We've all been taken by surprise on how fast the COVID-19 pandemic impacted our daily lives. While many retailers can count on a boom in their demand for online sales through both proprietary e-commerce stores as well as through powerful channels like Amazon, generally, in property, the impact is more severe. An essential part of the sale is the viewing of the space. Were you ready to take this online?
Instead of suggesting the best technology for you to opt for, we wanted to share a high-level overview of the different virtual tour technologies available:
- 360° Panoramic Photo Tour
- Easy to 'consume': via the web, customer can get a feel for the space, with a 360° view from selected points. Similar interface compared to google streetview, so well adopted.
- Easy to create: you could get started with a simple RICOH Tours camera or opt for specialised vendors like matterport.com or giraffe360.com
- Can be uploaded to google maps/streetview for further exposure
- No freedom to walk through the space, view it from different angles, you're left with fixed positions.
- 360° Video Tours:
- Can essentially give a simulation of what viewers would experience if they were walking through the space with you as a community manager or sales advocate. Gives you the power to point them to those details which make your space different.
- Can be uploaded to youtube for further exposure
- Even though it's still feasible to create these by yourselves, it requires more equipment and editing skills.
- For a true experience - allowing people to freely discover the space while watching - requires 3D goggles, which dependant on your market, could not be well adopted yet.
- 3D / Virtual Reality
- Prior to opening new buildings and locations, VR (virtual reality) can offer photo realistic imaginary on the future look and feel of the space you're building.
- Interactivity: offer the visitor an interactive layer which allows them to fit out the space like they would imagine it, from floor materials to meeting rooms, to furniture.
- Producing your space in VR can be expensive. Good news is that some startups are driving the cost down by using AI (articifical intelligence) to reduce the manual design work in this process. Have a look at prompto.com if this is what you're after.
- Computing power: 360° images need to be rendered in real time. They higher the quality you're looking to offer, the higher the chance you'd prefer to have people visit your sales office where you've installed the perfect setup for them to experience at full.
- Augmented Reality
AR (Augmented Reality) refers to platforms that overlay digital aspects over the real world. Users can experience AR either by wearing glasses or through hand-held devices like smartphones and tablets. Chances are you first experienced this tech in the Pokemon Go game which was launched in 2016 and quickly gained popularity.
While currently less popular on the marketing side, AR is believed to gain strong traction in the construction phase of buildings.