#007 – The Future Of Kitchen & Bathroom Design Using Technology

This episode we visited the Virtual Worlds offices in Milton Keynes. We spoke to 4 staff members, learning about 3D modelling and how the product range makes it onto their software. We also discuss our favourite topic, innovation and its effect on the kitchen and bathroom industry.

Host: Darren House 
Produced By: Freddie Dalton & Darren House 
Copyright: Inside The House

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Transcription

Darren:                  Welcome to Inside the House podcast, Episode Number 7, at Virtual Worlds in Milton Keynes. Today we’ve got a panel discussion in a slightly different format, so bear with it and you’ll find some great information here in the bathroom industry, all about the future of the bathroom design. And also, we’ve got an accompanying video showing you the full 4D experience at Virtual Worlds. So, have a look at our website, insidethehouse.co.uk, and you’ll find the link to that video. Also, put it on YouTube and social media. It’ll be on Instagram, Instagram TV, Facebook, so you’ll find the video in all these different locations. Please like the video. Please, maybe, subscribe, if you feel you can, and also leave us a review. We’re looking for feedback, so please leave us a review on this video. So, enjoy. And there is another episode after this, as well, Episode Number 8, which is again at Virtual Worlds. We’re discussing more about bathroom industry and … yeah. So, catch up with that. See you soon.

                              Thank you, guys, for joining us today here at the lovely Virtual Worlds head office. We have Sandino, Luke, George and Zoltan, yes? Today. So, a mix of product leads … sorry, modelling team leads, project manager and actually a modeller, is that correct?

Sandino:                Yeah, that’s me.

Darren:                  Cool, perfect.

Luke:                     The worker horse, yeah.

Darren:                  The real worker.

Luke:                     The real worker, yeah.

Darren:                  The real worker, the one that actually does the grunt work.

Luke:                     Exactly.

Darren:                  So, today we’re having a little bit of a different podcast, we have a panel. So, we’re going to see how it goes. So, this is a new start for us. So, today, just dive into it, first of all. Sandino, when you were at school, and I’m sure you wanted to be something really interesting, what did you want to be when you were young? Did you have no idea, or did you have an idea?

Sandino:                The thing is, with me, I grew up in an industry where my parents had a fish and chip shop. So, from a young age, I was always, kind of, developed working there, so it was always like, eventually, I might get my own fish and chip shop. Obviously, that is not the biggest dream you’d ever want as a kid. So, as we started going through school, started developing IT and graphic design and stuff like that, and I started thinking maybe advertising was going to be a good channel that I could start getting into. I don’t think I’m too far away from it. I’m not exactly diverted away from it completely but, yeah. That was, kind of, the idea, was advertising, graphic design, IT. Use all those skills combined. Still very much in the chip shop, haven’t got away from that, at all.

Darren:                  You still do Saturdays and Sundays?

Sandino:                I still do Fridays –

Darren:                  Friday nights?

Sandino:                Yeah.

Darren:                  Friday nights in the chip shop.

Sandino:                Exactly.

Darren:                  Come on, that’s cool. That’s really good.

Luke:                     You’ve never brought anything in for us.

Darren:                  Yeah, where are all the leftovers?

Luke:                     Freebies?

Darren:                  Where are all the scraps? What’s going on?

Sandino:                Yeah, I’ll get you all [unintelligible 00:02:49].

Darren:                  And, Luke, the same question to yourself, then. Where was your background from school?

Luke:                     I, like most kids my age, I enjoyed games, I guess. So, played a lot of Xbox, a lot of PlayStation. It, kind of, just developed from there, really, as I wanted to get into making those games, or how interested I would … I was, kind of, leaning towards the Articy [unintelligible 00:03:13], so 3D modelling was, sort of, the way to go. Then I went to university, studied interactive games design. Once you left, I applied for a lot of games jobs. Unfortunately, they required a lot of experience, which I had zero of. And then this job came up, which is … when I tell my friends what I do, I kind of say, all right, do you know The Sims? Sort of, you design your own house?

Darren:                  Yeah.

