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Celebrating fourteen years of visual sales

We at VividWorks recently celebrated the company’s 14th birthday in the way one typically celebrates – with birthday cake, coffee and a friendly chat with co-workers.

A lot has changed since our days as a startup and we’ve grown up into a company that can stand on its own and forge our own path. But have you heard our story that stretches around the world?

From vision to VividWorks

VividWorks was founded in 2006 in Oulu, Finland, by three passionate techies with extensive experience developing web-based 3D solutions. Since then, the focus has been on offering innovative visual sales solutions to manufacturers and retailers within a wide range of industries.

Jorma Palo, Henrikki Saraspää, Miska Visuri and Jani Parviainen were in Silicon Valley at the turn of the millennium, where they had been developing and launching 3D Webtools since 1998. In the following year, 1999, the tool was featured as the Best of Show for Web3D based online configurator tools, at Internet World in Los Angeles.

After returning home, the four Finns decided to make novel use of their experiences: Internet connections and computers had reached the stage where they could support cloud-based solutions. VividWorks was founded with the aim of getting the most out of 3D technology in support of sales work to elevate the buying and selling experience.

Open-mindedness combined with a professional skillset brought quick results despite the company opting to begin development from the challenging visual configuration side. As a departure from the dominant CAD world, a web-based approach enabled continuous use and distribution. The goal was a solution which provided customers with a real-time image of the sold product and its various options.

They initially chose to focus on furniture, due to their experience in the sector, and quickly built a new customer base for their innovation. Because of Finland’s relatively limited market, VividWorks soon sought demand from further afield in Denmark, Sweden and Italy. These countries had a flourishing furniture industry, but 3D technology had yet to be introduced in the sales process. Some customers were surprised when told where the men presenting the new technology came from: technology expertise from the chilly north had not yet made its mark in Central Europe.

Always forward

When introducing technological solutions, the challenge often lies in the customer’s soaring hopes and demands. However, it was soon noted that the kinds of solutions which VividWorks could provide were beyond the wildest imaginations of its first customers. The company had to ‘preach’ the good news about the new technology and then demonstrate its potential.

R&D was done in close cooperation with customers right from the start, when the 3D visualization technology was integrated with the customers’ sales processes in small steps. The approach was initially product-specific, enabling the sale of mass-tailored products, such as modular shelf systems, in the form of assemblies created according to the customer’s wishes. New features, dynamic price lists and other connections in support of product sales were added in stages. The cornerstone and main goal were a Platform approach and software integration as part of sales systems and processes. A modular Platform architecture held the door open to keeping abreast of developments in emerging visualization technologies and devices — tablets and headsets were just around the corner.  Support for Augmented Reality and iPad was launched in 2010, well ahead of commercial demand that followed in the coming years.

Riding the wave of development in the rapidly changing technology market is challenging, but VividWorks has kept its finger on the pulse and followed events closely from the outset. In the early days, both 3D related technology and furniture-sector trade fairs were a key sales channel and means of keeping up with the latest developments.

VividWorks had already decided to use this technology wherever it might benefit the customer’s business activities and exceed the customer’s expectations of what was possible. AR technology was already on the scene and raising customer interest by 2009, but although its commercial adaptation was hard to see back then, the interest alone was opening doors leading to a global presence with customers in US, Japan and all the way to Australia. VR, MR and XR have followed strongly in the wake of AR, enabling virtual products demos and user experiences in genuine user environments.

Innovation is everything

In the continuously changing technology industry, VividWorks has an impressive pedigree as a pioneer and has no intention of standing still. Because 3D solutions and various design programs are already mainstream in sales processes, all eyes are on industry, where 3D and XR offer new opportunities for b2b sales and, via Visual CPQ and digital twins, in post-design and post-sales functions such as training and maintenance.

Over the years, VividWorks has also gained a strong foothold in the challenging Japanese market, where the use of new technology is a key element in boosting companies’ competitiveness.

Visualization has been part of VividWorks’ solutions since the beginning, and its importance has only grown. With a growing demand for an immersive user experience to experience products and services plus real-time communication with companies’ back-office systems, the soaring confidence that VividWorks solutions provide sales processes is certain now and in the future.

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