Real estate has been one of the most competitive yet lucrative industries for many in India. Irrespective of how the recent economic changes will impact the sector, it will continue to prosper with the country’s growing economy and the population.
Internet Intervention in the Real Estate Industry
As the digitisation of different sectors was gradually beginning at the start of the 21st century, real estate was in line too. With the launch of online real estate classifieds like 99acres, Magicbricks etc. in the mid 2000s, property developers found a wider range of audience they could attract. With growth in urbanisation and Internet penetration, the online realty sector found several takers.
According to a study by KPMG in India & Google, Digital Classifieds In India 2020, over 50% of the current Indian real estate market is influenced by the Internet. Yet apart from progressive developments in user experience of these classifieds nothing groundbreaking has happened until recently.
Over the last couple of years, developments in the augmented reality & virtual reality technology picked up speed. For instance there are already virtual interior decorating startups like, that use AR to show how a product will look in a real space before the user makes a purchase. Certain realty classifieds also offer 360 degree tour photos of properties.
Now this technology is good enough for the existing structures, however in reality property builders try to sell off both residential and commercial properties even before they are finished. This often serves as a good deal for the buyer too. But making such a deal is tough when they don’t what they are paying for.
Recognising this as an opportunity in the market, Bangalore-based startup VirtualSpaces, is building a solution for the same. It offers the builders a way to create immersive 3D walkthroughs of the property under construction, using just the blue prints of the structure.
Virtual Spaces was started by Hemanth Velury and Abhijeet Naik to provide an easy solution to real estate developers for selling their properties. “Today, they are dependent on the consumers’ imagination. We would like to make it easier for consumers to actually get an immersive “feel” of a property and get a sense of scale, size, height and depth before they invest their hard earned money in buying a property, which for most Indians is once in a lifetime activity.” says Abhijeet, who is the CTO and chief developer of the product.
The company was founded in July 2016 by the duo to help consumers make a more definitive decision before buying a property, giving them a complete view of how the property will look like at the time of launch.
It is a Mobile Virtual Reality (VR) startup focusing on the Real Estate & allied industries such as Architectural firms & Interior Designers.
How Does it Work
VirtualSpaces allows consumers to experience a particular property without visiting it, irrespective of whether it has been built or not.
It sources a property’s blueprint from the clients i.e. the builders, and builds a 3D visualisation of it. The company uses a gaming platform to build the applications in VR. This technology that allows consumers to navigate through the space i.e. get a walkthrough of the property and get an immersive feel of the scale, size, height and depth of the property.
‘We are focused on Mobile VR i.e. Wireless, rather than using gaming Rigs which have tethered HMDs.’ explains Abhijeet. The company also calls this as a differentiator from its competitors who are currently only building VR applications of properties shot by 360° stereoscopic imagery, or offer 360° videos.
Further commenting on the progress they have achieved with their product, Abhijeet shares ‘We have managed to use the GPU of the Samsung S6 to get rendering not achieved before There is no Login process on Mobile VR globally as it is dependent on ‘gaze input’”. The company also claims to have a provisional patent for Mobile VR technology using a Head Mounted Device and a gamepad controller in India.
What’s Next in The Pipeline?
VirtualSpaces is in its early stages, and has been selected in Amplifi’s accelerator program. At present it builds custom solutions for each client from scratch. The team is working on a VRaaS (VR as a solution) product that will reduce the time required to build the customizations.
It will continue to use smartphone VR devices such as Samsung Gear VR as a delivery platform rather than building a dedicated headset, since its more economical and more readily available in the market. The team’s focus will remain on building their software product more robust and automated.
As mentioned earlier, since the same technology would come in handy for interior decorators & architects too. It will start taking clients in these areas too.
About the Founders
Hemanth Velury, the CEO, comes with significant experience in the IT industry and has worked with companies such as GE Capital, Dell and Hewlett-Packard in various roles.
Abhijeet Naik, the CTO, is a geeks geek. He is a coder and a gamer and a serial entrepreneur. He is also an expert on web technologies.