Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard about Virtual Reality applications. You’ve probably seen images of people wearing those enormous face hugging mask and a pair of weird black snow cones. Wizards?
But besides hard-core gaming and entertainment, there are some other powerful uses of Virtual Reality. One of the most exciting ones is Real Estate.
If you’re in the market for a new house, this might be especially interesting to you. But it’s time-consuming and annoying to drive from one place to another and see a bunch of houses. Some of them are not even to your taste.
VR is here to help. It is already being used in two cases :
- As a 360˚ Video Tour of your (potentially) new home
- CGI generated VR video of a residential object that is being built
360˚ Video Tour
With Video Tours, a cameraman goes to the actual site and record the footage. He uses a camera system that records footage from 360˚ degrees. Because VR cameras are slowly being introduced to the market, we are still “forced” to use a rig of cameras – basically a frame where you mount 4 or more cameras together. Below is the 360 Freedom Camera Rig with 4 GoPro Hero cameras.
Freedom 360 Camera Rig
This camera system is usually placed on top of a balanced stick, which is carried through the facility. Of course it can be placed statically at one spot as well. In that case you’ll have to shot multiple short videos from different locations (each room of the house for example). Now comes the hard part. The footage is now created from multiple cameras, where each camera records its own Field of View. Now you will have to “stitch” these footages together using a dedicated (and often expensive) software.
Kolor – a stitching software that goes hand in hand together with GoPros Camera Rig
The end result is a Video where you can freely move the camera angle and see the surroundings. The video can be split into a 3d effect double screen.
This is useful if you’d like to watch the video on your mobile and VR cardboard for total immersion.
The second image is slightly displaced. Each eye perceives the image separately and your brain automatically stitch it together as a whole. All you need for enjoying the tour like that is 360 video and a Virtual Reality Cardboard Kit, where you place your smartphone.
Google shot a 360-degree video that shows a virtual tour of its data center in The Dalles, Oregon. It’s presented by one of Google’s developer advocates, who explains each room and interviews some of the data center staff. The video is highly curated, but there are some fascinating shots and tidbits, including a biometric eye scanner that every employee has to pass through.
Google Data Center 360 Tour
Pretty cool, eh? Once you step into the real estate office you are offered either Oculus HMD or other VR device to check the potential homes. If you own Google Cardboard or one of its alternatives, you can easily check the place out on dedicated website.
Once you go through number of videos, you can choose top picks and ask the real estate agent for the actual tour. You just saved yourself hours if not days of home-seeking.
The Matthew Hood Real Estate Group at Sotheby’s International Realty has been experimenting selling luxurious homes in Los Angeles and New York City.
Well-off people rarely have time in their schedule to check the home by themselves. Instead a Real Estate agent can show them a home across the country, or even across the world. Not only that, the realtor and potential buyer are “sharing the same view” so the agent always know where the buyer is looking at. That allow the realtor to address certain details like a kitchen counter style or wood quality.
Even Re/Max, arguably world most recognizable real estate company doesn’t want to be left behind. “Although it will still take some time for VR to become available to the majority of consumers, the advancement in the technology through hardware development and computing power has made the integration of VR into real estate business far more possible,” says Adrian Goslett, who is the Regional director and CEO of RE/MAx of Southern Africa.
Virtual Reality Tour
What if the real estate hasn’t been built yet? What if all you have is some architectural drawings? No sweat.
The architectural plans can be replicated in Unity, Unreal 4 or other similar CGI graphical engine to create an almost identical representations of a place, but in virtual reality.
In this case you can step into the future apartment suite, before the foundations stones of the condominium has been set. Turnberry Ocean Club from South Florida has been doing just that. They are pre-selling luxury residences that range from $4 – $35 million. But this sophisticated glass tower hasn’t been built yet.
Despite that, Sales Director Daniel Riordan has no trouble moving the sales forward, largely thanks to the power of Virtual Reality. It’s one thing to tell the buyers what it is to get them excited. Showing them pictures moves the needle forward. But once he gives them opportunity to walk and feel the room with their own eyes, he is able to go from just wondering to more actionable steps towards the sale.
From down under, Star VR company from Sydney is one of those companies who are also make Virtual Tours happen. They are able to create off-the plan Real Estate VR project with EDGE 28. They partnered with Laing + Simmons, premier group of real estate agents in Sydney and NSW.
“Virtual Reality is really powerful tool and when applied to the real estate industry gives consumers greater confidence to part with their hard earned dollar and purchase off-the-plan. Start VR Kain Tietzel
“We wanted to create an experience that allows people to feel like they are in a finished apartment, feel the true dimensions and space and also enjoy the actual views they would see from either the 8th of 11th floor or the rooftop,” Kain said.
With Start VR Edge 28 you are able to take a tour of your future home. However the problem is, the customer needs to download Edge 28 app through App Store or Google Play. It’s a bit of a bottle neck since most consumers don’t want to take an extra steps to check a video, image or any other media content.
The problem is, this Virtual Tours can be quite expensive. You need to hire a team to create a model or shoot the live video. Video has to be processed and edited to fit the web video standards. This is only one part. Now you have to guide the viewer through your content.
This is where Viar360 comes in. Viar360 provides Real Estate Virtual Tour producers a CMS system for editing and conducting virtual tours in the browser itself. Simply add all your video or image material in the manage and create hot spots. Once you’ve placed the hot spots, you can drag and drop positions to create a non-linear connection. That way the buyer can decide whether she wants to check kitchen first, bathroom second or go straight out to check the garden.
The basic fact is that VR devices are much more than just a tool for the viewer. They serve as a mini time machines and memory makers. They take you anywhere, real and imagined, just like portals do.
If you’re a Virtual Reality/360˚ producer and would to create absolutely amazing virtual tours for real estate or tourism, now is the perfect chance to apply for Viar360 – a tool for creating powerful stories in VR and 360 worlds. Get on the beta waiting list now.