft and Hevolus, Ferroli has developed an avant-garde digital transformation project capable of responding to the challenges of the sector, characterized by a great variety of solutions with various weight and dimensions that are difficult to show on-site, as well as requiring particular expertise for installation and subsequent maintenance operations. The MixedReality@Ferroli digital platform integrates the various technological solutions developed over the years by Ferroli aimed at improving the installers' ability to offer air conditioning systems and boilers in line with the needs of individuals and with the constraints of domestic/commercial spaces, while at the same time optimizing after-sales support and assistance activities to ensure an optimal product life cycle and higher consumer satisfaction. Ferroli's new "Mixed Reality Store" leverages the Microsoft HoloLens 2 holographic headset and the augmented and mixed reality holograms developed by Hevolus to remotely support customers and professionals while choosing how to configure new air conditioning solutions or replace their old boiler.
"Innovation has always been part of our DNA, and we focus on new technologies to develop modern products and in step with the needs of the time. In this case, innovation has also proved to be strategic to develop new services leading to a benefit for our network of installers and our customers.
Cloud Computing and Mixed Reality will allow us to live up to our promise to offer ever smarter comfort. Thanks to the advice of Hevolus and Microsoft technology, we aim to renew the customer journey, enabling a more engaging and safer shopping experience, minimizing physical interactions in the user's home in the pre-sales phase and making ordinary and extraordinary maintenance activities more efficient for optimal performance of our air conditioning systems and boilers ", says Riccardo Garrè, CEO of the Ferroli Group.
Through shared sessions of augmented reality and thanks to the potential of Azure Cognitive Services, the Ferroli Partner in charge gets in contact with the customer, virtually visits the intervention site, detects physical and dimensional constraints of the location, and then shows digital 3D projections (digital twin) of the most suitable products, directly installed on the wall instead of the previous air conditioning solutions or the old boiler.
The customer experience is therefore enriched by exploiting the power of Artificial Intelligence and Mixed Reality, involving the customer in a more emotional and interactive way while choosing these technical products that, however, also involve an essential value in terms of design and functionality. Once the proposal for the end customer has been configured, the MixedReality@Ferroli system allows the Ferroli Partner to proceed with the order of the selected product. If necessary, the professionals involved in the most complex installations can be guided via virtual involvement of a Ferroli Technical Support Engineer.
The new Mixed Reality Store supports the sharing of notes, images, 3D model animations, technical data sheets and assembly instructions, thus making the front-line operator totally autonomous in carrying out any type of intervention on the machine.
“Ferroli has brought design into the Italian air conditioning and heating sector and now, together with Microsoft and Hevolus, demonstrates how new technologies can positively impact even the most traditional sectors of Made in Italy, allowing you to re-think the customer experience, from the selection of the product up to maintenance, to obtain a competitive advantage and open new growth areas. Microsoft Cloud Computing is a great ally because it allows you to develop scalable services according to your needs and to leverage computational skills capable of analyzing large amounts of data to perfect products and services. Moreover, Mixed Reality proves to be a strategic tool to increase the capabilities of Ferroli's experts: thanks to HoloLens and the scenarios developed by the partner Hevolus, it was possible to create the Mixed Reality Store, creating a new channel of interaction with customers, and maximize the potential of the installers’ network with a widespread benefit across the entire supply chain, "said Giacomo Frizzarin, Director of the Small, Medium and Corporate Division of Microsoft Italy.
At the same time, the new "Mixed Reality Store" by Ferroli intends to offer an additional element to improve the customer journey, which does not end with the purchase but continues throughout the entire life cycle of the product. Through a holographic application for smartphones and tablets, developed by Hevolus starting from Microsoft Azure Cloud Computing, customers will be able to check the operating status of the system easily and autonomously proceed to solve any problems under the guidance of experts who are connected remotely in a peer-to-peer meeting in augmented reality. Furthermore, when wearing Microsoft HoloLens 2 technical support staff will be able to easily retrieve instructions and 3D models useful to repair, without abandoning the real context of the work and communicating with the experts in real-time and hands-free, through the holographic projection enabled by the headset. In this way, Ferroli aims to optimize maintenance activities by quickly solving even the most complex problems and also to safely collect useful data for statistical analyses to improve not only the support activities but also the products themselves, contributing to the industry innovation.
“We are proud we collaborated with Ferroli on this crucial digital transformation project. Thanks to Microsoft technology, the company keeps on going on its path towards innovation and will benefit from important efficiencies. MixedReality@Ferroli is based on cloud services and is fully scalable to lead the organization on a flexible growth path. As a matter of fact, the technologies used allow the construction, maintenance and update of the library of virtual objects to be managed quickly and safely. The solution allows the end-user to remotely view the Ferroli virtual store in augmented reality and the Network Ferroli Partners to continue to create quality relationships with customers and visitors of the store, even remotely, supporting them in choosing the item that is most suitable for its context as well as in the after-sales assistance and maintenance of the system. Furthermore, thanks to the data collection system, Ferroli has immediate access to the insights of the sessions and can use the behavioural data collected to better profile the customer in compliance with the highest security and privacy standards ", concluded Antonio Squeo of Hevolus Innovation, Microsoft Worldwide Mixed Reality Partner.