Luke:                     That’s what we do, but for real life. So, you create the real bathroom, kitchen … I, kind of, expand to the whole house.

Sandino:                I might start using that.

Luke:                     We make The Sims in real life.

Darren:                  Yeah, real life Sims.

Luke:                     My friends don’t know what I do. Every time I explain it to them, they’re always, like … do you know Chandler, out of Friends? That kind of situation. That was a really old reference, there, a ‘90s reference. No one knew –

Darren:                  But then you go, you know what? I’ll just work in a chip shop.

Luke:                     I go back and say I just work in a chip shop. It’s just easier.

Darren:                  It’s easier to explain it. But that’s really interesting because you’ve actually, sort of … your childhood playing games has developed into a career. And I think a lot of young people today who are gaming … because there’s a huge gaming society out there. Call of Duty, whatever the latest game may be. And there’s a huge amount of people who actually want to make a career in doing that and making money. And there are a few, but only a small percentage are actually physically making money in that.

Luke:                     Yeah, it’s quite shaky in the industry of how long you actually have a job for. Unless you’re seeded quite well in a company you, from what I hear, you don’t spend too long at one company. You, sort of, jump around. So, it’s quite nice to have that security here, where you’re –

Sandino:                Yeah, it’s really –

Luke:                     I’m not going to be let go in the next … well, hopefully not.

Darren:                  Who knows after today but, yeah. That’s all good. And yourself, George?

George:                 Me?

Darren:                  Yeah.

George:                 Oh, I … I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wanted to be loads of different things, as girls did. I mean, sort of, when I was little, I wanted to be a lawyer and a doctor. Then my dream, sort of, got smaller. Being a hairdresser, pet store … so, I did nothing to do with IT, nothing to do with CAD at all. Then I went to university and I, sort of, did one module in CAD modelling, and –

Darren:                  How did that come about?

George:                 Well, it was kind of optional, really, and I thought, oh, I’ll give it a go. So, I did, and I found I actually enjoyed it. And then we have a placement year, so that was when you have to go and find work. I tried to find some work and didn’t get anywhere. And it was only by chance I went to see my tutor and said, ‘Look, I need some help in trying to find some work.’ And he said, ‘Oh, I know someone who used to work here. I’ll give him a call.’ So, gave him a call, and I’ve got my work placement here.

Darren:                  And did you start doing modelling here? Was that your start, was it?

George:                 Yes, yeah.

Darren:                  You started doing modelling and then worked your way up, that’s good.

George:                 Yes.

Darren:                  Yeah, really good.

George:                 So, I’ve been doing it ever since.

Darren:                  Yeah. So, the lawyer to a 3D modeller, to … it’s an interesting contrast, isn’t it, you know? Because the reality of being a lawyer is actually, you know, there’s a lot of work and there’s a lot of qualifications, and it’s a certain type of person who can do that. And actually, you probably thought you wanted to be that person, because it’s a nice dream job, maybe, to some people. And then you think to yourself, actually, you’ve gone down a road of something more hands-on and practical, which is a different type of skillset.

George:                 Yeah.

Darren:                  Yeah.

Sandino:                Do you think it’s still, like, who you know rather than what you know, as well? Is there still a lot of that?

Darren:                  100%.

Sandino:                Because obviously, you know, word of mouth … you hear a job’s –

George:                 Yeah. I, kind of, fell into it, because I did one module and then went to my tutor. He said, ‘Oh, I can help you with that,’ and rung someone up here. I don’t know who he spoke to. And then I came here and did a work placement. Of course, I don’t know anyone in the industry. No one, none. My family background, again, we owned a restaurant. So, again, I worked there part-time, thinking that perhaps I might actually, again, go down that lineage. I might have to work there full-time afterwards but, yeah. I don’t know anyone in this industry, at all.

Darren:                  That’s interesting. Most of the people we’ve asked, it’s not unusual. It’s quite normal that that is the case.

George:                 It’s who you know, isn’t it?

Darren:                  It is 100% who you know. People, kind of, fall into their jobs.

