Tourly at Buildex Express and What VR can do for Construction Companies

Tourly at Buildex Express and What VR can do for Construction Companies

VR is not the newest gimmick, it is the next wave of digital revolution and it is here to stay. Early adopters of VR all over the world are reaping the benefits. As the only VR service aimed at applied uses within the construction and design industries, Tourly was greatly encouraged by the positive reception of our demo at Buildex Express.

What we learned at CVR 2016

We had a booth at the CVR 2016 this year, the first international conference and exhibition of virtual reality for consumers. It was a great experience, we had a lot of fun and got to talk to a lot of people. Some visitors to our booth put us on the spot with some very good questions, which ended up being very beneficial for us.

One thing we have really come to acknowledge is the need to shun elitism in VR technology. High-end VR is great, there is a lot of innovation out there, but considering mobile VR inadequate would be simply counter-productive.

I have followed the development of VR with intense fervor, and I have a lot of reverence for the smart people who are at the edge of things developing mind-melting immersive video games. Meanwhile I'm also really proud of Tourly for providing a practical solution with VR, bringing it to the mass consumers. Ultimately technology is meant to make lives better, and it needs to be accessible for the average user in order to make an actual impact.

With that purpose in mind, we have opted for maximum comfort, reducing movement to minimize motion sickness resulting from any incongruence between the absence of actual kinetic movement vs. perceived movement. We did demos none-stop for nearly nine hours during the CVR, with each demo ranging between 3 to 6 minutes. We are happy to say that there has been no reports of significant discomfort.

Most people enjoyed the Tourly experience while we still used the cardboard headset, but a certain segment of the population more prone to VR sickness was not faring so well. Our switch from the cardboard headset to the Samsung Gear VR was a good choice in hind sight, because the external accelerometers and gyroscope combined with the delegation of resources to the phone's graphic processor made sure we got high frame rate and low latency all the time. Combined with the removal of all virtual motion, there is now little to no discomfort.

For VR to reach the masses, it cannot turn people off. It cannot be uncomfortable to use, and it must be accessible. Technology isn’t here to intimidate, it’s here to help. With Tourly now in beta testing with brokerages across Canada, we are excited to hear the feedback and refine our next steps.

We want to do for real estate what Mizuguchi did for Rez

I pretty much squealed when I read The Real Way to Play Rez Infinite: in a VR Vibrating Suit today in Wired Magazine. Game designer Tetsuya Mizuguchi re-designed the Playstation 2 awesomeness that is Rez to integrate a VR vibrating suit and a headset. For those of you who haven’t tried, Rez is a musical shooter game. I’m sure this description is enough to puzzle a lot of people, so I give you a quote from the author of the Wired article, describing his experiences with the game in the bodysuit:

“Things start off subtle at first, but soon, the many, many actuators and rumblers on the suit are hitting me on my chest, arms, and legs with each beat of the music. It’s remarkably synchronized. Every Rez player knows that little pattern of quick beats that you hear when you fire all of your rhythmic shots at a single object. Now I feel each individual one of those rapid-fire beats,bapbapbapbapbap on my body.”

Wired author  Chris Kohler  donning the PlayStation VR and the custom full-body suit at PlayStation Experience. Photo by  Wired

Wired author Chris Kohler donning the PlayStation VR and the custom full-body suit at PlayStation Experience. Photo by Wired

As is the case with a lot of tech-related articles, the first reaction is always:”Yup, they did it, it’s happening”. The individual outlandish visions of our generation from years ago, banter amongst friends resulting in silly giggles: “What if they made Rez in actual VR, like, make your body vibrate and stuff?” “What if they made gps for your phone, and you could just carry it around?” “What if you could read your lecture pdfs on a hand-held device, wherever you go?” “What if you could tour a house without actually being there?”

