Your client’s expectations shift thanks to IKEA

You can now showroom-style browse IKEA’s furniture selection from the comfort of your own home on your latest smartphone.  The app automatically scales the furniture to fit your room with 98% accuracy, sufficient detail to see texture, and automatically adjusts shading to accommodate lighting.

The move is significant for a lot of reasons.  It will impact future online sales and retail space, surely, but it is most significant because the app sets expectations.  Your clients now expect an extremely high level of confidence in a product before they buy and they expect they can have that confidence in the palm of their hand.

Augmented Reality (AR) is the future of architecture, interior design, and construction.  If it wasn’t on your radar for this year, IKEA’s move may make you reconsider.

Luckily, AR is still relatively new and is only now beginning to have an impact in manufacturing, engineering, and construction.  Your business can take advantage of IKEA’s move if you act quickly.

IKEA’s app pushes forward the adoption of the technology by bringing AR into our personal lives as consumers and users.  It creates familiarity, sets expectations, and establishes a firm competitive advantage for the company.  Your advantage is that the technology is readily available and friendly.  Smartphones are already in everyone’s pocket and training is almost non-existent.  No additional cables, peripherals, or futuristic helmets – everything comes standard with the latest iPhone or Android.  It’s an ultra low-cost way to lead your field.

The simplicity of integration into your business means a quick and successful adoption.  As the technology continues to mature, your business will be poised to take advantage of the latest breakthroughs.  Now is when augmented reality can yield the greatest return for your business and is, thus, the perfect time to invest to transform your business.

Should you have any questions about AR in your business or how to use technology to free up your team to do work that matters, Sherwood Chamberlain is here to help.  Leave a comment, send us an email at or contact us.  We’d love to hear from you.

Ditch typing, focus on your message

You probably don’t type as fast as you talk. Lucky you. The world we live in doesn’t require you to learn how to type. It’s one less act of rote memorization, one less barrier between you and what matters: your message.

There are times when typing is better than talking, of course. For instance, in a really noisy space or a quiet one. That being said, I did write this article while walking next to a busy street and, later, while I was in the office with the only other sound being the keyboard next to me. When I ask my business partner if my ramblings bothered him, he replied, “Huh?”

There are times when talking is better, too. For instance, when you’re on the go or you want to free your hands. Walking while you craft emails or blogs can be huge for your health. When you’re trying to lay out instructions for someone, you can do the actions yourself while you narrate the instructions.

For me, the best part about talking over typing has been that it forces me to think through my words carefully before committing them to “paper.”  When I’m not clear on exactly what I want to say, I get instant feedback: dead air, run-on sentences, slurred words. It’s hugely embarrassing, but it helps me to hone my message.

The next time you tell yourself you’ll go to the gym right after you finish this one email, pull out your phone or tablet, leave your desk, and talk it out. Welcome to the future!


Vague goals don’t protect you

Your goal must be clear if you want the right help. You can be ‘healthy’ with the help of a nutritionist, Yogi, psychologist, or surgeon. More often than not, when I meet a potential client for the first time, their goal is vague – “more security” or “I just want it to work” – and they would like a quote for the solution.

I get it. For most people, sales is an opportunity to upsell or justify a markup. As a technology partner, the sales process is the core of the product. We are judged by our ability to clarify the goal and develop a custom solution. If you’re sitting in a meeting looking for a technology partner, this is the product demo.

Youmust be willing to try the product (share information, get into an argument). Otherwise, you’ll find yourself on the operating room table when what you wanted was the couch.

Are you fixing ‘the’ problem?

When you’re short and can’t reach the top shelf, disorganized items that slide off at the slightest touch is a feature. Orderly, straight rows would never budge. The shelf becomes useless. The user’s experience is much more important than what we perceive to be right. As technologists, it’s our responsibility to design the solutions that fit our clients, not some preconceived notion of what is best.

Virtual blueprints change the Construction industry

Virtual blueprints grant designers, engineers, and clients an opportunity to explore new designs and hone-in on what the client wants to a degree previously unknown.  Using Building Information Modeling (BIM) and Augmented Reality, developers, engineers, and clients can move through and interact with the space before it’s built.  The result is fewer mistakes and faster installations..

