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Corporate, 2017-05-09, 06:51 PM

Teesside firm’s sights elevated by partnership with Microsoft

A Teesside-based company is working with technology giants Microsoft to develop an innovative new system for installing stairlifts.

thyssenkrupp Access Ltd UK, which has offices in Stockton-on-Tees, is responding to the challenges of delivering customized home mobility solutions with the introduction of Microsoft’s HoloLens mixed-reality devices. These devices will enable customers to visualise in real time what the firm’s stairlifts will look like in their own homes, reducing the installation time to the customer by up to four times.

HoloLens will allow staircases to be measured immediately, taking potential obstructions like heating bulkheads, light and electrical fixtures, and closeness of the wall into consideration.

Customers will be able to use a tablet to see how the stairlift will look on their staircase, and will also be able to make choices on their upholstery textile, chair and rail color, alongside additional bespoke features to ensure they have a product that fits into the look and feel of their home.

Andrew Warbrick, Managing Director of the thyssenkrupp Access Ltd, explains: “Innovation is a core value for thyssenkrupp UK. We are constantly investing in research and development with the aim to improve even more our customers’ quality of life with our products.

“The recent cooperation between thyssenkrupp and Microsoft is a perfect example of our client-oriented approach. By using the HoloLens mixed-reality device when visiting and measuring customers’ stairs, we are able to visualize in a very realistic way what the finished stair lift will look like. We are also able to measure the staircase faster than ever before, which leaves us more quality time to spend with the customer on discussing and visualizing options such as rail colour or upholstery. This results in an even better service and customer experience.

“With an aging UK population, the demand for home mobility products is only going to rise. Solutions such as stairlifts are already helping to deliver a better quality of life for the elderly, but they present their own challenges. Most customers buy these products only when their mobility is already very restricted, so they require a quick turnaround on the installation, but no two staircases are exactly the same and every stairlift has its own individual requirements, which holds up the process.

“HoloLens should remove that obstacle – it’s been trialed in Holland, Spain and Germany with very positive results, and we’ll now be introducing it in the UK from our base in Stockton-on-Tees.”

A spokesperson for Microsoft said: “Mixed reality technologies are critical success factors for companies that aim to digitally transform their businesses. With the integration of Microsoft HoloLens and home mobility solutions, thyssenkrupp is the frontrunner in the industry and shows how to address the challenges of an aging society by using intelligent technologies.”

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