Real estate classified websites looking for the next big thing to differentiate their offerings might want to check out a new 3D walk through technology from Canadian vendor Urbanimmersive. That’s what RE/MAX Quebec did. The largest network of brokers in Quebec, with 3,500 agents and 139 offices across the province, RE/MAX announced this week a collaborative agreement with Urbanimmersive that will bring the latter’s “AVU3D technology to would-be home buyers.
The AVU3D system allows users to enter a virtual representation of a property online and then to navigate it using the keyboard. Interactive blue dots appear overlaid on the images to show which way a user can go (climb up the stairs, open the back door and walk out, that kind of thing).
Where AVU3D gets particularly interesting is the social element: each user in a virtual home tour gets his or her own avatar and can interact with other users (and participating Realtors, presumably) through text chat bubbles. There are also gamification options: a sponsoring property agent could add points to the blue dots so that a visitor who explored found all the hidden nooks and crannies could get bonuses redeemable in the real world.
Will that lead to a greater chance of a sale? We’re not so sure. But parent company Urbanimmersive thinks so: they’ve even built an option for Realtors to customize the game experience on a per tour basis, rather than just use the out-of-the-box functionality.
There are both desktop and mobile versions of the AVU3D technology (iPhone and iPad only so far). We downloaded the iPhone version: it’s still clunky, but we’ll give Urbanimmersive a break and check back in with RE/MAX in the coming months to see how (and if) homebuyers are taking to the new technology.