Personalisation is hot in the real estate market. Customers want to see where they will work or live before it is built. It's a way to make sure everyone is on the same page and a great way to convince the customer. A while ago, I wrote an article about Hyper-personalisation, but how do we approach this? Can we show infinite possibilities to customers, or does technology limit us?
Personalising through 3D visualisation
To create great looking 3D images, you need talented people and lots of time to create these images. When an image is put together in the professional programs, everything needs to be rendered. Rendering is calculating the light and material properties with bulky computers and putting them together to create the image. Because of these hours of calculation, there is no way to show a new image to the customer within minutes, let alone seconds. You could, however, create every possible outcome into a realistic-looking image. An approach that is not only painstaking but because of the amount of work it required, expensive.
Let's say you can change two things in the room with five different possibilities. You end up with 25 images in total to cover all options and display them whey they are needed. When adding the choice between 5 kitchens, the number explodes rapidly to 125 images!
Working this way is slow and hard to scale. If every image takes about 2.5 hours to complete you would be talking about a stunning 312.5 hours of just calculations (work not included). And that is just for 15 options in total added to the mix.
Creating variation using layers
To make sure you don't have to create an image for every variation of the room, you can just change parts of the image. The way it works is similar to the image below: a specific layer is put on top of the image and sent back to the viewer. To simplify it further, you are basically putting a sticker on top of a picture so the original image is altered.
Working this way, you get a lot more flexibility. Where you used to have 25 different images, you can now combine different layers. The layers minimise the number of images to render.
In the example, we have five options for wall colours and five different floors. With these options, you can give everyone different images composed of these ten choices in total.
If you want to start changing objects it becomes a lot more complex. Adding 5 different kitchens into the mix like the last example, you'll see that the number of layers you have to create grows exponentially as well.
You'll get yourself in just as many troubles as the pure rendering method.
Leveraging game technology for maximum flexibility
Different from all methods above, real-time technology allows us to change complete images without any rendering times or limitations. All elements in the image can be replaced with a single mouse click. Want to change a material? No problem, the change is instant, and changes in objects do not affect the complexity in the buildup of the image because you are directly changing the state of the 3D scene. You are skipping all this complexity.
Working with game technology does no longer mean your scene looks unrealistic or doesn't have enough detail. A quality I'm sure you would like to avoid. Check out the result that can achieve with real-time engines the video below. These leaps in quality are the result of a growing request for truly customisable spaces to give more value to the customer.
There is only one considerable drawback to this system: you need a PC to run these experiences. So for a lot of applications, the customer can't start configuration on your website.
Taking game technology to the web
If you have searched for a solution to the configuration option, you have probably already come across the in-browser game solutions. A great way to make a scene interactive while in a browser.
This is a great solution if you want to allow people to configure a room. But it has the major drawback that the quality isn't just there yet. Having game technology running on all kinds of devices and inside all browsers takes a toll on the capability to create a really great image.
Hybrid is the way to go (at this moment)
While online 3D is starting to show potential in the real estate, it's great to show products but not there yet when it comes to spaces or whole buildings.
The most flexible option at this moment is working with a real-time framework like Prompto, you either choose the full render or the layered approach above to start to combine with real-time rendering, supported by automation scripts. Because of the speed where images render, there is no need to develop complex configurators or spend hundreds of hours creating renders.
And besides that, because you are working in real-time, you can take customers into the scene and give them a fully interactive experience they have never seen before.
Interested in how this technology will help you convert into more customers? Check out prompto.com and contact the team!