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Your Business + Virtual Reality

Livestream collaboration lets designers walk clients through their designs

Sweden-based Configura announces a collaboration with Toronto-based Yulio to bring a mobile virtual reality experience to thousands of interior designers and customers around the globe for the cost of a $15 VR headset and a simple subscription service. Yulio is a DIY virtual reality platform for those in the business of designing spaces. The technology enables 3D designs to be turned into rich, immersive 360-deree VR experiences with just a few clicks. The VR experiences can be shared directly to clients’ smartphones or other devices for viewing. Livestream collaboration functionality lets designers walk and talk clients through their designs. “Democratizing VR and ‘baking it into the workflow’ is an extremely inexpensive way to improve the client experience,” Yulio’s founder and Managing Director Rob Kendal said Configura – known for its CET Designer space-planning software used by such global office furniture giants as Steelcase, Haworth and Herman Miller – partnered with Yulio to democratize the use of virtual reality in interior design. Yulio’s “3D to VR software” plugin – available as a CET Designer Extension – takes what was once a pricey proposition and makes it an affordable, easy and agile experience. The collaborative technology recently launched with the release of CET Designer 7.5. The Yulio Extension in CET Designer is free. The Yulio subscription service is as low as $20 per month for a single user account, which can enable virtually unlimited usage for dealerships. Yulio offers a free 30-day trial in which users can sign up online, download the Extension and immediately begin using Yulio. “The technology makes it so cost-effective and simple to use that you can’t afford not to use it,” says Configura Chief Product Officer Nicklas Dagersten.  

Democratizing design

Virtual reality is nothing new to the gaming and entertainment world where it first took off commercially. But VR is now spreading into all kinds of industries – including the interior design profession and particularly in the contract furniture market where customers want to experience their workspace before purchasing products. Until recently, VR in commercial interior design has been costly, with high-end VR headsets hovering around $600 USD. Meanwhile, Google Cardboard and Homido MINI products can be sourced for around $15 USD per headset. Software such as CET Designer in combination with Yulio enable an immersive experience that includes specific products and details – brands, colors, materials, lighting, flooring and accessories. “For an architect or designer, viewing an image of a 3D space may be enough to fully visualize the space. Yet this isn’t the case for many of their clients,” Kendal says. “Yulio and Configura bridge this communication gap – placing the customer directly into the VR design and creating certainty in what was previously often a guessing game.”  

How it works:

  1. An interior designer (or architect, specifier, salesperson, facilities manager, etc.) uses CET Designer to create a space in 3D, dragging and dropping actual office furniture products into place.
  2. When satisfied with the design, the designer renders the drawings using the Yulio Extension. The rendered output takes the form of a “cube map” and is automatically uploaded to the Yulio cloud.
  3. The designer shares the cube map with one click, directly to the client’s preferred viewing device – a smartphone, tablet or computer. The customer can view the space directly on the device as a 360-degree panoramic scene – what Yulio calls “fishbowl VR” – or enhance the experience with virtual reality by downloading the Yulio Viewer app (available for iOS, Android and Samsung Gear VR) to a smartphone, and then using the app in conjunction with a VR headset such as Google Cardboard or Homido MINI.
  4. The designer sees what the customer sees as they’re guided through the VR space. With remote collaboration functionality, designer and client can be anywhere in the world.

Live collaboration

Live collaboration is activated through Kendal explains: “It’s as easy as a designer saying to a customer over the phone, ‘Let me run some ideas by you.’ The designer gives the customer the Yulio URL, and is now able to facilitate a live collaboration where the host can see what the viewer is looking at. It allows is a fully moderated experience where the designer can walk clients through different parts of the design.” The technology works with Revit and other major industry CAD tools, which means entire buildings of designed space can be experienced in VR. Yulio’s technology also can be embedded on a user’s own website, where an entire portfolio of VR and fishbowl VR experiences can be shared with clients and potential clients. “We’re solving real business problems with a real-world tool that is available now,” Dagersten says. For designers who want to offer their clients the ability to literally “walk around” in a virtually designed space – down corridors, along hallways and so forth – there’s Configura’s Virtual Viewer VR. The Virtual Viewer VR Extension offers full support for the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset. Virtual reality for CET Designer was the first immersive, industry-wide VR solution introduced on the market that supports multiple manufacturers’ products and then allows the furniture buyer to virtually walk through their space before they purchase. CET Designer supports more than 100 manufacturers’ product lines through different Extensions.  