Luke:                     Some don’t. I can see why a lot of university students come out of university and struggle, because they don’t have that connection. They probably have the qualifications, but you go to hand in a CV to somebody … I mean, I’ve handed out loads of CVs but, yeah. My connection came, again, through catering and stuff like that, where you speak to customers and they’re like, ‘Oh, we’ll try and get you a job as a placement.’ And you start off at the very bottom, just work your way up.

Darren:                  That’s an interesting concept I will come to in just a sec, but start yourself at the bottom … and it’s quite interesting. I think a lot of people come out of university and think, I’ve got a qualification, I need to go straight into this job at this position on x number of pounds worth of money, because I’ve done my university degree. And actually, they forget, unfortunately, that you’ve probably still got to start at the bottom, even with your degree. And as awful as it is … maybe it shouldn’t happen, but it does, is the truth of it. Because real work experience is probably more practical and more necessary than a qualification.

Luke:                     It’s only now I’m actually at a position or a level as a manager and stuff where, actually, I probably could do with those qualifications, now. It was only … when I was in a placement, it didn’t matter that I didn’t have a degree or such, because I didn’t go to university. But now I’m a full-time manager and looking after a team, I could actually do with a few courses and stuff like that, or … actually get trained up in that. So, you almost have to self-learn and find those courses online, which is expensive and time-consuming.

Darren:                  Yeah. Go back to the business and see if they’ll put you on a course. We can ask Nathan later. Zoltan, yourself?

Zoltan:                  Well, my case is similar to Luke’s. I grew up on video games –

Darren:                  What was your favourite game?

Zoltan:                  It obviously varies, but I always go back to Jedi Knight: Jedi Academy, it’s just so fun. And Quake III Arena … the old shooters and all games … Doom. I love the new Doom, as well. It always [works] –

Darren:                  Still gaming, then? Still doing the gaming?

Zoltan:                  Of course, I love it. So, I fell in love with games. I fell in love with 3ds Max. I was, like, 14 –

Darren:                  Really? Wow.

Zoltan:                  Like, at first, I started with Maya, and just pressed the space button. And all these different options came up. I was like, whoa, whoa, whoa, no, no, no, I’m not going to do this. Then I found this new software, 3ds Max, and it was so easy to use for me and I was like, ah, I want to do this! And at that time, I didn’t know games were made by, like, 3D applications. I was just … my idea back then, I was, I’m going to be a programmer. Because I know video games need programmers. I don’t know where the idea came from. But later I realised that, okay, I need to be an artist, actually. And then I practiced a lot of 3ds Max and I got my first job during college.

I was doing graphic design back then and, like, I bumped into my old classmate, who was the lead programmer for a company, like an event company. And they were looking for someone who does 3D and were like, ‘Hey, Zoltan, you do 3D, right?’ Like, ‘Yes, why?’ ‘We need you right now.’ And it was, like … I got a really rapid project. Like, I had to be done with several complex models in three days, and I did them in two days. I didn’t sleep at all. And I got the job, eventually. And then, after that, two years later I got a job in the game industry. I was really happy with it. My salary was, like, less than half, but … and I had to work for the minimum wage because we were paid after performance, but I loved it. Like, I spent … like, we could sleep in the office, so I was like, yeah –

Darren:                  Really?

Zoltan:                  Yeah.

Darren:                  Sleep in the office?

Zoltan:                  Yeah. A couple of my colleagues always spent the nights there, because –

George:                 You bring your own sleeping bags and pillows?

Zoltan:                  Could do, yeah. Order pizza, like … I remember –

Darren:                  That’s like student life, isn’t it? That is.

Zoltan:                  I was running out of money on my phone so I quickly phoned my girlfriend, like, please order pizza to this address, thank you. And tell me when it’s here. And yeah, that’s how I got pizza.

