While new technologies have continued to present themselves since the arrival of the internet, 2016 seems to be the year that a whole new wave of virtual products will enter the market and once again dramatically progress a variety of sectors. Last year the property industry in particular was abuzz with talk of prefabrication, 3D printing, and virtual realities. What once seemed like far-off possibilities from The Jetsons have suddenly become actualities, and smart businesses are catching on quick.
Arguably the most ubiquitous of these technologies has been virtual realities, with companies like Scann3d, Start VR, Aqualand, Pixelcase, and many more now providing virtual tours of off the plan apartments (amongst other things). Hundreds of VR start ups have entered the sphere, with some big bucks being invested.
Magic Leap, a business that is working on contact lenses with virtual capabilities, has received $594 million in funding since founding in 2012. In 2014, Facebook spent $2 billion acquiring Oculus to develop 360 degree videos for their news feeds and a VR headset. With big names throwing their weight behind virtual reality, its predicted 12.2 million VR headsets will be sold in 2016, with companies such as Sony, Microsoft, and Google each releasing their own version.
The potential for virtual reality to be used as a project marketing tool is vast, with clients being able to step inside a developer’s yet-to-be built apartment and experience it in an unprecedented way. However one pitfall of the VR headsets is that the environment is so immersive, it makes it almost impossible for an agent to talk their client through the property or see what they’re seeing.
Distinguishing itself from other virtual reality products is Orbiverse, an environmental simulation facility that you can enter solo, cooperatively or as a party. Developed by Melbourne-based architecture and visualisation firm Orbit Solutions, Orbiverse is a sensory immersive, untethered media that allows for real-time interaction through virtual reality using interactive gaming platforms.
Customers simply put on a pair of 3D glasses and enter the small display suite, where they can walk through a virtual reality but can still see their hands in front of them and the person standing next to them. This unique experience results in less vertigo for the user, but most importantly it means an infinite amount of people can the share same virtual space.
Chris Goss, Founder and Director of Orbit Solutions, notes “the key difference between this and something like an Occulus Rift headset is that the 3D glasses allow for multiple projections (including the floor) to converge to create a completely immersive environment, without loosing the real world visual connection to the sales agent.” As buyers become more well informed and have access to a greater wealth of information, they are looking for new ways to consume that information. It will be this kind of new and exciting experience that will generate interest and commitment to a project.
So will virtual reality display suites soon be the norm for developers and project marketers? Goss sees it as inevitable; “It will be technology that assists the industry to reach the ‘new markets’ that may be needed to continue making sales in a bear market, likewise good tech will allow greater reach with better results in a bull market.” In addition to enganging buyers, Orbiverse also allows for huge savings in the fitout of the display by providing multiple options and styles within the one project. For example a buyer can make a selection of finishings and fixtures within the virtual world, and see the changes take place before their eyes, giving the semblance of a bespoke home.
How quickly the technology becomes mainstream is hard to tell, as typically sales analysis relies on past performance and what has worked rather than looking at what might work in the future. “Innovation in design or presentation involves risk,” says Goss, “architects look at how we will live in the future. Sales teams and valuers look at how we have purchased in the past and that in itself creates a closed loop that rules out innovation…It can take a brave and intelligent sales and marketing team to buck the prevailing trend.”
If you’re interested in displaying your next project through Orbiverse, contact Chris Goss at Orbit Solutions- email@example.com.