Zebra Athletics is the world’s leading outfitter of training facilities with more than 750,000 mats sold worldwide.
The company has been outfitting gyms and studios with high-end mats and equipment for over 20 years.
Even with success, the company still finds it a challenge to present complex, special, multi-room designs to customers.
It's common practice for outfitters like Zebra Athletics to bring physical product samples, display photography, and hand out catalogs at trade shows.
This year Zebra Athletics is leading the industry by adopting interactive, immersive, and visual technology to revolutionize how it presents, educates, and sells its line of (mats, padding, cages, bags, and racks) products to MMA, tactical combative and yoga facilities.
Zebra Athletics recently unveiled its 3D room configurator at the Martial Arts SuperShow in Las Vegas. In its 20'x20' booth, attendees were invited to explore three premier mixed martial arts training centers used by UFC and Bellator fighters in virtual reality. This immersive experience provided users with a first-person point of view on how Zebra products look inside various rooms with unique sizes and dimensions.
After the show, I caught up with Zebra Athletics President, Kyle Fisher, to hear how interactive visualization and virtual reality have impacted Zebra's message. Here are Kyle's thoughts on using Axonom's Powertrak 3D Product Configurator with floor space planning, and Powertrak VR Product Configurator.
1. How does Zebra typically showcase its products at trade shows?
Traditionally, Zebra Athletics has used a combination of catalogs, samples, full-size products, and facility photography.
2. Why did Zebra use virtual reality at the Martial Arts SuperShow 2018?
We wanted to accomplish two things.
First, it was important to deliver our full catalog of equipment in a new, exciting and more interactive method. Just thumbing through a catalog or listing all of the products is old school and boring.
Allowing the customer to "discover" what we make and who we work with is a fun and cutting edge approach.
Secondly, we wanted facility owners to have the best chance to be successful. Part of that is being happy and confident in your design.
It's reassuring to see that your equipment is being placed in the proper locations for your needs or your customers' needs, and also selecting the best color combinations for your aesthetic.
Owning and operating a small business is difficult and stressful enough, our goal is to make the design process easy and fun.
3. In what way(s) does 3D visualization and VR help in the education and demonstration process on the trade show floor?
For many people, special configurations are a difficult concept to grasp. In a small room it's easier, but when you are designing and building multi-room, multidiscipline facilities - this is tough.
Virtual Reality allows customers to see various products, in different rooms, in actual relationships to the customer and to the facility. Classic 3D CAD drawings or renderings still can not match this level of realism or effect. Being able to change your perspective to that of a child allows you to design a facility that will be functional and welcoming to all of your customers.
"By suggesting and placing additional products, or even better allowing your customer to place new products into a design, really helps with upselling and adding incremental revenues to each project."
Interactively Design Multi-room Layouts with Powertrak 3D CPQ and Explore in Virtual Reality
4. What was the reaction from the audience? Is VR an effective tool?
I think UFC fighter Daniel Cormier (current Light Heavyweight and Heavyweight Champion, the only person to hold both titles at the same time) had the best reaction. When he saw his kids wrestling room new design for the first time, he was so excited. He took video with his cell phone to send home and post online.
Everyone who had experienced virtual reality marveled at its immersive and realistic feel. Even those who haven't used the HTC VIVE Pro before were able to navigate on their own after only a few seconds of assistance.
5. How does Zebra plan to use 3D visualization and virtual reality going forward?
Moving forward, we plan to have more home gym and garage gym layouts ready to show customers. We want to schedule time with potential clients to design the gym in real-time, so they can make adjustments on-the-fly after each "walk through." We plan on adding our entire catalog to showcase the full breadth of our abilities, and to use it to approach new markets we currently don’t serve.