This June, our team took part in the We Make Future (WMF) International Trade Fair and Festival on Tech and Digital Innovation in Rimini, Italy. There, we met our remarkable partner - MentaRossa. This connection not only sparked innovative ventures but also led to an exciting podcast opportunity — an opportunity we're truly grateful for.
We are grateful to our new partners, and especially the founder and creative director - Martina Pescioli, for inviting us to share our story on the Punto di Infusione podcast.
In this article, we'll provide a translated transcript of our conversation, ensuring our global audience can enjoy the enriching conversation that transcends language barriers. Join us as we uncover the insights on AR technology and product visualization in the home improvement industry that emerged during this engaging dialogue.
MentaRossa is a communication agency that strives for innovation, creativity, sustainability, and a personal approach. They develop digital projects according to the specific needs of their customers. MentaRossa strives to create unexpected connections, creative encounters, and clashes and stimulates the curiosity of those who seek the extraordinary in everyday life.
Martina: Welcome to the latest episode of the Punto di Infusione Podcast. Today, I'm here with Anna, a Business Development Manager from Wizart. Hi, Anna!
Anna: Hi Martina, thank you for this podcast and for inviting me. I'm truly delighted and excited to speak with you. Hello, everyone!
Martina: I'm glad to have you here. Well, first of all, I'd like to start with a curiosity, a bit of gossip. So, you're not Italian, where are you from?
Anna: No, I'm not Italian, of course. Maybe you can tell, even though I'm always trying to improve my Italian pronunciation. I'm Belarusian, but since my life is a bit of an adventure, I've been living in Sicily for more than two years now. Currently, I am staying in Palermo. And I work for an American start-up.
Martina: So, wow, diversity personified.
Martina: Let's talk about this American company you work for, Wizart. What is Wizart?
Anna: Heh, Wizart saves marriages somehow. Wizart started as an idea about five years ago with the initial aim of visualizing wallpapers. So basically what happened: our founder had an argument with his wife about what kind of wallpaper to pick for their home, so he was wondering, 'Okay, but how come there's no tool where I can take a picture and apply the designs I like inside my room? Alright, I'll develop it myself!' So Wizart was envisioned to help people visualize wallcoverings in their homes.
Step by step, we started visualizing all types of home décor and finishing materials such as flooring, ceramic tiles, murals, and basically everything that can go on walls, floors, and ceilings. And now, I'll share this with you, it's still a secret though, but very soon, we're launching this new project where end users will be able to visualize furniture. I mean, practically it will be possible to take a photo of your space, remove the bed you want replaced, and put the Ikea bed instead. So, yes, this is Wizart in a nutshell.
Martina: So, here we're talking about technological innovation in terms of visualization, essentially working on making the user experience easier in the world of e-commerce and for all those sites that require a bit of imagination before purchasing a product.
Anna: You are right! Wizart was born to eliminate this imagination gap and improve the shopping experience, to keep customers engaged as much as possible, and for businesses to increase conversions because buying things online is still very challenging and stressful for a lot of people. We are trying to help reduce the stress of possibly “getting it wrong”; and since this technology is powered by artificial intelligence, it's really smart indeed and we are constantly improving and training our computer vision model.
Martina: You are a business development manager and you are in charge of bringing innovation into the company focused on innovation. Tell us about your typical day.
Anna: My day starts with an espresso or caffettino in Italian. As you mentioned, my main goal is to bring innovation, passion, and enthusiasm because innovation, for me, means always being one step ahead, looking into the future but not forgetting the present. I'm always trying to find new opportunities for our company, including partnerships. Even this podcast, for me, is a wonderful new opportunity to talk to you, have these insightful conversations, understand what's happening in the market, and what companies really need. I'm not just trying to explore new market opportunities but also to analyze the needs at hand.
Honest and transparent communication for me and everyone at Wizart means everything. Our main value is innovation, yes, but what’s more, it's the people. Because it’s real people out there who help make what Wizart is. For example, how did this idea of creating a furniture visualizer come about? It's the real shoppers who keep telling us that they need this, and we listen because listening is the most important thing.