Better process, faster decisions

Firms who are already using VR report that it helps clients make design-related decisions in a fraction of the time that it would usually take them – in fact, shortening the design and collaboration process by up to 50 percent, according to Kendal. “Designers and their clients are using VR to predict design errors before a project actually begins construction, making for a much smoother construction phase,” he said. Some firms have taken their VR services one step further, building entirely new revenue streams based on this technology. For example, using Yulio’s technology, a Toronto-based design firm has begun creating VR designs to help clients of a major national real estate company visualize otherwise empty apartment spaces. Where the real estate company previously would have spent $50-$60 per square foot building actual model apartments, VR is a fast and economical alternative. According to Kendal, “Virtually all of the major architectural and design organizations are actively investigating and using VR technology. Of course, the ‘wow’ factor that comes with the medium is giving early adopters a critical advantage at this point – we’ve lost count at the number of ‘wins’ attributed to a pair of goggles.”   Learn more about how virtual reality is changing the architecture and design industry in this blog post by Yulio: Experience various Yulio demos here: View an example of an office space at View an example of a kitchen space at: Watch the video: Configura’s Kelsey DeBruin explains how Yulio works with CET Designer in this short video: Configura’s Kelsey DeBruin interviews Yulio Chief Product Officer Iain Hall and demos CET Designer and Yulio during a Facebook Live event on Thursday, Jan. 19, 11 a.m. ET at

Your Business + Virtual Reality
Until now, there has been no simple way to produce high-quality, stereoscopic cube maps from Rhino for Virtual Reality: until now. Yulio’s Rhino plugin allows Rhino users to create stereoscopic cube maps and export directly to Yulio, completely free of charge. See how it works here: Want the free Yulio for Rhino plugin? Start your free trial of Yulio at and download the plugin free.

Your Business + Virtual Reality

Virtual Reality and the Evolution of Communication

We design for humans—that’s no secret. But designing with humans is, arguably, a more difficult feat. Design, in most forms, is an isolated process, housed in the mind of a single creator, distinct from review sessions and feedback gathering. As technology has evolved, we’ve gotten better at communicating our vision to others: sketches became cartoon-like computer-generated images, which became photo-realistic 3D renderings.
The emergence of Virtual Reality technology in the A&D community is thus less of a revolution (as many will claim), and more of an evolution. Its advent hints at a future of design collaboration that sounds more like The People’s Church than a lone Adele-esque solo. Virtual Reality’s status as a design trend comes in second to its status as a communication trend. While the ability to visualize an image as a 3D space has traditionally set collaborators apart, Virtual Reality brings everyone to the discussion.
Leading the industry as a design communication tool, YulioVR plugs directly into an architect or designer’s established workflow (Revit, Max, SketchUp, you name it), turning 3D models into 3D spaces. With communication as the holy grail, Yulio connects team members and clients with live-stream conferencing, made possible by their steadfast dedication to the practical world of mobile VR.
The future is ours to design. Skeptics, hush: technology isn’t replacing human connection. It’s evolving it.

Your Business + Virtual Reality

Client Engagement, Part 3: Remote Collaboration

Once you’ve got your clients set up with their own headsets and they’re comfortable viewing VR independently, you can host remote collaboration sessions for quick discussions. Using a tool like Yulio’s Collaborate feature, you can invite a client to join you on their own device, wherever they are. You can guide them through your designs by seeing where they’re looking using this to initiate discussion. Remote collaboration allows you to cut down on travel and face-to-face time, meaning you’ll get quicker feedback and move things along faster. Quick warning! While it’s easy to become a little obsessed with new technology, make sure your technology doesn’t replace real human interaction. It’s important to meet with clients in person, and spend time a little time with the goggles off!   Interested in trying VR for free? Head to and start your free trial today.