Darren:                  But that, as the … so, there was the gaming side. So, you sort of dreamed of going into gaming, kind of. Did you –

Zoltan:                  And finally, I achieved it, and I loved every moment of it. But it was a start-up company, like a really small one and, after a while, they ran out of work. So, like, it was an outsource company, but we did our own game, as well. And they ran out of projects, they couldn’t hire us, anymore. So, after that, I immediately … so, I was, kind of, fired on Friday. On Sunday, I got an amazing job at Hungary’s national TV channel, and I was a motion graphic designer. Really easy job. That was really easy, and I was really bored. So, then I moved to the UK and looked for ways to get a job here. It’s really competitive. That’s when I realised this 3D industry in the UK is really competitive. You have to be one of the best. As Luke said, like, you have to know everything and a bit more. Then you are considered. So, I did that for, like … I worked on my portfolio for two … no, a year-and-a-half. Then I saw this application, vacancy, from [unintelligible 00:12:48] and I was like, that’s me, that’s me. Like, that’s just modelling and fun and everything, and I got the job.

Darren:                  Yeah, that’s good. You mentioned two things there which were quite interesting. One was the fact that you had to be an artist, and I think that’s an interesting point. Because I think what the modelling is –

Zoltan:                  Yes.

Darren:                  – is a kind of artistry, isn’t it? You know, you are artists in your own right. We talked briefly before we started this about how you get a product from the catalogue picture, as a layman. How do you get … the catalogue picture of a toilet or a dishwasher or whatever the product may be? A toilet may be simpler than a furniture unit or something. But you take that and bring it to … first on a computer screen in 2D. Then you’re looking at 3D, or your 4D theatre. You know, that augmented reality, you’re bringing that into all those different places. That is surely an artist’s –

Male Voice:          It needs an eye, yeah.

Darren:                  It needs an eye, you know. You need –

Zoltan:                  Especially when we don’t get any measurements. So, for example, when I got a bath [feet] and the brief was, ‘Good luck.’ You have to have artistic eyes. Like, you have to see the shapes. You need to be an artist, and then figure out the measurements. Like, you have to go by eyes. So, yeah, you have those artistic skills next to when you have to be a designer, and to know the curvature … like, what angle it goes, like how long it can be if … yeah. You have to practice it a lot.

Luke:                     I mean, some of our clients are very good. They do provide model-ready … I mean, to our specifications, and then we just upload … our software is pretty much … it’s a path to the industry for a lot of our clients. So, they give us the model, we upload it to Virtual Worlds, and then customers can use it on the other side. So, as long as we give them the right specs and what we need, they … some of them are good. Some of them are … some of them just provide drawings that we have to recreate and create the model ourselves but, yeah. It’s a varied bunch, really. It really does vary on the client.

George:                 I’d just like to make a point, that it’s not just artistry … being an artist. A lot of the team here have to be quite technically-minded, as well. Because one of the projects we’ve been working on is kitchen appliances, and that … you’ve got oven doors, microwave doors, we’ve got … what else have we got?

Zoltan:                  Fridge doors, freezer doors –

George:                 Yeah, fridge doors, freezer, dishwashers, things like that. So, everyday house appliances that you don’t really look at but you use every day, but you … we have had to look at them in depth. As in, how does this door move? How thin is this door? How do the internal bits all work together? To actually make it look accurate. And a lot of the manufacturers don’t give us information on that.

Darren:                  So, you take a lot of time in actually trying to assimilate real life.

George:                 Yes.

Luke:                     We’re almost kitchen designers and bathroom designers, as well.

Sandino:                Yeah.

Darren:                  Yeah because … exactly.  You design … and also, the manufacturer. Taking on the manufacturer’s role, to a certain degree, of how does the door sweep?

George:                 Yes.

Darren:                  Well, the manufacturer would’ve designed that and thought about that and how it works when they designed the product –

Zoltan:                  Exactly.

Darren:                  – but that necessarily wouldn’t be the same person you’re dealing with in the manufacturer –

George:                 No, it’s not.

Darren:                  So, you get somebody in marketing, maybe, who will give you the catalogue or something –

George:                 Yeah.

Darren:                  – [an R&D] or whatever, yeah. That’s a challenge, isn’t it?

Sandino:                Yeah.

George:                 We have to be creative as well as quite technically-minded to understand how the product works, so we can convey that exact product into Virtual Words.

