Hassan Hachem: Augmented Reality is going to impact real estate

Visit remotely and in complete autonomy, immediate visualization of a development project, sales assistance on plan ... Despite slow beginnings, virtual reality and augmented reality unveil fascinating innovation potential for the real estate agent. What is the difference between the two, and what big trends today?

Augmented and virtual reality: what is it?

Two new technologies are currently spreading in the world of real estate: the reality called "virtual" and the reality called "augmented". It is essential to understand the nuance between the two.

Virtual Reality (VR) experiences involve fully transposing the user into a virtual world that does not exist or has been recreated for the occasion. Virtual reality most often requires the use of a headset, with a panoramic screen that covers the entire field of vision. The goal? Cut off all contact with the outside world, and foster as much immersion as possible.

Augmented or mixed reality is based on a different principle. This time, it is about embedding graphical or textual elements on the real environment that surrounds you. Many applications for Smartphone use for example the camera of the device and display the image, on the screen, with various information superimposed, as does for example the famous game Pokémon GO. Augmented reality can also involve the use of special glasses, such as Google Glasses or Microsoft Hololens.

Virtual Reality: Visit a property remotely or sold on plan

“Virtual reality is of obvious interest to real estate professionals, as it allows a potential buyer to visit every corner of a home without even getting in” underlines Hassan Hachem a lebanese entrepreneur specialized in the building industry. “This is an ideal solution for customers living far from their research area, and who can get a very clear idea of ​​the qualities and defects of a property from the comfort of their own home. In Africa, this is an even greater competitive advantage than investor can not waste time in transportation that are not always efficient” says Hassan Hachem. An investor can visit a building to be build in Equatorial Guinea from Dakar, Beyrouth or Paris. Beyond, the VR also appears as the perfect tool to discover a building not yet built and sold off plans: by virtually walking at leisure in the different rooms of his future home, the customer is reassured and visualizes better the final rendering , which may encourage him to sign the reservation contract.

Note that virtual reality can do without a helmet or other expensive equipment, still not common in homes. A virtual tour on a tablet or desktop computer, accessible directly from the ad, will certainly be less immersive but will reach a much larger clientele. Different companies like Matterport or Rhinov - the latter being more oriented towards virtual home staging - have specialized in real estate VR, with or without headphones.

Create a virtual tour, how much does it cost?

Rhinov offers the creation of a 3D environment from a photo from € 59 excluding taxes per photo, with the possibility of a "before / after" to integrate a development project.

Do you want to offer RV for all your belongings? The purchase of a Matterport Pro 3D camera will make you autonomous, and will allow you to recreate a home with a bluffing image quality. Count around 3 000 € anyway....

Augmented reality: ideal for better projecting or information

Real estate agents know how difficult it is to value high-potential property that requires major work. Buyers can indeed have trouble, as the saying goes, to "project" to imagine the property of their dreams at the end of the project. Mobile augmented reality applications are therefore timely to support the professional!

Hassan Hachem underlines “Thanks to innovative products developed by emerging companies such as V3D Immo, it is now possible to visit the property while observing, on the screen, the difference between the current state and the final state after work”.

Some promoters across the Atlantic have even gone further and have allowed future buyers to view a building not yet out of the ground with glasses HoloLens, walking quietly in the neighborhood!

The other very interesting aspect of augmented reality, from the point of view of real estate agents, is of a promotional nature. New apps now allow you to send an alert when the user passes close to a home for sale: he then simply point the Smartphone in his direction for information on the price, property characteristics and the agency to be contacted.

Still in its infancy, virtual and augmented reality should soon become a key phenomenon in the real estate world. These new tools will improve the visibility of the agency, and lighten your task by making key clients

How can augmented reality shape the real estate sector ?

Who says "augmented reality" thinks "Pokémon Go". Yet this technology has much more to offer than an immersive gaming environment. In our previous articles, we have already discussed the use of augmented reality in tourism and education. Today, let's take a look at what it can bring to the real estate sector.

Unlike virtual reality that immerses the user in an artificial environment, augmented reality aims to add elements to the world around us. It superimposes digital information on the real physical world. For example, thanks to the built-in camera, your smartphone can detect a building and calculate the distance between you.

