Having brought virtual reality (VR) to the tourism and wellbeing industries through his companies Vizz and Zenview, local entrepreneur, Mathias Keune, is now turning his sights to the real estate sector. His new project, Beyondo, offers an innovative way of viewing property that could help change the way construction projects in Luxembourg are developed.
Image Credits: XR Expo / Unsplash
VR has often been associated with B2C applications, specifically gaming. However, the high cost of the hardware needed to experience VR has created a barrier to entry for most consumers. “A lot of people say VR will not have a big future, but they’re talking about the gaming applications…you always need a headset to access it,” explained Mathias. And not many people own a headset. Only Facebook-owned Oculus has managed to go some way in bringing VR to the masses, but not without some issues.
High costs of VR can be recovered by B2B sector
As Mathias points out though, the B2B space offers many more opportunities for VR. The high cost of the equipment can be recovered over time by the value it brings, either in generating revenue or saving costs.
Mathias’ latest project, Beyondo, looks to serve the real estate industry. He explained that as he watched VR technology evolve, he “saw this was a really interesting technology for real estate, for architects to visualise their projects, especially those that have not yet been built.” He saw its potential as a tool for selling property off-plan, or finding additional investment. An immersive experience creates a more convincing pitch than a flat powerpoint presentation.
Beyondo also enables customisation of the interiors of these apartments, so that potential buyers can better visualise different fittings and fixtures. This can be done by creating a digital twin of the original design, where a variety of finishings can be changed.
The technology behind this is the same as that used in the gaming industry, and Mathias works with a number of experienced game developers to build each VR environment. Whilst creating these virtual environments is too expensive and time consuming for each individual property on the market, it’s perfect for large-scale new-build projects, such as apartment buildings or commercial offices, where each unit is identical. The VR apartment acts as the showhouse for off-plan buyers.
Mathias came upon the idea of Beyondo after spending the early part of his career working in real estate. He worked with a real estate marketing company that was experienced in leveraging technology to create innovative marketing activities. “It was known for using technology for visualisation, but at this time no-one was thinking about virtual reality, or real-time 3D”, explained Mathias. But, his time working there gave him a good sense of how the industry worked, and what this sector needed. After success using VR technology in other industries, he saw the potential of introducing it into the property sector.
Opportunities beyond real estate
But Mathias sees plenty more industries where VR can play a role. His company, Vizz, has already successfully created a VR tourism experience for Luxembourg with Sky Swing and he has many more ideas beyond this for the sector. For example, recreating historical buildings, promoting different regions overseas or offering guided tours that transport you back in time. He also sees the ability for customisation with VR to translate to other industries. For example, in automotive, where enabling customers to immerse themselves in a product can help to upsell different features.
Beyond the commercial opportunities, Mathias sees plenty of opportunities for VR for training purposes, particularly for those working in dangerous jobs, such as firefighters. “They’re required to undertake regular training, however it can be risky to run in real life, and is expensive.” By using VR, however, they can still have a hands-on training experience which sticks much better than reading a book, or attending a lecture. According to Mathias, “it’s the combination of audio and visual input that makes it so effective.”
Whilst there are plenty of places he could take his technology, for now Mathias is focused on Beyondo. The concept has already seen an enthusiastic response from the Luxembourg real estate industry, so we might not have to wait too long to see the impact this new viewing experience will have.