Zillow Using Virtual Reality to Give Users a More Authentic View of Potential Real Estate Investments
Online real estate listings company Zillow has launched a 3D home viewing tool that allows real estate agents to display more immersive views of the properties that are available for sale. The Zillow 360-degree tool will capture images from iPhones or the Ricoh Theta 360-degree cameras and process them to provide users with virtual tours of the properties listed on the platform.
The feature, which is known as 3D Home, was integrated into the Zillow website and mobile app on Monday and allows users to step into a 3D immersive virtual room as they browse through online property listings. The tools will be particularly useful for real estate agents who can rely on the immersive 3D images to perform online tours and potentially save on the costs of actual physical tours of the property. The real estate agents will be able to capture images of properties in their portfolio using either their iPhones or some of Ricoh’s 3D cameras such as the Theta V and Theta Z1. The images are subsequently processed by the app to create the 360-degree view.
The resulting 360-degree imagery will give potential buyers a more realistic view and better feel of what to expect in the property they are planning to spend their lifetime savings on. Giving users a better view also quickens the decision-making process and can lead to a higher turnover.
The global virtual reality hype has slowed down in the recent years and it is still has a very limited mainstream appeal. However, there is a lot of movement and innovation in this frontier that might one day result into a breakthrough or a major market opening that will lead to mass adoption of virtual reality devices. Facebook, for one, is dreaming of such a future where virtual reality devices will be as commonplace as smartphones with more than a billion users on the planet. Such vision and ambition by one of the world’s leading tech companies and a major virtual reality investor holds the potential that VR may one day go mainstream and live up to the hype, transporting billions of users into new virtual realms.
Zillow hopes that incorporating virtual reality into the home purchase process will make the process seamless and more authentic, offering a better user experience and making the overall process a lot more enjoyable. Users will simply be able to click on buttons at the bottom of the each listing and navigate their way from room to room or to select rooms from the right side of the pages.
It will be a vast improvement from Zillow’s current 3D experience that’s feels pretty much like browsing with the Google Map’s Street View with the arrows that users can click or tap around the multiple rooms. It’s a more basic experience that does not immerse the viewer into a 3D zone like you would with an immersive virtual reality game.
Zillow is hoping to improve on its virtual reality room display with more improved reconstructions of perspectives between the camera positions so as to make it smoother and more seamless to wade your way around in VR. The online real estate company is also planning on adding a functionality that will enable the app to automatically generate floor plans, a feature that will come in handy for both buyers and sellers.
The Zillow 3D Home Tool has also been designed for ease of use by photographers, enabling sellers and real estate agents to affordably incorporate 3D views to all home listings, including the cheaper homes for sale. It also lowers the cost of creating a 3D rendering of luxury homes for sale. With the right smartphone or camera, you can photograph every room a in massive 3000-square feet of space in a matter of 10 to 20 minutes and use the footage to create a 360-degree listing on Zillow.
This simplicity and low cost helps make 3D home tours more affordable and accessible to real estate agents who might not afford the costlier photographic setups. The Zillow app does all the heavy lifting for you without the need for professional 3D and 360-degree editing services. The app not only captures the imagery but also processes these images into a 3D rendering that can be presented online for end users in a matter of minutes.