Experts believe that augmented reality will have a huge impact on real estate over the next few years. Indeed, the ideas to benefit the companies in the sector but also consumers are not lacking.

1. 3D plans

Two-dimensional construction plans do not give your customers a clear idea of ​​the final product. The 3D architectural rendering makes any information easier to understand without a lot of comments. The customer sees directly what you offer him. What better way to reassure him? By visualizing all building projects in augmented reality, clients can have a complete view of the property from every angle.

An augmented reality application can create a 3D representation of the properties from the 2D image. In addition, this innovative technology is characterized by high interactivity. Users can themselves modify the models that are presented to them. Do you want to add a floor, move the doors or the stairs or enlarge the windows to see what happens? Join innovation. Go for it.

2. The presentation of the products

One of the biggest benefits of augmented reality is the possibility that it gives the customer the ability to see and interact directly with the product ... even if the product has not been created yet.

Just walk around the property with a smartphone or tablet in hand to visualize all the items that the customer would like (or not) to add. Overlaying a window on a wall only takes a second with RA, but for many consumers, "seeing is believing". As a result, having an augmented reality app at your disposal can make the difference between winning and losing a prospect.

Your potential customers will also be able to walk down the street to discover the properties available. They will only point the smartphone to one of your properties to access all the information you want to send them: the price, the features, your contact details ... All these things are possible with an application in augmented reality.

3. Engaging advertising

Augmented reality is revolutionizing the world of advertising. Before the consumer was just looking at the product, today thanks to augmented reality, he can even use it before deciding if he wants to buy it.

Augmented reality strengthens engagement with the potential customer through interactivity. In turn, commitment can positively influence purchase intent. Moreover, a study by the British company Hidden Creative has shown that the interaction with a product in augmented reality can change our perception of the value of this same product. Indeed, consumers would be willing to spend more.

4. An interactive portfolio

A portfolio in augmented reality will allow you to give more details on the projects you have realized in less words. And let's not forget that the visual and interactive aspects of AR impress many customers who are not yet familiar with this technology.

In addition to being compatible with smartphones such as Android or iPhone, augmented reality applications work perfectly offline WIFI. So you can prospect in any place. All you need is your mobile phone.

It is also important to note that the development of a native application is not even necessary to take advantage of the AR. Indeed, it can also be deployed on websites. This means that clients will be able to view your portfolio and view your projects from home.

5. Reducing the costs of internationalization

Augmented reality is one of the most cost-effective ways to overcome geographical barriers. In the real estate sector, in particular, it often happens that customers can not move to visit a project directly.

The real estate agencies have a way to present the properties "remotely" would reach more international customers and thereby increase their turnover. Another argument in favor of augmented reality. This technology makes it possible to close the distance, to get closer to the customer without even taking a step. If you have an idea to create an augmented reality application, contact us! Nomadar relies on a network of developers and digital agencies in 40 countries around the world. 

4 uses of augmented reality and virtual real estate visits

The digital transition is also affecting the real estate sector. More than the digital or the trend at all connected, it is especially the augmented reality that is revolutionizing the sector. New technologies are now essential to sell, and they already seduce real estate agents by offering an innovative experience to customers.

Virtual reality and augmented reality in real estate

Before going further, it is important to distinguish two concepts: virtual reality and augmented reality in real estate.

-> The 3D building that comes out of a virtual reality tablet is immersive. With a helmet (Gear or HTC Vive), or via an application installed on tablet or directly on the Web, the potential buyer will be able to visit his future apartment. He moves from room to room, directs his angle of view, chooses his materials, his decoration, and he can even see the real environment that surrounds him. It will literally be able to project itself into its future interior, even if it is not yet built.

-> Augmented reality relies on the existing external environment to help the client to project. Your prospect, equipped with a tablet, is anchored in reality. By filming the terrain, its construction will appear in real size on the tablet.

Examples of applications and solutions

Meeting a concrete need, augmented reality revolutionizes real estate.

Here are several examples of applications.

