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Next-gen apps a reality for Australia property sector

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Tuesday, January 15th 2013


True ‘augmented reality’ apps that reveal highly detailed property intelligence with just the scan of a smartphone are now within reach of the nation’s real estate sector, following the release of an incredible new data source. The concept of augmented reality involves users viewing a location – such as a house – through their smartphone or tablet to access enhanced data, graphics, video and audio.

The idea is growing in popularity in Australia, but the data pool for such apps in the real estate sector has traditionally been shallow and restricted to property sales history. Now a clever new data source from digital mapping specialists MapData Services – renowned for developing apps for many of Australia’s biggest businesses – has brought the dream of a legitimate property-based augmented reality experience closer to reality. MapData Services General Manager Cassandra Barker predicts the age-old tradition of buying a house will change forever.

“We have already seen banks and real estate companies dabbling in augmented reality by developing apps that allow you to take a picture of a property and view associated sales information,” Ms Barker said. “Imagine taking this to the next level and having instant access to an incredibly detailed and comprehensive pool of information – such as building materials, dwelling dimensions, and even rental history – without users even having to enter the front door. “What is the property’s rental yield; what material is the roof made from; what is its sales history? These are common industry questions that would be answered instantly. “For real estate agents, it provides another avenue to engage potential buyers and sellers; for developers, it streamlines the site selection process; and even insurers could use these capabilities to verify property details when issuing policies.” The new offering – which incorporates globally-renowned Hometrack data – is one of the most detailed and accurate sources of information on Australian properties ever assembled.

Ms Barker said beyond augmented reality, the data could also be used to create highly vivid virtual property worlds – meaning a user could become intimately familiar with a property without ever having to leave their office. “In the traditional sense, this data can be used to help businesses decide where to make their next property purchase, or identify where to open a new office,” Ms Barker said “But what is even more exciting is that we now have mapping technologies available that can take this data and pioneer truly breathtaking innovations. “For example, visualise a program that generates a real-world property inspection site, where you could view a home from multiple angles, take note of its dimensions, and experience its look and feel before a physical inspection even takes place.” Ms Barker said such futuristic concepts were no longer mere pipedreams. “It’s exciting to see that the data and technologies available have finally caught up to our imaginations,” she said. “Australian businesses now have all the tools they need to create apps and programs that could potentially transform the way they – and their clients – engage with the property market. “The future is here for an Australian real estate industry looking for the next generation of interactive technology solutions – if you can envision it, we can now make it happen.”

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