Hubstairs: Taking interior design to the next level with Google AI and 3D technology

About Hubstairs

Hubstairs is a visual merchandising platform that empowers home-and-living businesses to create scalable dynamic visual content. This highly personalized content is driven by cloud technology and an interior design team working together to meet customers’ specific tastes.

Industries: Retail & Consumer Goods
Location: France

About SFEIR

SFEIR is a community of more than 450 developers, offering innovative solutions to small and large businesses.

Hubstairs offers realistic 3D models of interior spaces for its clients in the home-and-living sector and saves time and manpower with AI Platform and Google Kubernetes Engine.

Google Cloud results

  • Provides images for furniture retailers that are 10x less expensive than photography
  • Enables B2B clients to offer personalized visual content to their customers
  • Uses AI technology to produce highly realistic 3D models of homes
  • Saves time and optimizes manpower on deployment through Google Kubernetes Engine
  • Gains trust from clients due to a reliable infrastructure delivered by Google Cloud

+61% adds to basket and +4% sales for Hubstairs clients

According to a 2017 PwC survey among business executives, 70% of decision-makers believe that AI can help humans to concentrate on more meaningful work. By combining both human intelligence and machine learning capabilities, companies can take their business models further than was possible just a couple of years ago.

“We use Google Cloud AI Platform with our self-trained models, or with models directly provided by Google Cloud AutoML. The technology automatically recognizes an image’s style as well as users’ particular preferences in terms of interior design based on their previous behavior.”

Willian Ver Valem, Head of AI, Hubstairs

Understanding users’ interior design preferences with AI Platform

French technology startup Hubstairs applies this exact mixture of powerful AI technology with its more than 400-strong community of designers to create 3D visuals of home interiors destined for B2C and B2B clients in the home-and-living sector. Hubstairs launched its innovative business model in 2016 and has since convinced retail clients such as MADE, La Redoute, BUT, and Conforama, but also real estate agencies and even individual clients who want to redecorate their homes. For them, Hubstairs’ 3D visuals are 10 times cheaper than traditional photography.

The cornerstone of Hubstairs’ solution is AI Platform which can suggest furniture according to users’ personal tastes, and Vision AI, which delivers image insights. Willian Ver Valem, Head of AI at Hubstairs, explains the concept: “Today, we use AI Platform with our self-trained models, or with models directly provided by AutoML. The technology automatically recognizes an image’s style as well as users’ particular preferences in terms of interior design based on their previous behavior.”

Ver Valem adds: “Then the algorithm can place the user in a spot on a style distribution curve, and we’ll know, for example, that they like scandinavian-industrial style. They are normally between two or even three styles because, thanks to the ML technology, we can avoid putting them into single boxes. Every user gets their own tailored content.”

Creating highly realistic 3D models of homes for B2B and B2C clients

Hubstairs’ offers differ among B2B or B2C clients. For its B2B clients, it mostly delivers a white-label SaaS solution which is integrated seamlessly on the client’s website. The software helps those clients to provide enhanced furniture suggestions for their customers.

“We see 61% more adds to basket and an average customer basket value that is 2.5 times higher than without our solution. Plus, our clients experience about a 4% increase in sales,” shares Pierre Augeard, CTO at Hubstairs. B2C customers have the choice between two interior design offers where a community designer, supported by Hubstairs’ AI/3D platform, creates a redecoration plan based on a photo of the user’s space previously uploaded to the site.

In the B2C offer, it’s easy to see how well AI technology and human skills work together at Hubstairs, and how those new technologies enable the company to focus on more meaningful tasks. Ver Valem explains: “Our goal is to replace as many mechanical tasks as possible, so all the interior designer has to do is sit in front of their computer and be creative.” The software creates a 3D model of a room based on an uploaded photo and suggests furniture that matches the user’s own sense of style. This process only takes 10 minutes today using Google Cloud technology. It’s then up to the interior designer to develop the most creative decoration of the room based on this input.

Augeard highlights: “We want an immersive and highly dynamic experience for our users.” This also means that after receiving their renovation plan, users can make adjustments and switch out some furniture based on the suggestions of the artificial intelligence. “Our AI is largely used in our back office to help mimic the intelligence of an interior designer,'' he explains. “That means finding products based on the visual resemblance of one product to a reference product.”

“The auto-scalability of Google Kubernetes Engine helps a lot. Google Cloud is unlike other solutions; we don’t need to spend time maintaining the deployment stack for training, we can just focus on deploying new ML algorithms.”

Willian Ver Valem, Head of AI, Hubstairs

Less complexity, more proximity, and a better use of the resources

As a cloud-based AI company, Google Cloud was an obvious choice for Hubstairs. Augeard says, “We had several goals: security, availability, technological interoperability, as well as easy scalability because of our presence in Europe and possibly worldwide in the future. When we compared those points between different cloud providers, we chose to work with Google Cloud because it allowed us to reach our varied goals in the best possible way.”

Running more of its services on Google Cloud helps Hubstairs facilitate operations more easily: “Because we also use G Suite for our accounts, it’s been really easy for us to implement other Google products into that infrastructure,” explains Augeard. “We’ve saved a lot of time.”

At Hubstairs, AI Platform runs together with Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE), which has contributed to productivity gains. Hubstairs Data Engineer Pierre Kieffer explains: “The deployment flexibility of GKE helps us save time on monitoring and migrations.” Ver Valem adds: “The auto-scalability of Google Kubernetes Engine helps a lot. Google Cloud is unlike other solutions; we don’t need to spend time maintaining the deployment stack for training, we can just focus on deploying new ML algorithms.”

“Trust plays a huge role. We know that with Google Cloud we are making a rational decision which reassures our executive committee as well as our clients. Google Cloud gives a certain credibility.”

Pierre Augeard, CTO, Hubstairs

Google Cloud infrastructure reassures executives and clients

Besides the tangible impact Google Cloud is having on Hubstairs’ tech team, there are also image gains, according to Augeard: “It’s hard to measure, but I think that trust plays a huge role. We know that with Google Cloud we are making a rational decision, which reassures our executive committee as well as our clients. Google Cloud gives a certain credibility. We even mention the fact that we operate on Google Cloud in our sales pitches now.”

Looking ahead, Hubstairs plans to keep working with Google Cloud in order to realize more new and innovative ways to enhance its 3D visuals. Augeard explains: “3D technology has started to mature, but we’re still waiting for the emergence of a real-time interactive and photorealistic 3D experience on mobile devices and web pages. This will help our users to immerse themselves in their new homes. It’s reassuring that Google Cloud as a versatile platform will be able to host this kind of complex technology.”

Today, according to the PwC study mentioned earlier, 38% of consumers agree that AI can offer a “superior one-to-one personalized experience.” This number could grow in the upcoming years, making Hubstairs’ potential client pool bigger, and creating a larger need for constant availability and scalability. With Google Cloud, Hubstairs’ tech team doesn’t have to worry about this. Kieffer is confident: “There are no worries regarding traffic peaks. Google Cloud is made for that.”

About Hubstairs

Hubstairs is a visual merchandising platform that empowers home-and-living businesses to create scalable dynamic visual content. This highly personalized content is driven by cloud technology and an interior design team working together to meet customers’ specific tastes.

Industries: Retail & Consumer Goods
Location: France

About SFEIR

SFEIR is a community of more than 450 developers, offering innovative solutions to small and large businesses.