Your Business + Virtual Reality

Client Engagement, Part 2

Early Design Collaboration

VR can be a highly effective communication medium in the early design stages of a project. It allows you to quickly do basic blocking and show your clients basic layouts. This will help them understand the space they’re working with right from the start, and it’ll help set you on the right track early on based on their feedback. It will also help them feel more involved in the process and not quite so lost—as floorplans and sketches have the tendency to do.

Final Decisions

As helpful as VR can be in the early stages of a design, it’s also a game-changer for decision-making in the last stages. With highly detailed, photo-realistic renderings, you can showcase the finished product to your clients in all its glory, and get much clearer feedback. Virtual Reality has been known to predict real-world construction errors before construction even begins. On top of this, presenting your final renderings in VR has the added benefit of helping your clients feel more reassured of the real-life design they’ll be getting, and be happier with the finished construction when everything’s finished.   Interested in trying VR for free? Head to and start your free trial today.

Your Business + Virtual Reality

Client Engagement, Part 1: Engage From Day 1

The best way to ease your clients into the world of VR and make the collaboration experience as rewarding as possible is to introduce them to VR in-person, with your own headset. Preferably, this will be on a higher-range headset (we recommend Samsung’s Gear VR) for an even more impressive first experience. After this introduction, you’ll have an easy entry point to set your clients up with their own headset. We suggest leaving them with a branded cardboard headset, and (if you’re using Yulio), instructions for downloading the Yulio Viewer app and how to view the designs you’ll be sending through. A handheld introduction to the world of VR like this will help your clients feel like they’ve got the tools to communicate better with you, be more involved in the design process, and have a stronger voice in important decisions. But what if my clients are resistant to VR? You may very well have clients who feel overwhelmed or even threatened by the thought of being expected to use VR technology. The best way to approach this resistance is to explain that you’re using VR technology to make it easier for them to understand your designs and your process. VR is, ultimately, for them—not you. Then, show them how easy it is to use and navigate by handing them a headset and walking them through the process.   Interested in trying VR for free? Head to and start your free trial today.

Your Business + Virtual Reality

Marketing, Part 3: Attracting Media Attention with VR

Virtual Reality is a buzzword right now—and one that you can seriously capitalize on. While VR is well-known for its use in the gaming and entertainment worlds, the story for professional and business use cases of VR is still yet to be told. Focus your story on how your business is giving clients the ultimate collaboration experience with VR, and the story will tell itself. As any marketer or business owner knows, getting your firm’s name out there is (almost) always a good thing. But getting your firm’s name out in association with VR technology is even better: it’s a surefire way to position your firm as an industry leader and technological innovator.  A reputation like this does more than simply steal attention from your competitors and draw in clients—it’s also instrumental in attracting top talent.   Interested in trying VR for free? Head to and start your free trial today.

Your Business + Virtual Reality

Marketing, Part 2: Publish and Share Your Work in VR

A share-friendly VR solution like Yulio will let you share VR experiences with a simple URL, through all your usual channels.


One major benefit of choosing a VR provider with a monthly subscription payment model like Yulio (rather than a pay-per-project model) is the ability to host a virtually unlimited number of projects permanently in VR. This means you’re able to showcase your entire existing portfolio in VR, rather than simply using VR as a presentation tool during collaborative projects. If your VR solution allows you to embed Virtual Reality experiences into your website (like Yulio) you’ll have a self-generating sales mechanism all-year round. Presenting your portfolio in VR on your website is guaranteed to make you stand out from your competitors and make your designs even more impactful for prospects.

Sharing: Social and Email

Another benefit of a sharing-friendly VR solution is that VR is no longer confined to your office headset—you can spread your designs across the world in seconds. For example, with Yulio, each Virtual Reality experience has its own unique URL, which is all you need to be able to share the experience with others, and allow them to view it on their own smartphone and headset. Better yet, you can share your projects even with those clients or team members who don’t have headsets, because of Yulio’s interactive browser display mode. A 360° or VR experience is always more engaging than a simple JPEG rendering of a design—and very simple to produce. Be sure to choose a VR solution that fully integrates with social media channels—for example, all Yulio project links embedded in Tweets will generate your project’s thumbnail—and we all know posts with images have much higher click-through-rates! The beauty of sharing your projects via social media and email is that you can track engagement with your designs through your analytics platforms. Combine this with viewer analytics such as those offered by Yulio and you’ve got powerful knowledge about which designs your audience connect with most.   Interested in trying VR for free? Head to and start your free trial today.

