Virtual Reality nudges realty to make buying, renting or furnishing a home, just an app away.
From Anand Parthasarathy
Bangalore, March 2 2015: Caveat emptor, the latin phrase which means 'buyer beware', seems like good advice when are buying a new home -- a transaction that can cost anything from Rs 20 lakhs to Rs 1 crore or more in cities these days. Which is why many prospective house hunters would dearly like to add another caveat: 'try before you buy'.
This is difficult, when many properties are still under construction when booking starts -- so it is difficult to visualize how the finished and furnished apartment or villa will look like. But thanks to a combo of a phone app -- and technologies like 3-D, virtual reality and augmented reality, you can at least 'look before you leap': immerse yourself in virtual realizations of the fully constructed property, before leaping for your check book.
Last week online real estate platform CommonFloor.com launched a solution that provides users with a near-real visual experience of the project that are looking to buy. The tool called CommonFloor Retina (CFRetina) harnesses a new tool -- Google Cardboard. This is a cardboard cutout mount that, when combined with a pair of lenses and a tiny magnet and strapped to the phone with a rubber affords a virtual reality experience. It works with an Android app that turns images into twin stereoscopic views. The lenses allow a person to perceive left and right images as a single three-dimensional image. The magnet on the headgear acts as a navigation tool. The CFRetina app can be selected to let you walk through some 20 upcoming housing projects -- some 500 , India-wide are in the pipeline. The Cardboard attachment can be purchased for Rs 1000 but if you are the DIY type, Google provides instructions for assembling it.
Another leading online real estate portal, IndiaProperty.com, launched its own augmented reality-based Real Estate Mobile Application last year. The user needs to install the 3DPanoX app -- then scan the logo of the project or the image on a brochure or newspaper advertisement using their smartphone camera. The app provides a 3-D visualization of the whole project along with panoramic shots, floor plans and other project details. India Property also leverages 3-D imagery in its web portal with tools like TruView and Virtual Walk-through.
For those who want to check out the locality of a new construction, Housing.com provides a drones-eye view, allowing you to navigate around the area, much as you would pilot a glider.
Searching on the keyword Vaastu will bring up a number of apps which use the device camera and compass capabilities to judge directional compliance. Users can choose Entry Door, Living Room, Bedroom, Kitchen, etc, point the camera and tap focus on the screen image, and the Vastu compliance result will be displayed .
One of the hassles of house hunters is making a quick plan of an apartment. RoomScan is a truly amazing free app, that works only with iPhone and iPad because it harnesses the gyroscope and GPS on the phone. Open this app on your phone, tap it against all four walls in the room, and your phone will sketch out the floor plan of the room! The floor plans are accurate within 15 cms. The $4.99 paid version lets you map windows and other openings.
For Android users , there is a somewhat cruder app called MagicPlan which measures your rooms and draws your floor plan, just by taking pictures. Happy home hunting!
Link to YouTube Video on CommonFloor Retina
Link to YouTube Video on IndiaProperty 3DPanoX app
Link to YouTube Video on RoomScan