Virtual Reality is a ‘game changer’ for overseas real estate industry

18.07.2014
Virtual Reality is a ‘game changer’ for overseas real estate industry

As a Spanish property agency leads the use of Virtual Reality to market off-plan property, technology expert, James Dearsley, says it is a ‘game changer’ for the overseas property sector

A Spanish agency is among the first in the world to use Virtual Reality to sell off-plan property – and the technology is a ‘game changer’ for the overseas property sector, says an expert.

Solvia Immobilaria, the real estate agency of Banco Sabadell, Spain’s fourth largest private banking group,  has shot video in 360 degrees and it is putting the user ‘inside’ the video by putting on a pair of Virtual Reality Headsets from Oculus, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=inJ_X6WiaCk

The news comes days after OPP Connect reported on a Canadian developer who is using Augmented Reality to sell a condo development in Toronto.

Real estate technology expert, James Dearsley, of the Digital Marketing Bureau, tells OPP Connect, “In my experience with the Spanish market none of the developers are too forward-thinking, let alone those owned by banks and therefore I was amazed. It does appear that they could just be the first developer globally to have an attempt at using VR to sell property developments.”

Mr Dearlsey says Virtual Reality has enormous potential to be a game changer for the entire property sector. “Obviously putting people ‘inside’ apartments that don’t even exist yet is an amazing concept; giving them the ability to understand scale and depth whilst letting them navigate around an apartment is incredibly exciting. However, Virtual Reality is much more than that.”

It is no surprise that Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerburg, recently purchased Oculus Rift, one of the leading Head Mounted Display (HMD) companies for close to US$2billion.

“As well as the real-time rendering element of placing people in buildings that do not yet exist, these HMDs can be a reciprocal for content already produced – High Definition films, for example, perhaps taken a stage further and filmed in 360-degrees using drone helicopters to add a bit more to the content.

“There is a huge push in 360-degree filming currently, almost as much as other panoramic photo opportunities that are already available.”

Oculus has a huge outlet for its devices in Facebook and many other companies are lining up. Sony has Project Morpheus already in development as does Samsung with its VR HMD, says Mr Dearsley.

“Then there are other, far smaller companies working on. A particular favourite of mine is Altergaze which recently went to Kickstarter for its first round of funding for its 3D Printed HMDs – these allow you to place your mobile phone into the device. Suddenly, the panoramas that you are producing through your phone can be displayed very differently.

 “Mark Zuckerburg stated he was ‘betting on the long-term future of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality to be a part of our everyday lives’ and from what I have seen so far, I bet that extends into the way that we view and purchase property, whether we are an agent or developer, both domestically or internationally. VR offers some very exciting opportunities in our industry.”

Virtual Reality is also being used by Chicago-based developer Panoptic Group to market its properties.

It has teamed up with Arch Virtual to create 3D virtual models of its Damen Avenue development so brokers and buyers can explore buildings that in reality may have not even broken ground.

Roman Popovych, from the Panoptic Group, says, “As a marketing tool, Oculus Rift has been extremely effective in helping us pre-sell our development projects. By enabling customers to visualize space and high quality design, Oculus Rift provides a captivating and very fun experience.

 “The virtual model helped us sell this property much faster than we could have otherwise. It was very cost effective, and has proven to be a helpful marketing tool for our business.”

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