Your Business + Virtual Reality

Marketing, Part 1: Customize your VR Technology

Though VR is a natural sales tool, one of its biggest untapped potentials is as a powerful marketing machine. Of course, no one can predict what this technology will be capable of in even a few years’ time, but here are three things you can already do with VR technology to add a little more excitement to your marketing campaigns.


With new headsets entering the market every day, VR hardware is quickly becoming an inexpensive branding tool. Consider custom-branding VR headsets (a cost-effective option is custom-branded cardboard-style goggles) to leave behind with clients and prospects, to give out at events or at the office. A giveaway headset is much more impactful than a simple flyer—or worse—a branded pen: it’s the kind of thing that’ll be passed around the office or taken home. It’s also much more likely to be used or at least kept around for a while (rather than thrown straight in the trash).


While hardware is one half of the equation, the true VR experience happens inside your headset. When searching for a VR technology provider, be sure to choose one that allows you to whitelabel or customize its technology. For example, Yulio users can brand Virtual Reality Experiences and intermediary web pages with their company logo and promotional offers. Our aim at Yulio is to minimize our branding to make your firm’s branding front and center.   Interested in trying VR for free? Head to and start your free trial today.

Your Business + Virtual Reality

Showcase Your Portfolio

What better way to greet visitors to your office than with a powerful display of what you can do? With a VR solution like Yulio, you can set up a permanent VR display center (with live-streaming, auto-pan and connected hardware) to showcase your firm’s portfolio in VR. This is both a novel and engaging way to interact with prospects and introduce them to your firm’s work, or reinforce your abilities.

Showcase Similar Projects

We all know that your best persuasive tool is your work. This is where VR can seriously make an impression. If you’re meeting with a prospect and really want to impress them, hand them a headset pre-loaded with the projects they’ll find most impressive. Make sure you’re confident with the technology and can set it up smoothly—though a mobile VR solution like Yulio is very easy to use, be sure you’ve loaded the right projects in the right order, and all your software is up-to-date. The last thing you want is a technical glitch to ruin the experience! The best part? This isn’t just a one-off display to impress them. After they’ve taken off the headset, explain to them that this is the technology you’ll be using to collaborate with them throughout the design phases of their project. Better yet—when you say good bye, end on a positive note by leaving them with the headset. Sold.

Your Business + Virtual Reality
There’s never been an easy way to produce high-quality, stereoscopic cube maps from SketchUp for Virtual Reality: until now. Yulio’s SketchUp plugin allows SketchUp users to create stereoscopic cube maps and export directly to Yulio, completely free of charge. If you’re a V-Ray user, you’ll find that Yulio works seamlessly alongside V-Ray. If not, you’ll love Yulio’s high quality built-in ray-tracer. See how it works here:   Want the free Yulio for SketchUp plugin? Start your free trial of Yulio at and download the plugin free.

Your Business + Virtual Reality
If making sales relies on anything, it’s first impressions. These initial moments are your best opportunity to capitalize on the novelty and cool-factor of VR. From the early stages of attracting prospects, to the final stages of closing a deal, here are three ways you can use VR to pique your prospect’s interest and help you close the deal. SHOWCASE RECENT PROJECTS One major advantage of a mobile VR solution like Yulio is its portability. Your sales representatives can present your portfolio in the most impressive medium, wherever they are. When at events or out and about, a small mobile VR headset and a smartphone means you’ll never again have to say “you can see our portfolio on our website” or “I’ll send you some of our recent work when I’m back in the office.” Impress prospects with your recent work, straight from your pocket. And, as a bonus, a VR headset will always draw a crowd. Get ready for the line-up!   Interested in trying VR for free? Head to and start your free trial today.