What is BIM:  An introduction (Video)

Experience when and where you need it

One area that BIM with Augmented Reality is making an impact is in remote support, which allows you to leverage your expertise anywhere around the world.  The video below demonstrates a use case where what is being seen in real life in real-time is layered with BIM and help from an overseas engineer.  What’s important is that the on-site engineer is hands-free, the remote engineer not only sees what he sees, but is able to markup the image to ensure both parties are on the same page.

Engineers solve a problem in real-time, combining what the on-site engineers sees, blueprints show, and interactive markups from the remote engineer

Flagging and tagging design elements

One of the more straightforward problems BIM solves is properly identifying objects and assets.  A simple picture on-site can be taken and then scanned against design elements to help the on-site builder ensure compliance, take an accurate inventory, or proceed with the next appropriate step.

augmented reality

Rendering of what to objects can be worked on (green) and which cannot (red).  Source: The Atlantic (link).

Creating 3D images from real equipment

One of the greatest challenges is working with or around existing equipment in an environment.  You’ve relied upon 3D imagery to aid in upgrades and retrofits for a long time, but now scanning the equipment or space while maintaining the appropriate scale has never been easier.  Once in the system, the image can be properly flagged and tagged.

Effortlessly 3D scan and import existing infrastructure

BIM and Augment Reality Challenges

Augmented Reality and BIM can improve almost all stages of a project: design, construction, inspections, operations and maintenance, and renovations.  The challenge many businesses and AEC professionals face is that they are not comfortable with the technology nor the shift in how work gets done.  Projects already have a lot of moving parts.  The introduction of new workflows and technologies can carries risk.  It’s lead a lot of businesses to ask themselves how and when they will acquire the skills to compete in this new market.  Who will they turn to for help when they have questions?

Making BIM and Augmented Reality your reality

The Construction industry is changing in ways unimaginable just a few years ago. AEC professionals around the world are successfully adopting BIM and Augmented Reality to reduce costs, deliver faster, and improve customer satisfaction.  They’re doing it with the guidance of strategic business technology firms like Sherwood Chamberlain.  Let us help you to take control of your future, selecting the right products, and deciding where and how to implement these new technologies to maximize profit.  Leave a message, contact us, or send us an email at

Your remote workers don’t interrupt you often enough.

You’re standing by the water cooler when a team member says, “Let me ask you a question.”  You measure the team member’s body language.  The team member’s rigid posture tells you this won’t be an easy question.  You reply, “Sure – would you prefer to have the conversation in a place a little more private?”

You’re familiar with what happens next:  the team members gets a resolution to their problem, receives advice on what to do next, or you find out something valuable you didn’t know before.  This is what collaboration looks like on a daily basis and its born of a combination of proximity, availability, and social cues.

It’s also the kind of scenario lacking in decentralized, work-from-home style businesses.  That’s a big deal, because study after study finds that people produce not only more ideas but better ideas when face-to-face interactions increase.  This becomes an even greater problem when coupled with the reality that people go out of their way to make their day fit social connections.  And we all know the strongest social connections are built on face-to-face interactions.

As Sherwood Chamberlain and our clients have grown, we’ve increasingly felt pressure to address this problem.  How can we maintain the flow of ideas, the intellectual capital, and the personal touch that we and our clients have built our brands on?

The need for increased face-to-face interactions while overcoming geographic obstacles lead us predictably to video conferencing.  We knew that video conferencing the past 10 years had been a joke, and we didn’t want to be the punchline.  What we needed, then, was video collaboration:  the simplicity of a phone call but with faces.  What we also needed was a service that wouldn’t misuse our company data and worked across all devices (Bye, FaceTime!).

Welcome Highfive.

Highfive is everything folks have dreamed video conferencing would be.  It’s truly video collaboration, delivered.  Highfive allows us to start a call in just a few button presses (just like a phone call).  It’s easy to have another person join a call or share their screen, whether from a phone, tablet, or in a conference room.  The quality is crisp and works in areas with less than stellar signal or internet speeds.  And, of course, it integrates with Slack.

We believe in Highfive so much that we’ve become a partner.  Our promise of transparency remains.  As a Highfive partner we receive certain perks.  These perks are openly discussed and passed along to our clients.

If your remote workers aren’t interrupting you to bounce ideas around or you’re unable to see their body language, then you aren’t creating the best ideas.  In this day and age, the success of your business is determined by the speed and frequency at which you collaborate.  If you’re a business struggling to maintain the personal touch with your geographically diverse teams and clients, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.  We welcome a conversation about how we can help.