Like marketing any other products, getting them to the consumers and communicating the product advantages to them are moving away from conventional platforms to digital interactivity. The one-dimensional and the restrictive walk-through computer graphic animation video no longer suffice in the real estate industry where clientele is becoming increasingly tech-savvy.
For real estate industry players, being out there connecting with customers and allowing them the experience of virtually immersing in what they invest into can provide the critical marketing edge.
1) Real Time 3D Visualization
Traditionally, at the point of sales in the sales gallery / road show / property exhibition, sales personnel either show buyers their brochures and/or 3D walk-through video of the project on a TV screen.
The potential buyers now can be shown a simulation of the whole completed project with real-time 3D Visualization, where the client can also interact in it rather than just a passive observer.
In the past, to develop a large-scale 3D modelling for the whole project (e.g. hundred units of landed property, or few blocks of condominium/apartment with landscape) and navigate the entire project in real time viewing was near impossible.
With the advancement of computer hardware and software, the availability of new high-speed CPU processor, gaming graphic card with powerful GPU and larger RAM memory, housing developers (with the help of the right app developer) can now demonstrate to the clients the real time visualization of the exterior architectural and interior design of the whole project.
Armed with such a tool, the sales personnel can conveniently bring along their laptop and show their potential client what they have to offer. Details like the landscaping, infrastructure etc. become virtual and customers can have bird-eyes' view of the project, or opt to fly through or walk through the project by controlling the mouse, keyboard, joystick or gamepad. They can be navigated to move, rotate, zoom in and out, fly up to the sky and down in 360 degree directions to see all the architectural details of the project.
People are in motion; Trees are like they are swaying in the breeze; Birds fly; Vehicles are moving; even water in the pool is virtually alive.
It is whole new experience and could potentially add to a product's attractiveness.
But this is not all.
2) The Revolution of Virtual Reality (VR)
In the last two years, VR has become the mainstay of the gaming industry and increasingly impacting the other industries: Entertainment, education, training, tourism, medical, e-commerce, online shopping, online social chat-room, real estate, interior design and renovation etc.
“Virtual Reality can be referred to as an immersive life-like phenomenal experience of real images or computer simulated 360 degree 3D realistic images seamlessly display in the device according to our head turning rotation and movement.”
“VR Technology simulates a physical presence in this virtual world environment by wearing a Head-Mounted Displays (HMD), the users are interact and feel like they are really immerse in this virtual reality world in real time”.
There are three types of VR in the market: the lower-end mobile VR, the standalone VR and the high-end VR.
Lower end Mobile VR
These can be fitted a handphone into a VR headset.
These devices are driven by convenience and ease, usually for watching 360-degree photo and video, playing basic games. However, most of these devices suffer image distortion due to the quality of the lenses, and some users get eyes discomfort and motion sickness easily due to the handphone low refresh rate and resolution.
This has a built-in all-in-one processor and display in the headset for convenience. The advance version is developing and upcoming.
High-end VR tools
More sophisticated VR like HTC VIVE, Oculus Rift are already in the works. These, when linked up to a powerful computer with external motion sensors and controller, offer unprecedented experience.
The future - VR way to sell and buy property
Seeing is believing. Many house buyers prefer an actual site visit before confirming a purchase. But, this is not always possible or convenient especially when the project is at a distance from the sales pitch or show units under construction or unavailable.
VR can provide this immersive property viewing experience from the floor plan drawn on paper could somehow transform and come alive. This will be the new gateway of marketing property.
By wearing VR headset at anywhere, a buyer can walk around the virtual showroom, he/she can opens the virtual front door of the house which intends to buy, walking through from living room to kitchen, and going up stair to see all the rooms and toilets, with fully furnish furniture and interior decoration and feel the environment.
With Virtual Reality and its interactive feature, a customer can not only have a real time physical presence within the property, take a birds' eye view of the entire development and walk through in three-dimension, and experiment with various colour schemes, interior design and furniture display concepts. It is an experience that can be had without the concerns for traffic, distance or weather.
When choosing a property, customers' top concerns are the orientation, the environment, the design prospects etc. With VR, every question the buyer may have can be answered, and he/she can immerse oneself in the virtual world. A customer is able to ‘see' the finished property and experience living in it.
VR takes a lot of ‘if' and guesses out of the equations, and could help a buyer's decision-making. Even clients looking for overseas properties will have no problem to preview them, just put on the VR glasses; they can see lots of properties just like they are there in person. Closing the deal by the sales agent will be expedited.
At the moment, there are other similar VR technology like Mixed Reality (MR) and HoloLens, Augmented Reality (AR) and Smart Glass. Some of these new technologies like HoloLens and AR are merging images of virtual with our real world to produce a new visualization sensation experiential that allow users to interact in it.
But like most new technologies in this sphere, price can be inhibitive; they can only get better and more practical in the near future.
VR and MR technologies are maturing rapidly while most of others are still in developing stage.
Property marketing technique has departed from the television commercial advertisement, website, handphone app, and now to the Real Time Visualization and Virtual Reality. What amazed us is, they are what we have seen in old science-fiction movies are now available to us as we embrace this new Industrial Revolution and explore all its business possibilities in our property industry, they will become our essential Sales and Marketing tools.