Your Business + Virtual Reality
In an era with more solutions than problems, there’s no shortage of ways to improve your business. If you’re a conscientious business owner or executive, you’re constantly testing new tools and techniques. Whether it’s social media activity, website optimizations, customer engagement campaigns, or sales workshops, there’s a million ways to do better business. This blog series will focus on Virtual Reality, and how architects and interior designers can use this technology to change the way they work with clients, improving communication and collaboration, and giving clients an entirely new design experience. While Virtual Reality (VR) is easy to dismiss as “just another technology” or digital toy to accessorize your smartphone, it’s so much more than that. At its core, VR is about giving people—your clients, prospects, and even your team—an experience. Its innate humanness makes it the ultimate delivery mechanism that will add value to your exchanges at any stage of the business cycle. Virtual Reality is exciting and attention-grabbing (and this can certainly be an advantage for progressive businesses), but as business owners and executives interested in improving our businesses, we need to look past this noise. This focus will be even more crucial when the industry moves past its currently early adopter phase and VR technology becomes less of a novelty. Architects and interior designers need to leverage VR technology to continually add value, long after that first “wow” moment. This blog series will teach you how to add more value to your clients with VR technology, and ultimately, how to monetize this added value. Though VR won’t necessarily fit into any single area of your business, we’ve segmented this guide to demonstrate how VR can make a difference in:
  1. Sales;
  2. Marketing; and
  3. Client engagement.
Follow along with this blog series to learn more about using VR to improve these areas of your business. Interested in trying VR for free? Head to and start your free trial today.

Everything Else, Your Business + Virtual Reality
Most of the attention that today’s Virtual Reality technology gets is focused on its uses in the gaming and entertainment world. But any architect or interior designer who’s half awake knows that the A&D community is in the middle of a VR revolution: and it’s not over yet. Here are three ways VR is changing our industry already. Who knows what’ll be next?  

New client experience

The way your clients experience the collaboration process will be unlike they’ve ever experienced before. Instead of attempting to visualize their project from a piece of paper, they’ll know exactly what you’ve got in mind and exactly what they’re getting prior to construction. This reduces hesitation, improves their decision-making abilities and makes them feel a lot more comfortable about the process–which, for most non-designers, can be an intimidating one. Being able to place your clients in your designs, and guide them through the entire experience with tools like Yulio’s collaboration feature, is a first-class experience they can’t help but love. But with new experiences come new expectations. Once your clients have experienced VR-assisted collaboration, nothing else will compare. Next time around, you can be sure there’s one thing they’ll be asking for.  

New services = new revenue stream

With new technology comes new opportunities for adding value to clients–and, well, making money. Take one of our clients–a major Canadian design firm–who use Yulio to offer a service they’d never been able to offer before. The firm created a new service offering and revenue stream entirely around designing ‘virtual’ designs for empty units for sale by a one of Canada’s top 10 national real estate companies. Before this, the real estate company was spending $50-$60 per square foot to construct a real-life demo unit. So, their new virtual demo arrangement is a win for both parties. And can you guess who the buyers turn to when it’s time for real design work?  

Everything Else, Your Business + Virtual Reality
To most of us, Virtual Reality is interesting–but intimidating. The most common objections we get from architects and designers usually stem from fear: “I’m not technical–how will I know how to use VR? Will everyone on my team be able to learn this technology? What about my clients?” A mobile-powered VR platform like Yulio solves all of the above, and more.

Converting from CAD to VR

Converting to VR from  your authoring environment is simple with VR CAD plugins, and requires virtually no extra work. Just render your 3D environment with the plugin specific to your CAD tool, and you’ve got everything you need to upload to Yulio.

File Management

Once you’re ready to upload, it gets even easier. Yulio’s file management system is as simple as it gets: if you know how to use Dropbox (or a computer, really), you know how to manage your files in Yulio.  

Viewing in VR

Viewing your VR files is as simple as downloading the free Yulio Viewer app to your smartphone and connecting it to your Yulio account. Any time you want to view a design in VR, just click ‘View in VR’ on and it’ll be sent to your phone. This makes the process of handing a headset to a client smooth and painless. Once they’re immersed in VR, you’ll be able to guide them through a space using Yulio’s live-stream Collaborate feature, giving your client an impressive (but not overwhelming) experience.

