CHENNAI: A Google Cardboard unit, a few laptops and half an hour was all it took for Ravi Sundar, a 45 year old fi rst time property buyer, to zero in on the three-bedroom apartment in a Chennai suburb he bought last week. “I was shown a very convincing 3D tour of the apartment just minutes after I showed up at the developer’s offi ce. I was expecting a long drive and a visit to a hot construction site. This,” Sundar pointed out, “was a lot easier.” Sundar is not the only one who has opted for the hi-tech route to scope out potential homes.
Virtual and Augmented Reality is fast becoming a mainstay for realty transactions. Sudharshan B, another recent home buyer, was also treated to a highly detailed virtual tour of model apartments. “I did go to the site later, but it was the VR tour that convinced me.” Real estate developers have caught on to customer preferences. After all, it also reduces costs for promoters and developers to a signifi cant extent. “Akshaya was a pioneer in this form of customer service and we have been offering this option to prospective home-buyers for nearly a decade.
Now, it is a mainstream offering for all our projects,” stated Chitty Babu, chairman and managing director, Akshaya Homes Pvt Ltd. VR and AR (augmented reality) solutions let customers take virtual tours of homes and projects, especially common areas, from offi ces and even homes. According to technology fi rms who provide these solutions to developers, the demand for such services have risen sharply over the last two years. “Our product is fi nding quite a lot of traction in the real estate space. We have a number of clients and we are developing dedicated solutions for some of them,” pointed out Suresh Babu, proprietor of View360, a technology fi rm that specialises in VR.
“I only expect this to keep growing, because the concept is highly convenient — to both customers and developers.” Other platforms like Housing.com and Tata Housing have also begun concentrating on the offering. In December last year, the two tied up to create a digital platform that also involved creating interactive tools like virtual reality, creation of exclusive content through its design studio, etc.
According to the companies, Tata Housing will use some of these solutions and technologies on its digital platforms. Commenting on the deal, Tarun Mehrotra, Head Sales and Marketing at Tata Housing said the advent of technology and emergence of digital platform had changed the way people bought homes. “The deployment of a solution of this nature and scale is unprecedented in the country and we are certain that it will change the way we buy homes,” added Mani Rangarajan, Chief Business Offi cer, Housing.com.