Every agent, no matter how successful, has to deal with constant scheduling conflicts. Simple interactions like a phone call can get postponed, while longer commitments like open houses get cancelled. Mark has discussed these issues in the past, and how VR can save tons of time for both agents and clients. This is why we’re looking into solutions like virtual reality.
The applications are obvious. Say you make some time to go to an open house, but your partner is busy. Or you are moving across the country, and you want to be able to show your family all of the homes you’ve been looking at. You can send one of these videos, which are useable with or without a virtual reality headset, and give them a virtual tour of every room.
To test out this technology, we partnered up with the Google Cloud team, who used a Ricoh Theta S to take photos and video of several rooms at one of our Inner Richmond listings. Although the images aren’t high quality, the process took all of five minutes. James Brown, one of the solutions engineers at Google, showed how easy it is to take a photo:
You can see the results of the shoot here. You can click on the video window and drag your mouse in order to view the 360-degree image.
We’ve worked with virtual reality in the past, but many of the tools Google is offering make this process extremely fast and intuitive. The camera and tripod used at the shoot were relatively inexpensive, and even in a listing of this size capturing images of every room would likely take less than an hour. Part of the challenge of new technologies is finding ways that agents can easily integrate them into their daily process. As such, ease of use is critical.
In that vein, Google’s Cloud Vision API can assign metadata to captured images, organizing them by the content of the image and even extracting and saving any text captured in images. This indexes the photos and makes them searchable automatically, without the agent having to lift a finger. You can see it in action here, where they used their API to organize a ‘galaxy’ of photos from Wikimedia commons.
We’ll be working on VR technology in the future, so stay tuned!