Your Clients

At the end of the day, clients are your top priority. You’ll no doubt want to make sure their VR experience is enjoyable and hassle-free. That’s why Yulio is designed for you and your clients. If your client wants to view VR designs in their own smartphone, all they’ll need is the app and your design’s special URL, which you can share with them in seconds. The best part about the simplicity of mobile-powered VR is that it comes at no cost to sophistication–or power. Even with a simple smartphone and a pocket-sized headset, the reactions VR elicits are one of a kind. Give it a try–you’ll be surprised how easy it is.  

Everything Else, News and Updates, Your Business + Virtual Reality
We’ve got something exciting to announce: you can now view 360 photos in Yulio! If you’re a Yulio user, check out our Knowledge Base article for more technical information and a guide on using the feature. Why should you use 360 photos? In the same way that a 2D image of an architectural rendering is nothing like experiencing that same rendering in Virtual Reality, viewing a 360 photograph is an entirely new experience: it’s captivating, fully immersive, and communicates better than anything how it really feels to be in a space. Your only competitor? Brick and mortar. Our clients use Yulio’s 360 photo capabilities in a number of ways:
  • Showcasing before and after photos in portfolios
  • Showcasing before photos with ‘after’ renderings
  • Presenting spaces off-site, without the need to for either party to travel
It’s early days, but 360 photography–and the entire Virtual Reality industry–is proving itself to be incredibly valuable for the A&D community (and their clients!). Ready to give it a go? Sign up for a free 30-day trial of Yulio’s Virtual Reality software today.

Everything Else, News and Updates, Your Business + Virtual Reality
There’s no denying it: the world is getting smaller. The technology we use on a daily basis is getting smaller as it gets better. With the wearable revolution, the rise of the tablet and the increasing preference for phones over computers, our world is going micro. keep reading

Everything Else, Your Business + Virtual Reality

Though virtual reality is a new tool for many, Yulio’s easy-to-use technology is designed for use by the whole team–from VPs, to designers, to the sales team.

“Conference room, now!”

It’s a good idea to introduce your new VR technology to the whole company before you begin. Explain why you’re using it, and the benefits it will bring to the entire team.

Outline how it will be used within the company, and assign roles and responsibilities to various team members.

Above all, make sure they know that this is designed to make their jobs easier, not harder. It’s hard to argue with that.

Side note: If they haven’t tried it until now, make sure you put a headset on them! If there’s one way to get people excited about VR, it’s letting them try it.

Use Yulio’s user management capabilities

It’s easy to set up your team in Yulio. You’ll need a Standard or Plus account, and admin rights to invite, delete and assign roles to users.

You can assign a user to one of three roles: admin, author, and presenter.

Give admin rights to your in-house VR champion–this gives them full capabilities within Yulio, including the ability to manage users.

For your architects, designers and 3D modellers, author rights are your best bet. This gives them control over file management, but not user management.

For your salespeople or team members who’ll only need to select and present VR experiences for viewing, presenter rights are what you need. They’ll be able to navigate through your files, and view the files they need, without making any changes within the system.

With your team’s roles designated within Yulio, we think  you’ll find working with Yulio a lot smoother.

For a detailed explanation on assigning user roles, check out our article on the Yulio Knowledge Base about this.

Get them comfortable

Don’t throw your team into the deep end. Although Yulio is designed with grandma-tested simplicity, it’s still new technology, and your team will inevitably have their inhibitions about it.

Make sure they’re comfortable with how it works before they start using it (this is particularly important for client-facing team members).

Let them know that any problems they have can be directed to our friendly support staff at and 416-499-2227. Of course, there’s always our trusty Knowledge Base if you’re looking for some quick self-help.


Everything Else, Your Business + Virtual Reality

So you’ve just stepped into the world of virtual reality, and you’re quickly discovering what an amazing business tool it can be. Oh, and how straightup cool it is. But if you’re wondering how to make virtual reality a more integrated part of your brand and service offering, here’s a few tips to get you started. keep reading


Everything Else, Your Business + Virtual Reality

Ultimately, there are two things you’ll need to consider when buying a virtual reality (VR) headset for the first time: cost, and quality.

While there are dozens of headsets out there, and more joining the market every day (a quick Google search will leave you feeling more than a little overwhelmed), here are a few classics we recommend for first-timers.*

keep reading