Luke:                     There’s some trial and error. There’s trial and error –

Zoltan:                  Like, just last week we had a conversation with George about oven doors. Like, should they have a glass cover in front of them? Or is it just metal and some stickers? And we didn’t know, we didn’t have an oven in front of us. And then I went home, it was at the weekend and, oh, here’s an oven. And I took pictures. I was like, oh, so it goes like that. So, there is a glass cover. And I sent the pictures to George and she was like, Zoltan, close the oven and enjoy your weekend.

Luke:                     We’re working, like, six months in advance, as well, where we try to … before the brochure is probably even released. So, some of our manufacturers, the products haven’t even gone live. So, we’re trying to create things that necessarily aren’t in the market, yet. So, we’re trying to be more forward-thinking, trying to get this stuff live with the product launch date, as well. So, it’s … yeah, it’s a challenge.

Darren:                  That’s a challenge for a lot of manufacturers, as well. Because I know all these manufacturers are pretty useless at getting the photography done, and that’ll be done last minute. The brochure’s done last minute. So, you’re almost working off of … well, what do you work off of? How do you create it? Yeah. Just go and design an oven, now, and we’ll make it, is probably easier.

Luke:                     Yeah.

Darren:                  And you mentioned fun. You said coming here, Zoltan, was fun, a fun environment, and something that I’m quite interested in is the culture of business, as well. So, you know, what makes working with these guys … and, obviously, George is a big influence, I’m sure, in your fun. But how does … what makes it fun, compared to your previous jobs? What do you enjoy about it?

Zoltan:                  Definitely that it’s all about modelling. I love that part. Like, we had these … like, we had to work a lot in [Excel], as well. I came to like that, as well. It’s just solving riddles. Like, why isn’t … why does the oven open like, you know? In the wrong way. Why is it? Then I figure out the problem. It makes, like … oh, I solved another issue, another issue. It just makes it fun. And then when you see your work, like, posted somewhere, like one of the manufacturer or designer posts, your oven there or your toilet or whatever, it makes you feel really good. That’s my work. When I worked in video games, I was looking forward to that feeling. When the character was carrying the gun you modelled, it’s like, that’s me! That’s me! Like, I send pictures to my friends. I did that. Many of us here, they send pictures of their stuff to family members. Like, when a manufacturer has posted this picture of their stuff and, ‘See? I did that. It was me.’ It makes it fun. And, always, with the environment is really good. It’s really family-like. It’s amazing to work in.

Darren:                  It’s like a family you’re working with. You’re getting the rewards, recognition, seeing your product out there, it’s been used in the real world … and obviously solving problems, obviously, for you, is good fun, as well. And yourself, George?

George:                 I think it’s all down to the people you work with. I mean, I think at the end of the day work is work, whichever industry you are. But if you’ve got a good team of people to work with, it just makes your day better.

Darren:                  Yeah.

George:                 Yeah, there’s always … I mean, we all work on different teams, but there’s always banter going on and we have work socials every so often. So, we all just like to talk. It just makes the day really good.

Darren:                  A good, fun work culture.

George:                 Yeah.

Darren:                  Makes the day go quicker, doesn’t it? That’s the thing I find.

Sandino:                Yeah.

Darren:                  What about yourself?

Sandino:                Yeah, same as George, really. I’ve got a group of seven people in my room, so we all just have a good ol’ laugh, really. Try to get some work done, as well, but-

Darren:                  Yeah, of course.

Sandino:                – it’s mainly about the laughing.

Darren:                  Mainly about the laugh and the banter, and then you do a bit of work. Maybe 4:00 to 5:00 at the end of the day, an hour’s work.

Sandino:                Catch up on everything.

Darren:                  Yeah, that’s cool. And yourself?

Luke:                     Well, being their project manager, sometimes when I walk into the room laughter stops, so –

Darren:                  Oh, really? Yeah. They don’t include you in –

Luke:                     No, I don’t [think they include me, yeah]. So, it’s like … you know, I’ve worked for big companies, big corporations, and I always find that upper management always sets the tone, as well. So, trying to set a relaxed tone for these guys to work in a happy environment, rather than always just constantly being at them and trying to dictate what they’re doing. I mean, they’re all adults and they all know right from wrong, sometimes. And if something has gone wrong, then we all, as a team combined, get together and push forward in trying to find a solution for it. Likewise, my MD and all my upper management are all quite relaxed, and we’re all in the same building. And we all win together and we, you know.

