VR Tours - What's all this hype about?
31 July 2021
When the concept of Virtual Reality was launched, I remember dreaming about being able to play the Sims or Minecraft in Virtual Reality. I was barely 13 and was heavily obsessed with Minecraft.
Initially, Virtual Reality was a concept that was first intended to revolutionize gaming and entertainment. They seemed like the most obvious use cases.
Interesting Enough, Earlier Versions of VR were also more focused on theatre experiences. A theatre that provided more sensory input than just sight. Before the Introduction of any Computers or Screens, early VR was just a Mechanical Device. The early 70s saw some development in the Industry, where it started being used in Medicine, Aviation Training and Military Training.
In an interesting turn of events, in 1994, in the inauguration for the Visitor Centre in the Dudley Castle in England, a 3D Reconstructed Walkthrough was created.
The Walkthrough depicted how the Castle would look as it was in 1550, when it was first finished, after a series of Conquests and Refurbishing, and before a Fire in 1750.
The Queen called it a "Virtual Tour" because it was a cross between a Royal Tour and Virtual Reality.
Over Time, These Virtual Tours became extremely popular with the Real Estate Industry. They started Experimenting with better ways of showcasing their properties - Images and Flyers upgraded to Videos, Videos were Upgraded to VR Tours which were interactive and worked at the pace user wanted. Lets go over each one by one -
Photographs and Flyers -
Ever since Photography and Mass Printing became easier, this has been the cheapest medium of Advertising. Realtors have long used this method for Advertising. While being cheap, the method does not Guarantee advertising to the right group of people and we often find flyers given to the wrong people littered around, which greatly affects the goodwill of a company and adds to the Environmental Damage.
Videos and Video Based Tours
Another Popular Method of Marketing Properties. Videos became popular as soon as the hardware associated and the Internet became popular. Videos, while being a little more expensive to shoot and produce, work in a single line. Once started, there's no way the user can explore the space the way he wants to. Everything lies at the discretion of the Video Editor. They also require expensive Hardware, Software and Human Resources to Produce.
Probably the most exciting out of them all, VR Tours are interactive experiences created with Panoramas, or 360-Degree Images of a Space, which mimic the experience of actually being in the space. These Walkthroughs are interactive, and are designed to work at the pace and style the viewer wants. The viewer can navigate Spaces the way they think best, in the order they want.
VR Tours are also accessible and very easy to make these Days. They elevate pictures to another level in an extremely simplistic manner, and put the Users in the Driving Seat. On top of this, you can easily share them with a Web Link, and anyone, from anywhere can see it.
VR Tours just have the initial cost of the 360-Degree Pictures, and creation, which is comparable with the prices of Commercial Photography.
A relatively basic Walkthrough can be made with Panoramas from a Mobile Device and with some help from free VR Tour Creators.
These impactful Tools support almost all images - from professional 360 Equirectangular Pictures to iPhone Panoramas.
The VR Tours can be integrated with Background Music, Popups, Additional Images, Videos and Gifs that highlight important Landmarks in the property, and tell Visitors about things to lay emphasis on.
These can also be integrated with an AI-Powered Talkbot, which can be programmed to detect Voice Input and Answer Questions in Real Time. Moreover, they're secure and are far better at Analytics than any of the other Methods. VR Tours give you precise Analytics about Clicks, View Time, The way people explore the Tour and more. Apart from the slight initial cost, I don't see any drawback to this method.
From Newspaper Listings, to Handing out Flyers, to VR Tours, Marketing in the Real Estate Sector has come a Long way.
In a mere span of 20 years, showcasing in the Real Estate Industry has changed and gone through so many upgrades, its hard to keep track of it.
Working in the VR Industry for almost an year now, and I can say VR Tours are here to stay.
With the ease of making, the effectiveness, the Impact on Viewers, quite a lot of Realtors have already shifted to VR.
We're not very far from the time when before buying Anything, we would check it in VR/AR, the way we research on the Internet before buying anything right now.
The Future is here, and we couldn't have been more excited about it!
Melzo has their own No-Code, Drag and Drop based VR Tour Platforms, Melzo Kalaa and Melzo Aakar. They are DIY Virtual Tour Creators. They're free to use, and you can check them out here and here. For more Details, Get in touch with a Consultant.