We talked to Andreas Zeitler of Vuframe on how digital sales enablement platform for virtual 3D products is revolutionizing sales and this is what he had to say.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Andreas Zeitler: Like many others, we will be glad once the situation around the Corona pandemic has improved. Of course, we’re staying at home as we want to avoid infecting older family members with the virus.
Of course, I’m lucky because it is not a problem for me to work from home. You always hear about people who can’t work or have lost their jobs because of the restrictions. I am grateful that my family and my team is doing well despite the pandemic and that everyone is healthy.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Vuframe.
Andreas Zeitler: As a nerd and programmer, I played the game development from an early age. I shipped my first game at age 16. I wanted to build on top of the know-how I gathered in the games industry – so AR & VR seemed like the logical next step. In 2015, I founded Vuframe to help companies better present their products through video game technology in 3D, Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality. Since then, the company has grown to 15 people and over 100 customers worldwide.
How does Vuframe innovate?
Andreas Zeitler: 3D, augmented reality, and virtual reality are now becoming the norm. Our innovation is that it doesn’t matter how companies want to use their 3D and CAD data. With our Vuframe® platform, it is possible to use product visualizations in all departments of a company. Whether as an app, on the web, via VR glasses or for virtual events. We allow companies to show interactive product presentations anywhere, anytime.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Andreas Zeitler: The digitalization of work gained significant popularity thanks to the Coronavirus. Especially now, it becomes clear how important it is to be able to react flexibly to situations in which customer appointments, events or an on-site product presentation in sales is not possible. Many of our customers have been enthusiastically using our platform for years. The current situation has led to a substantial increase in interest in other application areas within the company. With new customers, we have also noticed that the understanding and willingness to engage with new technologies is significantly higher than before. It is probably due to the current demand and the pressure to keep up with competitors in digitization.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Andreas Zeitler: We have learned this year that it is essential to stick to an idea. We had a massive dip in sales in April and May. I decided not to lay anyone off but instead cut hours for the whole team for a couple of weeks. Sales quickly returned, and everybody is working full-time again. And everybody is still here – we even hired a couple of new people. Compared to other companies, we have been fortunate. Our customer base increased in the last couple of months. 2020 has shown us that everything we have built up over the years is relevant for many companies and was already very suitable before.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and Vuframe in the future?
Andreas Zeitler: I’m comparably level-headed – some call it thick-headed – so other than the occasional sleepless night I don’t fret a lot. And for those nights there’s a vast library of books in my flat to distract me. The next couple of months are going to be fun – we are facing tremendous growth. In the future, it’s going to be essential to create a sense of community. Especially now that everyone is working from home, it is vital for us not to lose the team spirit and exchange our thoughts and ideas regularly – especially when we bring new people who will work from home from day one. Therefore, we have a virtual “coffee chat “every day, where there are space and time for conversations and personal concerns.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Andreas Zeitler: Many companies and agencies provide services for visualizations in 3D, augmented reality and virtual reality. What sets us apart from all of them is our platform, and the automated creation of interactive 3D, product visualizations for many different devices and channels. Automation is the key. Not only do we process data, we always make sure that what our clients’ ship, in the end, is small, pretty and secure. It means that our customers always get a result with the smallest possible amount of data, is photorealistic, and is non-reverse-engineerable. This combination of security, visual fidelity and ease of use is unique in the market as far as we can tell. We’ll build on that and see where it takes us.
Your final thoughts?
Andreas Zeitler: The world is changing. The pandemic will affect this new decade we just entered; hence remote work will become part of many companies’ everyday lives. Retailers are responding with digital solutions to online sellers such as Amazon and Alibaba. Event organizers will have to consider how they can also enable digital access to events in the future. To support companies in this “new work” culture, we are continuously working on our platform and its features. Interactive product visualizations can be made automatically and find an application in all the areas mentioned. We are excited to see what will come our way in 2021.