Property development marketing agency, PHNX Digital, has introduced a virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) property app for real estate company Harcourts Platinum.

According to the agency, the app, which is the first of its kind to be developed in Africa, has created a benchmark that is set to change the future of property marketing. It depicts photo-realistic vision of a furnished property and allows prospective buyers to envisage their ideal lifestyle in a home that is still to be built.

“The app makes use of location mapping, which creates a perception of the convenient lifestyle offered to prospective residents, showing the building’s proximity to the area’s main attractions. Drone photography is used to capture a crystal clear image of the area from a high vantage point. Hovering over the interactive hotspots on the map provides immediate street views, addresses and contact details. These hotspots are marked and categorised using Google Map technology,” notes the company.

Greg Jooste, founder and MD of PHNX Digital, says VR and AR offer added value to marketers.

“There will always be a need for print, but in today’s digital focused world, there needs to be a way to combine the two. And that is what AR does; it takes a motionless print advert and digitally brings it to life with a simple scan. AR has an exciting roadmap ahead, with the advancing technology and ongoing push for more interactivity from the consumer,” he says.

The app allows users to take a virtual walk through a property via their phones. It brings printed adverts to life using AR, lets users receive push notifications on new listings and allows them to make an enquiry from their phones, directly to the agent, adds Jooste.
“We are thrilled to be able to launch our AR and VR marketing offering with PHNX Digital and believe it will set new standards in the realm of real estate marketing. This exciting technology will change the way buyers view real estate and ensure they enjoy the purchasing experience they deserve,” says Steve Caradoc-Davies, principal and director of Harcourts Platinum.

“Real estate marketing has changed little in the last decade. By enhancing the viewing experience buyers will be able to engage with a property even without viewing it – thus reducing time wasted on unsuitable properties and sparing both themselves and other sellers the wasted time and inconvenience,” continues Caradoc-Davies.

Jooste says the key for AR is that it needs a platform and the app provides this platform. “You cannot scan anything if you do not have the app to do so. By getting the consumer to download the app, you are opening a channel between you and the consumer to communicate, not through the original platforms like e-mail and SMS, but now through an app, which provides detailed analytics of their movements on the app.

“PHNX Digital had been providing marketing services to Harcourts for their residential and new developments, including logo creation, Web sites, 3D renders, social media marketing and Google marketing. Creating an app for them was the logical next step. It allows us to combine all our service offerings into one platform,” continues Jooste.

PHNX developed the app in-house, to complement and combine its service offerings to clients.

“We felt there was a gap in the market for an easy-to-use tool of this type that would be easily accessible for consumers and customisable for clients’ needs. We wanted a unique app that could be easily adaptable and customised and we needed to create it from scratch,” concludes Jooste.

The app is available on both Android and iOS platforms. Its future extensions include Virtual Reality video, Augmented Reality floorplans and interactive video, concludes PHNX Digital.