CommonFloor / Unreal Estate
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Indian property listing site offers at-home VR house viewings
Buying a home can be a real pain with so much time and money wasted travelling to and from viewings to tour available properties. Bangalore-based real estate website CommonFloor is trying to make the experience easier by using virtual reality technology to let people preview a property before they visit. Customers can then shortlist the properties that they particularly like.
The brand has created a low-cost device so that people can experience the VR at home. The CommonFloor Retina cardboard headset is available to purchase from Amazon or Flipkart for RP 999 ($16). Customers can also try out the technology at the brand’s experience centres in Bangalore.
To view a property virtually, users must download and launch the CommonFloor Retina app before inserting their mobile into the device. The app currently works on high-end Android phones. Looking through the headset, users are immersed in a virtual representation of a home and can move around each room by moving their head. The experience aims to offer a better idea of a property’s layout and space than photographs or 2D web experiences.
There are currently 20 properties in Bangalore that can be virtually explored and plans for a further 480 are underway. It takes approximately six hours to create one VR experience and the content of each project is based on information given by the builder.
So far, only brand new properties to buy are featured. In time, the company intends to expand this to existing homes and properties to rent.
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Meeting demand / CommonFloor is one of the largest property listing sites in India, with more than 100,000 residential homes listed in 200 cities across the country. Reports claim India’s rising population will lead to a real estate market of $180bn by 2020. An additional 2.8 million units across the top eight Indian cities will be needed by 2018, according to a 2013 report by property consultants Cushman & Wakefield. By focusing on customer experience and convenience CommonFloor is putting itself in a great position to benefit from this growth.
Open house / CommonFloor has made sure as many people as possible can use this service by making the headset cheap and accessible. The tech can then easily scaled up to meet the increasing number of prospective buyers in India. Other companies are creating similar virtual real estate experiences, such as US based Studio216 and Red Propeller, but neither of these companies has created its own device.
Hurrah for VR / This example shows a practical application of VR. While initially people were excited about the technology’s ability to entertain, as seen in campaigns such as Yahoo’s Trendcoaster and Kingfisher’s Beer Coaster, brands are now using VR to help solve business problems. For example, last year Volvo wanted to create to excitement about its new car launch before it had even been built so it created a virtual test drive using Google Cardboard. The tech allowed customers to get a feel for the car without having to set foot in the dealership. CommonFloor is aiming for a similar effect here with prospective property buyers.
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