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MultiTouch Ltd. and [wire]stone Create Virtual Design Center for Acme Brick's Patina Stores

Century-Old Brick Company Reinvents Itself with Patina Floor Design Stores,Offering Unique Consumer Shopping Experiences (June 13, 2011)
DMN Newswire--2011-6-13--MultiTouch Ltd., developer of the world’s first modular multi-touch LCD screen for large-scale displays, and [wire]stone, an integrated digital marketing agency, today announced that the companies have created innovative, new visualization experiences for the new Patina Floor Design Stores from Berkshire Hathaway’s Acme Brick, the largest U.S. owned brick company.



Using MultiTouch’s 46-inch multi-user multitouch LCD displays, the Patina Floor Design Stores present an innovative virtual design center for the Patina stores, located in the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas area. The high-end flooring and tile stores enable customers to visualize how tile, carpet, granite, and hard wood would appear on their home floors. The MultiTouch displays feature Full HD resolution, which make the tile product even more appealing, and product information is literally offered in a hands-on display.



The first U.S. retail installation of the MultiTouch Advanced 46 Cell products includes a full cross-platform design approach, where customers can literally design their tile product at home, print it out with a 2D tag, bring it to one of the Acme stores and call up their designs on the MultiTouch displays. Customers and designers can also collaborate on, and share, their designs over the web in real-time with the MultiTouch displays, so that multiple people are manipulating the displays to retrieve and demonstrate images and video.



“With the opening of Patina, Acme is embracing a new market and creating a retail environment that is a first in the industry,” said Judy Hunter, Chief Financial Officer, Acme Brick. “One of our goals with Patina was to empower consumers by utilizing modern technology to create advanced visualization tools that take the guesswork out of a design project—allowing customers to confidently select a new surface for their home.”

Before Patina, Acme focused primarily on selling building materials such as brick and tile to construction companies, however, with the downturn of the housing market, it sought new areas for growth. Acme decided to establish a direct relationship with the consumer, building a concept around its tile products and expanding its offerings to include other materials, such as hardwood and carpet, for a full-service floor, counter and wall covering store. Patina stores have access to 12,000 SKUs available in a central warehouse and another 20,000 SKUs from suppliers.

The Patina showroom incorporates three visualization centers:

• The World of Patina multitouch experience enables customers to find products, learn more about their characteristics, locate them in the store, and view hundreds of room scenes for inspiration.
• The Floor Creator table provides customers with a 6 by 3 foot area to select and view their tile pattern, color, layout and grout color—it is even able to display the natural tile variation across a large surface area and within a room scene.
• A separate kitchen vignette contains a built-in, 65-inch, high-resolution display with an interactive Backsplash Gallery that allows customers to visualize more than 50 different backsplash designs and inspirational design boards. Customers control the experience using a separate touch display.

This virtual showroom supports Patina’s customer service, arming its sales associates with powerful tools to guide customers through the broad array of options, help them identify preferences and facilitate a purchase. In addition, customers can save selections, allowing them to give the purchase additional consideration and resume the buying process where they left off.

“The Acme Brick Patina stores are the first retail outlets to conceptualize multitouch installations for customer design interaction, and we are proud to be part of a new wave in collaborative retail shopping,” said Timo Korpela, general manager of MultiTouch Americas. “The Patina Store’s innovations will be seen as an important retail industry milestone as MultiTouch technology is exposed to larger audiences, first in retail and digital signage, and later, in people’s homes.”

“[wire] stone provides a unique combination of strategic, creative and technical talent to craft engaging digital experiences for the retail environment,” said Greg Rattenborg, [wire] stone executive director of emerging experiences. “In our emerging experiences practice, we are exploring new ways of moving digital experiences into everyday life. Together with Acme, we were able to apply the latest interactive technologies to help customers visualize and validate their design selections. The tools enhance customer interactions and differentiate Patina from other stores of its kind.”

[wire]stone has created a customized, configurable application – designed with Microsoft Windows 7 drivers - that can be installed in any Acme Brick store, and tailored to the layout and design of the individual location.

The MultiTouch displays enable Acme to integrate the displays with their back-end CRM and ERP systems for real-time product information, and greater operational efficiencies, including simultaneous development of applications, which can run at multiple stores.

MultiTouch’s Ltd. patented Computer Vision Through Screen technology, which reads at 120 frames per second in bright daylight or dark environments, is complemented by MultiTouch Cornerstone software that elegantly translates touch into the programming experience, creating multitouch displays that can read unlimited touch points, including hands, fingers, fingertips and 2D Markers. The products are ideal for broadcast, retail, advertising, exhibitions, museums, education and design.  

Introduced to the global market in 2009, the MultiTouch Cell product family has been sold in more than 40 countries.

Photos of the MultiTouch installation at the Patina Stores can be downloaded from http://multitouch.fi/about-2/photos/.

Please also visit the MultiTouch YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/multitouchfi. Please also visit www.twitter.com/multitouchfi for further MultiTouch updates.

About MultiTouch Ltd.

MultiTouch Ltd. designs and develops professional multitouch displays and software platforms.  Based on the company’s patented Computer Vision Through Screen technology, MultiTouch provides modular Full HD LCD displays (MultiTouch Cells) that can be integrated into any size table or wall configuration for multiuser environments.  MultiTouch’s Cornerstone software enables unlimited touch points, as well as both hand recognition and object recognition on Windows, Linux and OS X operating systems. MultiTouch products are currently in use in more than 40 countries around the world. MultiTouch Cells are used prominently in a wide variety of market segments, including retail, exhibition, museum, education, design, medical, marketing, and military use. The company is headquartered in Helsinki, Finland, with U.S. offices in Santa Clara, California and New York City. For more information, please visit the company web site at www.multitouch.fi.

About [wire]stone, LLC

About [wire] stone [wire] stone uses digital marketing to deliver touch points of power and beauty that surprise and engage audiences. Founded in 2000, [wire] stone serves some of the world’s largest and most recognizable brands, including Motorola, FTD, Microsoft, Boeing, ConAgra, HP, Nike and Intel. Through its 175 employees in six U.S. offices and one European office, [wire] stone is committed to delivering excellence in key practice areas that include strategy and planning; integrated digital marketing; emerging experiences; social engagement marketing; channel and sales enablement; and search and analytics. For more information visit www.wirestone.com.

About Acme Brick Company

Acme, the largest U.S. owned brick company, celebrated its 119th birthday on April 17, 2010.  Acme is a member of the Berkshire Hathaway family of companies headed by famed investor Warren Buffett.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: If you would like a color photograph of Timo Korpela, general manager of MultiTouch Americas, installation shots of the Patina Stores, or MultiTouch product or installation shots, please contact Chris Pfaff on +1-201-218-0262 or [email protected]



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Related Keywords:Acme Brick, Bershire Hathaway, Patina Stores, MultiTouch Ltd., LCD, multitouch display, Timo Korpela

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