Darren:                  So, the culture comes from the top?

Sandino:                Yeah.

Darren:                  It’s all the way down, you’re just replicating the culture down through the teams?

Luke:                     Absolutely, yeah.

Darren:                  That’s good. Well, they all went out last night for a beer –

Sandino:                Apparently so.

Darren:                  Did you go? Did you not go out with them?

Sandino:                I missed that memo.

Darren:                  Did you? Oh –

Sandino:                I was back in the chip shop.

Darren:                  Yeah. No, that’s really good. Yeah, innovation. So, for yourself, the innovation of the products … and for you guys as a team, working on the actual trying to model something … we were talking earlier slightly about appliances, we mentioned. But with technology moving forward and appliances having, like … for instance, cameras inside them, now, to see inside your fridge. The front door can change to a picture of inside your fridge. How’s that going to be reflected with you guys? I mean, who’s got … you know, reflecting that in Virtual Worlds?

Luke:                     How are we going to reflect it in Virtual Worlds?

Darren:                  Yeah.

Sandino:                I mean, when you’ve seen the … you’ve seen 4D develop over the years. See, the functionality that we’ve now put into that, there’s no reason why we can’t get that stuff. We’ve got touch screens and stuff like that. We’ve been … the 4D headset. I mean, those kinds of things are quite easily put in. It’s just, yeah, time and … yeah. Who’s after it and stuff like that. Where we allocate that time to.

Darren:                  Yeah.

Sandino:                I mean, I don’t see any reason why we can’t put it in.

Luke:                     Well, I think a lot of time and research goes into what the products can do, and talking with customers about what they want to see actually replicated in the 4D theatre. So, I think that would probably be the next stage, because we are starting on the appliances.

I know with the showers, you can have different shower sprays. So, originally, we didn’t have any showers actually emitting any water, it was just a static shower. Now we’ve got the functionality to touch the shower and it will turn on, it will spray water. And then some companies have multi-function showers, so now we’re putting in the functionality to … well, every time you touch it, it cycles through the amount of shower spray types that we’ve got. So, there is a lot of thought that’s going into, what do customers want to see when they get into their room? We do have, like, an Alexa kind of system in 4D theatre, where you can do voice commands. So, that’s just a natural extension to … if there’s a kitchen that you’ve got with an oven that has it, just connect it up to that, I can imagine.

Darren:                  So, you could … the idea going forward, then, is you could have a 4D theatre and you could say, ‘Alexa, show me the contents of my fridge,’ as you would in real life, and it would then change the screen of the fridge to the food that you guys have represented inside the fridge?

Luke:                     Yeah.

Darren:                  So, that isn’t beyond the technology?

Luke:                     No, no. That would be just putting the time in, really.

Darren:                  Of course, time and investment. And the manufacturer may not want to invest that time –

Sandino:                Yeah.

Darren:                  – and it may not be relevant. But going forward, as we get more down that road, it’s probably going to get … you know. When you say, ‘Alexa, turn my shower on,’ or, ‘Alexa, turn main bathroom 1 shower on,’ whatever it may be. That’s actually … that’s doable.

Luke:                     Yeah.

Darren:                  That’s incredible. That’s really, really clever, to be able to offer that to a consumer.

Sandino:                Yeah, and then the retailer will be able to speak to the consumer directly with … in one of the showrooms. I mean, our whole thing is about keeping the high street alive and making sure that the retailer and … [before] we got these 4D theatres put in. That way, a customer can walk into any of these places and put a headset on and see what it works like, rather than having to buy one of those fridges or going and testing it manually. You know, different versions of it and different colours, rather than it being physically there. That’s the beauty of it.

Darren:                  Yeah. So, from that point of view, you could essentially say, you know. From a kitchen showroom point of view, you could have one setup on the 4D theatre and you could change that through … rotate it through any setup that the customers wants. So, it, kind of, like, nullifies the physical showroom?