Martina: Absolutely, listening is the foundation of innovation, growth, progress, and, obviously, relationships. So, something I often say is that without the exchange between people, even very different people doing very different things, there's no spark, no creativity. So, I find these conversations we have very interesting and enriching, and I want to emphasize that. These are not just presentations about companies; they are reflections with people who work within companies, dealing with different things. Dealing with different things allows us to see what we do every day from a new perspective and enables us to find new interpretations of our daily lives. And for this reason, I want to ask you about your feelings regarding innovation in the strict sense. When you go to present this new technology to perhaps even historic, very important companies that have always worked in a certain way, how do they perceive you? What is their approach? Because, for example, regarding innovation, I have often encountered a bit of fear.
Anna: Yes, I know this is true because people still fear innovation. We get excited but also scared when we talk about new things when we have to do new things because there is always uncertainty. But now, the home improvement market is very competitive, and people want to stand out, especially online. Our tool was initially designed as an online visualizer, but now a lot of our clients use it offline via QR codes or barcodes in brick-and-mortar shops. This also helps to reduce our negative impact on the environment, by digitizing and avoiding wasting materials through printing catalogs, for example, because Wizart is also a very sustainable company.
So, this is absolutely the value we add, and I always say if a company wants to stand out, we can help showcase its products in the best way possible. It's a technology that's also aesthetically pleasing and elegant, and this is an innovation in and of itself.
Martina: You said the magic word, sustainability. You know, I'm very receptive to the topic of sustainability, which is actually very true because one doesn't often think about it. There isn't a direct association between artificial intelligence and this visualization technology. One doesn't immediately connect the fact that, indeed, if I bring this technology into a showroom and offer the possibility to visualize my products, I can eliminate the need for a printed catalog. I haven’t thought about that.
Anna: Perfect then, that's one more insight! Now we also offer companies these opportunities to not use printed catalogs, to fully digitize everything because we also create 360-degree virtual panoramic tours. We help create visually rich, interesting, elegant, and beautiful content to engage potential customers. So yes, even in a physical shop, companies can install a large screen with our simulator and give customers the opportunity to engage with it a bit because, in the end, people like playing. Engagement is at the core of everything in our lives.
Martina: Yes, right, engagement is at the core of everything in life. In our marketing strategies, we always emphasize touchpoints and engagement because that's what ultimately measures how effective communication has been. So, this is also a theme that I can relate to other topics and sectors.
So, in any case, as our ultimate point of infusion, I would like to say that, regardless of the sector one works in, the important thing is to keep eyes and mind open and to understand innovation and a new way of doing something that can bring benefits at 360 degrees. So, let's not be scared!
Anna: Yes, absolutely, you're right. That's our main goal, to bring innovation, to transmit this passion, creativity, and humanity. Above all, this is our approach for the companies we talk to. So, to sum up, how my typical day goes, it's a continuous and constant reflection.
Martina: It's a bit of a typical day for all of us, right? In the end, regardless of the sector, the human aspect and the aspect of the thinking person who does things to create value, to take the company they work for to the next level, remains very important.
Anna: Speaking of humanity, I listened to a podcast a few days ago where there was this question that made me reflect a lot: Can artificial intelligence destroy humanity? My answer is no. What do you think?
Martina: My answer is also no. Without humans, there would be no artificial intelligence. I see it more as a tool that can help us take additional steps, both in automating things we used to do manually. I believe it will be a technology that becomes part of our daily lives, just like the internet, the telephone, printing, and any major technological innovation that creates confusion and crises, right?
Anna: Right, so let's allow this technology to help us, let's love it, accept it, develop it, and move the AI conversation forward.
Martina: Thank you, Anna. With this wonderful phrase, I conclude our podcast, our point of infusion, and we'll be following you. Please, don't stop bringing innovation to Wizart.
Anna: Thank you very much, Martina. Have a great day and productive work, everyone.