International Product launch in the metaverse – How FRÄNKISCHE Rohrwerke presents and trains real products worldwide in virtual reality

FRÄNKISCHE Rohrwerke Gebr. Kirchner GmbH & Co. KG is a family-owned company headquartered in Königsberg, Bavaria. The company is divided into the five business units Drainage Systems, Electrical Systems, Building Services, Automotive and Industry. More than 5,000 people are employed at its 22 production and sales locations worldwide, of which around 1,900 are in Germany. In fiscal 2020/21, the family-owned company generated sales of approximately 575 million euros. It is regarded as the world’s first manufacturer of corrugated pipes.

Fraenkische Rohrwerke Gruppenbild
International Product launch in the metaverse - How FRÄNKISCHE Rohrwerke presents and trains real products worldwide in virtual reality 2

Product presentations in the company used to involve a great deal of logistical and coordination effort. Products had to be set up in showrooms or at trade fairs, customers and employees had to be invited and had to travel to specific locations to experience the products in action or to take part in training sessions. In addition, it had to be possible to present products and train employees even before the start of production.

In the course of its digitization strategy, FRÄNKISCHE is now also increasingly relying on virtual technologies to completely rethink this process. Together with Zreality GmbH from Kaiserslautern, which offers one of the leading B2B metaverse platforms, FRÄNKISCHE designed an international product presentation to introduce a new product portfolio. On the one hand, it was important to depict the products realistically, but on the other hand to enable all possibilities of collaboration or presentations as in reality. In addition, access for employees from many countries such as Great Britain, Spain, Italy, France or China had to be easy and the system had to be intuitive to use.

At the first virtual event, products were presented in the first part. In the second part, workshops on product features were held in small groups. This included, on the one hand, the presentation of new ventilation components and, on the other hand, the presentation of a newly developed wall mount in the drinking water sector.

For implementation, two product spaces were developed in 3D by Zreality. The products were then visualized in 3D and integrated into the 3D worlds. The users could stay there with so-called “avatars”, communicate with other users and act on objects. In this way, real installation situations of ventilation grilles were created in 3D, which employees could virtually configure themselves for training purposes. Presentations were shared via screen sharing and workshops took place in virtual rooms almost as in reality.

“The product was implemented in 3 months and the feedback was very positive,” says Michael Hümpfner, Head of Product Management Building Services. “The easy handling of the 3D world on the Zreality Grids platform and the interaction possibilities, which offer significantly more possibilities than video conferencing solutions like Teams, were praised. The potential for process cost reduction is huge. Ultimately, it will be possible to present products much more frequently than before, while reaching more user:s around the world easily and without travel costs and effort. We can well imagine conducting regular 1:1 meetings and training in this way.”

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