Sandino:                Well, you just multiplied it out however many times you want. 100 times.

Darren:                  Yeah. And if the fashion for the floor tiles has changed from grey to pink, then you just change it from grey to pick and it’s not an issue. Whereas, to change the showroom from grey to pink, that’s, you know. [Picking all the tiles up makes] a lot of work.

Sandino:                They’ve got a limited space. They’ve only probably got two or three display units they actually have within that showroom, yeah.

Luke:                     We do a lot of budget ones, as well. So, you can have, like, a low-budget version of the bathroom which shows you the less expensive versions. And then, oh, if you spend an extra £2,000 you can have it looking like this, and then they replace all of the basins and baths with slightly more expensive ones. And then if you spend another £10,000 –

Sandino:                You can have all the bells and whistles –

Luke:                     It’s a ‘best’, I think they call it, like –

Darren:                  Yeah, could be the best scenario. That’s interesting. It’s clever that you can do that almost at the touch of a button. Is that what you’re saying?

Sandino:                It is. It’s voice-commanded.

Darren:                  Is it really?

Sandino:                Yeah.

Darren:                  That’s very clever. That’s interesting. I should watch the , maybe. And then I’ve also got on here … like, we’ve kind of touched on it, I suppose, a little bit, but roadmap of products. And obviously, we’ve mentioned Alexa and home automation. It may be Apple, it may be Google, who knows which one … if anyone’s got a take? Who do you think is going to win that race? Google?

Sandino:                I think … I’ve got an Alexa.

Darren:                  Alexa Home?

Sandino:                To say I use it the way it probably could be used … I probably don’t. I probably play the radio on it. I really don’t use it enough for the way it should be used.

Darren:                  An interesting fact –

George:                 [The trouble is, we don’t] –

Darren:                  Have you got Alexa?

George:                 No.

Darren:                  Nothing at all?

George:                 Nothing at all.

Darren:                  Don’t like the idea of it?

George:                 I guess I’m just old-fashioned, really. If I want to listen to the radio, I just turn the radio on. I’ve got it. You know what I mean? I don’t feel like I need the voice command to turn the light on, or voice command to turn anything else on. If I want to do that, I can physically do it. So, I don’t need an Alexa at all.

Sandino:                The listening-in thing does concern me. Like, you’ve got your Alexa on and you’re talking about a subject, and then you go into your Instagram and there’s an ad in your Instagram for that thing you’ve just been talking about.

Darren:                  That’s correct.

Sandino:                It really does freak me out a little bit. The area that you’re in [unintelligible 00:26:41] etc.

Darren:                  What are you talking about that you shouldn’t be talking about? What’s your [unintelligible 00:26:45]? But you mentioned that about that, and then you could turn it on its … turn it the other way. You could turn it around. Instead of seeing an advert for something you’re not interested in, you’re potentially seeing something that’s interesting. And from an advertiser’s point of view, if you look at … now, to give an example, and I’ve taken this from someone else, this train of thought. But if you say, okay, what we can now do is we would then show you an advert … you’re talking about Barbados. So, what we do is, we show you an advert in your Instagram feed about an amazing show in Barbados. So, you think, oh, there’s an amazing show. I was talking about it the other day. So, we’ve now got it showing you a show in Barbados. So, you kind of think, actually, I’d like to go to that show. And then, for the next couple of days, they show you a deal on some flights and a hotel to Barbados. And then you –

George:                 I find that all quite scary.

Darren:                  It’s no different –

Sandino:                Like, how did you get that information?

Darren:                  From Alexa, probably. Or Google, or whichever one it may be. But if you look at it, that’s where it’s going to probably get to, where it can influence what you purchase. And if you think about it, it’s no different, actually, from where the iPad was invented. The iPad … nobody had an iPad, nobody wanted an iPad, nobody even knew an iPad existed. Apple went away, invented an iPad, and then sold you a dream to say, actually, you need this. And they’ve made it influenced for you to go purchase one. Because you never needed an iPad before, if you’ve got one. Most people probably have, or a tablet-style designed product.