1- Discover the property available directly in the street of his choice

For some buyers, location is THE criterion for selecting a property. And to meet this demand, innovative applications exist. Available on smartphone or tablet, the application reveals all rental or sales offers around you. The customer is positioned in the desired street and then discovers all available ads by passing his phone in front of buildings. In one click, it is redirected to the descriptive card or to the contact information of the promoter.

There are also 3D maps of property location. The app allows for a neighborhood tour, viewing and selecting referenced real estate programs.

These simple and intuitive solutions help attract new potential customers to your agency. These innovative applications will help you stand out from your competitors relying in innovation.

2- Discover your project

In the future of real estate, augmented reality will allow you to present the projects of Sale in Future State of Completion. More detailed and precise than a simple flyer, your client can discover the property in its real environment.

With his smartphone or tablet, the future buyer goes directly to the plot of land where the work takes place, to discover his project in 3D and real size. This is called augmented reality on site at scale 1.

For new programs, virtual reality is also undoubtedly a major asset !

Via an application, the client can discover the real estate project in 3D. He can immerse himself in the neighborhood, discover the project in aerial view or simply as a pedestrian walking around the building. He can also choose his floor, his apartment, access the plans or visit the rooms.

The technology can also allow the visualization of a real estate project on plans of mass !

By scanning the architecture plan, your application will reveal the building in 3D, as if it were right in front of you !

For example, the Equatorial Guinea secret jewel, Sipopo hotel complex, required 15 years ago to produce numerous physical models. Noways with augmented reality, one could present the future project  in augmented reality.

3- Visualize the possible arrangements of a room

In the same way that you can view a real estate project as a whole, you can also target a particular room.

In the case of a house for sale in which renovations are expected, use virtual reality to help your client to project. Offer him various options of possible arrangements: break the wall between the kitchen and the living room, create a dressing room in the guest room, add a fireplace ... it's up to you to choose the options that will seduce your client and present him. You can then customize the room by testing different materials, colors, models of doors or windows.

To stay in Sipopo in Equatorial Guinea, after the construction of the hotel, augemented reality could help choose between the different options of arrangement for a given room.

4- Virtual visites on computer or table

Your client can not move? No problem ! Organize a virtual tour on tablet or mobile. He can then discover the pieces one by one, choose his angle of view, access the map, or even to see the terrace and its real view. Many buyers need an outside opinion and wish to discover the property to their loved ones. A simple QR Code allows you to download the application and to discover the real estate program on mobile or tablet. For the most techno-addict, the future buyer can also use a virtual reality headset with his mobile and visualize the parts, navigate there as if there was: a real teleportation in the real estate! Application of virtual visits on VR helmets revolutionize real estate. A the speed with which innovation go, we can imagine that the holograms become the next step for the sale and rental of real estate. Soon the volumes will come out of the screen !

If we come back to the Sipopo project in Equatorial Guinea, one could have convinced overseas investors to invest in the project by giving them an helmet letting them see in a virtual world how th project would eventually look like.

Virtual tourism in Equatorial Guinea with AR

Augmented reality also opens new opportunities to promote tourism overseas

One could imagine that the Hotel complex from Sipopo (Equatorial Guinea) launch a Facebook Ads campaign, inviting users to make a first virtual visit in augmented reality.

Imagine a storytelling like the following, but also integrating AR sequences

Obviously, we must admit that Equatorial Guinea remains a confidential destination far from the classic tourist circuits. Here nature is beautiful and wild, the flora and fauna are incredibly diverse. To organize your trip you will need a minimum of preparation to be able to draw up a list of places that you should not miss under any circumstances.

You find it difficult to put everything in order? Fortunately, our community is here to help you. So don't click any further, welcome: you're on the perfect page to find all the answers to your questions. Here destination specialists, travelers just returning from their stay in Equatorial Guinea, real lovers of the region are ready to share with you their precious advice.

While discovering the capital Malabo [AR sequence showcasing the historic center] you will be struck by the contrast that emanates from the local atmosphere. The historical centre and generally speaking the whole traditional side of Malabo are in complete contradiction with the unbridled development of this beautiful city.