What seemed entertaining yet ridiculous ten or even five years ago are becoming everyday realities. We are so used to many of these advances that we are not even aware of how sci-fi fantasy these inherently are. We spend way too much time on the toilet because instead of shampoo bottles, we read world news and watch videos of people pranking each other on our phones (or it could just be me). This phone takes an ridiculously short time to charge, and provides an unlimited stream of information and entertainment throughout the day. How magical is that? Tell that to the person getting frustrated over the Nokia snake game circa 2002 (me). 

Earlier this week, B. and I met up with a friend, E., who is in real estate. We did a demo with the Tourly app and adaptor with E. As I watched E. explore the app like a curious kid, it occurred to me how accessible and simple once outlandish ideas have become.

Our friend E. using the Tourly headset (inspired by Google Cardboard) to explore a virtual reality immersive real estate tour on the Tourly android app. This was the most  Bladerunner  filter I could find on VSCO. 

Our friend E. using the Tourly headset (inspired by Google Cardboard) to explore a virtual reality immersive real estate tour on the Tourly android app. This was the most Bladerunner filter I could find on VSCO. 

Experience immersive virtual reality in a crowded little coffee shop, with nothing but an inexpensive cardboard headset and your own phone? Yaaas! This is the age of the flattening out of technological hierarchy, most of the really impressive stuff out there is still unattainable to the average user, yet here is this amazing vr adapter that lets you experience virtual reality. 

You don’t need a studio, it doesn’t cost your car, and there isn’t need to read a big manual or learn anything new at all. Pop the phone in the headset, that’s it, you’re done. They say Google Cardboard is the democratizer of virtual reality; they are right. 

This is how the Wired author summed up his Rez Infinite gaming experience: "All your senses are perceiving the stimuli in harmony, and, if the magic takes hold, you feel something greater than the sum of all its parts.

Virtual reality experiences are indeed very gestaltish; the sum of the parts are always greater than its whole, you're no longer looking, you are feeling, you are beingBy moving one step forward from Rez HD, Mizuguchi took his musical shooter to a whole new level. Not that what we are doing is anywhere near as cool as Mizuguchi (excuse the fangirling), but we do want to take virtual reality tours one step further in that direction. Mirroring intense developments of VR technology as the next level of experiencing and entertaining, immersive real estate tours are the natural progression from the current industry standard. 

Making experiences special with virtual real estate

By B.

Moving can be fun, stressful, magical, touch, etc – take your pick. My latest experience involved moving from Toronto to Vancouver for work. The experience was eased significantly thanks to the help of a relocation agency out of California -she helped coordinate the packing and transporting of my entire life.

Yet with all the help from this agency I was hitting a wall when it came to finally choosing a place to live. I spent a week scrolling through photos, sending emails and trying to book visits for the moment I landed (not fun with such a small window of time). Given all the factors I was considering including cost, location, footage, etc – there was always one determining factor which weighed heaviest; the tour.

While its unlikely virtual tours will completely replace traditional walk-throughs any time soon, they offer the viewer a special look inside the property unlike traditional photos. Now, let’s take that virtual tour experience and add a new dimension by making it completely immersive with a headset and head tracking technology.

I will never forget my first VR experience and being able to share that with people and watch their gasps of amazement while they spin around continues to be the best reward. But these experiences aren’t done in front of a computer or in a virtual room outfitted with sensors but at home, at the office, on the bus, etc. This is because the VR experiences I speak of are all thanks to a Smartphone and an inexpensive tourly VR adapter (about $25 retail).

Now imagine taking those experiences and putting them in the hands of buyers and renters from around the country (this is where I tell you that I could have used something like this in my experience). Imagine being able to give people an immersive tour of the property before and after the actual showcase. They can then share the experience with friends and family – not to mention being able to say “Hey, want to try my virtual reality headset?”

Well as it happens, if you’re a realtor and want to be one of the first to offer Virtual Reality tour services - join our Vancouver Beta Test:

Spots are limited so don’t hesitate.