Luke:                     I have a tablet, yeah.

Darren:                  And the tablet was never there until they, sort of, invented the desire to have one. And I think it’s the same scenario. All it is is just the future of that same piece of advertising. It’s that now you can say, okay, I’ll send someone a picture of a show, and a few days later say that, okay, they’re interested in that. Now I’ll show them the flights to get there and the hotel to get there and, do you know what? If they haven’t purchased it in three or four days or a week or whatever, then now I’m going to show them an even better deal to do it today, on a time cap. If they don’t do it today, it’s going to lose it, and they’re going to force people down the road. But no, it’s interesting because, you know, your work being receptive to that, because you haven’t got one. But the most popular voice command for Alexa is ‘set a timer’. That’s the most –

Sandino:                Set a timer.

Darren:                  Yeah, that’s the most popular.

Luke:                     Again, there are probably so many things it can do, but …

Darren:                  Yeah. But where do you think it’s going to come into the bathroom? Where do you think it’s … kitchen, bathroom, you know, the home. Where do you think it could use –

Sandino:                I think it’s when you’re running low on stock for any particular … for any home stuff. And they’ve already got, like, the dishwasher tablet button on your dish … that you can press the button and it orders dishwasher tablets for you, and stuff like that.

Darren:                  But once it’s learned, it’ll know that every six weeks you need some, so it will just deliver them in the future.

Sandino:                Yeah.

Darren:                  But disabilities … you know, for people from a disability point of view, can you … you know, for a voice command. ‘Can you turn my shower on at 38 degrees?’ for them. ‘Can you turn it off? Because I’m now finished.’ Get out of the shower, the bath or … ‘Lower my seat for me.’ That sort of stuff. But they’re the real-world uses where I think voice may be … I don’t know what your thoughts are. George?

George:                 Kitchen appliances. I think we recently went to a Siemens presentation and they showed us all their products, and they currently do … I think they actually had products where it is voice-activated. Can you remember? It was like an oven one where you can actually … it was a bit weird. You actually had to turn it on first, before you voice activated … or was it a remote control? Where you can actually turn the oven on before, go out for a walk or go to the pub, and then the oven would be on and ready and warmed up for when you get home to put your roast in.

Luke:                     Yeah. I think their example was, ‘Oh, I’m going to spend another 20 minutes at the pub buying this guy a drink.’ Some random guy that you just bought a drink. I can’t remember the story.

George:                 Yeah.

Luke:                     And he turned his oven down –

George:                 Yes, that’s it.

Luke:                     – so it didn’t burn what was in the oven.

George:                 Yeah.

Luke:                     Through his app.

Darren:                  Oh, okay. Yeah.

Luke:                     So …

George:                 [I’m sure it would be] in place … I suppose it just needs to be more … I don’t know.

Sandino:                Just tested and used –

George:                 Yeah, tested and marketed, yeah.

Sandino:                – and become more –

Luke:                     Thing is, they’re normally, like, the top-end products, as well. So, your Average Joe’s not going to have something that top-end. They’re expensive, as well. So, it’s kind of how they roll it out to, I guess, normal people like us, who –

Darren:                  Well, I suppose it’s not different to fit … I don’t know if you guys are into fitness, fitness apps, but a lot of people do fitness apps. And you think about it, you know. You might follow … what do you want to achieve? Well, I want to lose weight or I want to get faster, or whatever. But if you think about it, it will take it into the kitchen, you know. Could you just talk about … please, could you set my … could you cook that lamb? It’s two pounds of lamb, or whatever the weight of it is, four pounds of lamb. Can you get Jamie Oliver’s version of it cooked at his recipe? You know, does that make sense? So, it could actually cook the whole lamb perfectly by the Jamie Oliver style. And then you’ll get chefs sponsoring the –

Sandino:                They’ll just send you the ingredients you need for that.

Darren:                  Yeah, yeah. Nice one. Maybe for the future. Thank you, guys. I think it’s been really interesting. I really appreciate your time today.

Sandino:                Thank you.

George:                 Thank you.

Darren:                  Thank you.

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