A few kilometres away, the small town of Luba is the heart of the Bubi culture [AR sequence showcasing the most beautiful buildings of Luba]. In the middle of a breathtaking panorama, the place is perfect to live the superb experience of turtle laying. If you are more relaxed and enjoy a white sandy beach in a deliciously wild setting [AR sequence showcasing the beach], Mbini is the place to put your towel down and put on your swimsuit. The pico Basile makes you gain more height as it takes you to the roof of the country. From there the view is simply breathtaking. Finally, it is in the Monte Alen National Park that you will be able to discover the flora and fauna that make up the richness of the destination [AR sequence showcasing the entrance of the park]

Apart from these unmissable visits, I advise you to take a break in Bata. If you liked Malabo, Bata is its similar but on the continental part. A stop in the small village of Moca allows you to immerse yourself a little more in the culture and traditions of the Bubi people [AR sequence showcasing a Bubi home]. Evinayong is an obligatory stop because of its central position. Despite everything this crossroads city is very pleasant.

Augmented Reality in Equatorial Guinea

Virtual reality is when an image, which seems real, is in fact simulated by a computer. This experience becomes even more realistic when you wear a video helmet. You are immersed in a world that has been created from scratch, in which you can experience a lot of things.

Augmented reality allows you to add virtual elements to the real world. A bit like Pokémon Go, for example, an opponent can jump from the ceiling of your room and shout, "I won the election! »

This is what Project Tango from Google, or the HoloLens headset from Microsoft, offers.

360 video is an immersive video, you can look in all directions. It works as much with a headset as with a computer screen or smartphone.

To move around on the screen of the latter, simply slide your finger in the desired direction.

How can a reality be virtual?

In English, the word "virtual" (in Virtual Reality) means "quasi", so virtual reality is a "quasi-reality". Moreover, even in French, the expression "Virtual Reality" is not considered as an oxymoron.
Indeed, for the French dictionary, "reality" is not opposed to "virtual" but to "fiction". Some authors have also recalled that the opposite of "virtual" is "actual" and not "real". However, in good French, it would have been wiser to speak of a "realistic virtuality".

What can be the interests for Equatorial Guinea ?

Apart from the immersive video game, the uses of virtual reality are multiple.

From an educational point of view it can, for example, alleviate problems related to the quality of teaching in African universities. Indeed, video-headsets allow the creation of a visual, sound, tactile, and even olfactory world. Students can, for example, learn anatomy with computer-generated images that can be manipulated. The interest is that we no longer need to build huge amphitheaters that are over-equipped but also overcrowded. The student can attend classes with renowned professors without having to travel. All they need is a computer or a smartphone and a virtual reality headset.

From a medical point of view, the benefits for Equatorial Guinea can be considerable. With a critical shortage of specialists, the training process could improve. Remote-guided surgery using robots like Da Vinci could be common. This robot makes it possible to perform operations even when the team operating on the patient is thousands of miles away.

Virtual reality also helps in the cure of addictions, phobias, bipolar disorders, etc., which are relatively unknown on the continent.

Finally, this technology is not so "virtual" as it brings real solutions to real problems. It could even help to better train Cameroonian drivers 🙂

How will this be possible on the continent?

In Africa, the problem is not so much one of use as one of access to technology. Many technologies are functional elsewhere, but not south of the Sahara. I believe that the development of this part of the world will in any case be linked to the digital economy. We often say "ceteris paribus" (all things being equal). So I think, on the other hand, that these digital technologies that will transform our economy, will also change African policy on several fronts.

Our authorities would do better not to miss the turn towards these technologies. Efforts must be made by both government institutions and citizens in the creation of solid, efficient and competitive digital infrastructures. Otherwise, we would have to adapt to a change for which we have not been sufficiently prepared.

Dear Africans ! If you don't go digital, digital will make you.

Above all, I hope that virtual reality will not suffer the fate of 3D television. The brief success of the latter is, on the one hand, due to the fact that application and content developers had not been very interested in it.

For the moment, virtual reality is enjoying a certain craze among giants such as Facebook with the Oculus Rift, Microsoft with HoloLens, Samsung with the Gear VR, HTC with the HTC Vive or Sony with the Playstation VR.