Everyday, we see or hear how technology is revolutionizing various industries. From AI, machine-learning, to blockchain, digital technologies are changing the world as we know it. And Microsoft is making sure its partners are equipped to drive innovation in this age of digital transformation.
Microsoft sees its partner’s success as its own and is squarely focused on delivering a true, two-way partnership with its partner network. It continues to build on a foundation of trust, collaboration, and growth to help its partner companies deliver cutting-edge technology to millions of customers. It’s through this ecosystem that Microsoft helps its partners innovate, grow, and differentiate their businesses across all industries…including real estate.
Real estate in the Philippines, like in the rest of the world, is a valuable commodity. In 2015, final results of the 2015 Annual Survey of Philippine Business and Industry (ASPBI) showed that a total of 4,826 establishments in the formal sector of the economy were engaged in real estate activities. That same year, real estate also contributed the major share in income and expense as the sector generated a total income of PhP 534.5 billion.
But the real estate industry has, for the most part, remained static throughout the years. Traditional practices are still commonplace, especially in the Philippines. This means that there is a significant opportunity for real estate brokers to innovate and reach a bigger share of the market.
Virtual and augmented reality
Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are often viewed as technology of the future. But the reality is it’s already being used today. Mostly popularly utilized in gaming, virtual reality has a slew of other uses, some of which have truly transformed their respective industries.
From academic research to engineering, design, business, the arts and entertainment, there are many more uses of VR. But no matter how you look at it, VR produces a set of data which is then used to develop new models, training methods, communication and interaction. In many ways the possibilities are endless.
In the real estate market, VR is becoming more popular among consumers and businesses as well. 3D cameras have educated the marketplace, creating an impact. Forward-thinking realtors are already moving beyond photos -- and even 360-degree video -- and offering clients 3D virtual property “tours” right on their devices. There are different levels of 3D aggregators on the market, but they are still in the early days for real estate.
Democratizing immersive virtual tours
VR/AR has revolutionized the way real estate businesses generate revenue. There are now a number of firms providing VR technology for virtual home viewings, staging and other uses. When real estate agents are looking for an edge in marketing their listings, they turn to 3D virtual tours. Nothing grabs attention quite like 3D, as 3D virtual tours get clicked on more often, get more phone inquiries, and generate more email inquiries versus those without.
Today, when a real estate agent wants to create a virtual tour of a home, he or she has to use special capture equipment. 3D cameras are expensive, complex, and are very time-consuming to operate. This led Simon Gemayel, CEO and Founder of HomeSpace360, to utilize smartphone technology to create, share, and display 360 content in 2D and 3D, at a fraction of the cost.
“Technology is the great equalizer. And we want to enable all realtors by democratizing immersive virtual tours through user-friendly technology. With HomeSpace360, we use smartphone technology to bring high quality 3D virtual tours within reach of every marketer,” said Gemayel.
HomeSpace360 offers brokers an all-in-one mobile app for creating high-quality 8K 2D and 3D photographic and video VR experiences directly on a smartphone. Together with the HomeSpace360 Cloud, the end-to-end automated system offers property marketers a solution for quickly and inexpensively capturing, distributing, and visualizing properties in 2D and 3D on web, mobile and in VR. It is a low-cost alternative to a 3D camera for providing immersive virtual tours.
The first of its kind, HomeSpace360 is a platform that allows real estate marketers to deliver gorgeous, immersive 360-degree virtual tours to prospective buyers and renters at scale, using both smartphones and virtual reality headsets. High quality 3D virtual tours used to be locked behind expensive, complex, and cumbersome equipment…until HomeSpace360.
How does it work? HomeSpace360 is very intuitive and easy to use, not to mention fast. A kit provides realtors everything they need to create and share high quality 360 virtual tours immediately. A HomeSpace360 kit includes: a (1) Mobile VR viewer, (2) battery-free smartphone rotator, (3) lightweight tripod with carrying bag, and an (4) HD fisheye lens for 3D capture.
Built on the Microsoft Azure cloud platform, HomeSpace360 is redefining how people view and acquire properties in today’s digital age. “With our technology, marketers can easily transport their clients to 10, 20, even 30 properties in an hour,” added Gemayel.
Through its robust partner ecosystem, Microsoft gives its partners access to the latest technology and guidance on how to extend that technology to build tailor-made solutions. “It’s exciting to see partners like HomeSpace360 create democratizing solutions to today’s problems with Microsoft technology. Microsoft Partners such as HomeSpace360 are at the center of our digital transformation as they continue to enable our customers to achieve more,” said Eileen Ong, Microsoft Director of Commercial Partners & Small Medium Corporate Business Units.