INDIANAPOLIS, Nov. 15, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Digital innovations are increasingly becoming part of everyday life. From hailing cabs with mobile apps or watching TV on the computer, to personal voice assistants such as Apple's Siri, Microsoft's Cortana and Amazon's Echo, nearly every aspect of daily life is now impacted by technology. No industry is exempt, including real estate - another market on the verge of transformation by digital innovators like Harlon Wilson from Carpenter Realtors®.
Harlon, a serial entrepreneur and innovation junkie, is at the head of this real estate transformation in Indianapolis. As the founder of one of the nation's first medical animation companies, he has an eagle-eye on recent advances in 3D imaging and virtual reality and their potential as tools for revolutionizing the real estate industry.
Putting consumers in the (virtual) driver's seat of property tours is an idea fitting the aspirations for Harlon, whose company brought Hollywood-style 3D animation into the health and life sciences industries. His products empowered, educated, and engaged patients about the risks and complications of medical treatment.
His latest foray into the 3D space seeks to do the same for real estate investors and homebuyers by transporting them into available properties via stunning 360 degree immersion experiences using a combination of Samsung's next generation Gear VR running on Facebook's Oculus Rift headset and the Galaxy S7 Edge smartphone.
As a new investor and licensed Realtor®, Harlon is excited to be the first to launch true virtual reality (VR) property tours in the Indianapolis real estate market. Harlon's most recent listing, a custom-built log cabin nestled in more than 11 acres of serene woodlands 45 miles West of Indy, can now be experienced as a 360° tour for all users or users with Samsung's Oculus VR or Google's Cardboard headsets can be transported into the home via the magic of virtual reality (View the tour at: IndyLogCabin.com.
"While the appetizing aroma of fresh-out-of-the-oven hot apple pie will be absent, you certainly can get a better look and feel of what it would be like to relax in this extra-ordinary home," Harlon suggests. "There's much to be said for 360 and VR technologies that transport the senses into the virtual space as opposed to simply viewing the lifeless experience of 2D imagery," he concludes.
Harlon's real estate strategy is different, and not just thanks to VR technology. While seasoned real estate veterans may argue, the goal of a Realtor® is to provide only enough information to entice buyers to request a tour of their listing. Harlon's approach is more focused on ease of access for buyers.
"In the hot buyer's market that we're currently experiencing, the competition is stiff. Properties are selling at record pace thus making it even more critical that buyers are able to tour listed homes swiftly. But that is not always possible as people have busy lives," Harlon asserts. "As with other tangible products that are sold over the internet today, digital experiences like 360 and virtual reality home tours allow consumers to take advantage of 24-hour shopping. By making the inventory available on the 'virtual shelf'- when and where the consumers are - the storefront is always open," he suggests.
The converging forces of increased demand, reduced inventory, and the constant churning of the buying and selling of properties makes the availability of digital solutions in real estate all the more critical. As a licensed real estate agent and investor, Harlon is excited to be one of the first to bring this cutting-edge technology to the Indianapolis market. "The combination of high-quality imagery and immersive experiences that are only made possible by advances in the virtual reality solutions of companies like Samsung, Google, Apple, Sony, and Microsoft (among others), should kick start a revolution in how we buy and sell real estate," Harlon says.
Considering the impact digital innovations have had on other industries, Harlon predicts that it is only a matter of time until consumers demand such change in real estate as well. Industry experts couldn't agree more as analysts are predicting virtual and augmented reality (AR) to be the next billion dollar industry.
According to Digi-Capital, the AR/VR market will hit $120 billion by the year 2020(1). Bloomberg analysts predict nearly 15 million headsets will be purchased by consumers by the same time(2). That includes everything from gaming consoles capable of virtual reality to mobile solutions such as Oculus Rift, the VR headset and mobile solution provided via a Facebook and Samsung partnership. According to Heather Bellini of Goldman Sachs, virtual reality is as transformational as the first "brick-like" cell phones were to the communications industry(3).
"Less than ten years ago, the capture and production of superior quality imagery required significant, time-intensive labor and super-computing processing of multiple PCs strung together via networks known as 'render farms,'" Harlon reminisces. "Pixel-by-pixel, 3D virtual content was rendered by media artists as digital content came to life in post-production. Today, I can capture an immersive 360 or VR tour within minutes with the Samsung 360 cam that can be readily posted to the web within minutes. It's truly remarkable how far this technology has come."
Harlon hopes virtual reality tours and other innovative solutions will soon become mainstream in the Indy real estate market. He's joined Carpenter Realtors® to partner in their progressive efforts to lead the way.
"At Carpenter, we use new innovations in technology to deliver a better 'shopping' experience for prospective home-buyers as they search the market," says David Caveness, President and CEO for Carpenter Realtors®. "Our new HomeTour 360…allows buyers to immerse themselves in the property, inside and out, before scheduling a live property showing. It's not just still photos; it's a true 360૦ tour. When they do schedule that appointment we know they're serious about the property and the process is less inconvenient for our Sellers."
"Harlon is an example of a new generation of brokers joining our staff. He, and others, are pushing the technology envelope as it relates to our brokerage business. It's exciting where this new technology is taking us," Caveness adds.
While futurists are predicting a technological revolution is afoot in virtual and augmented reality, Harlon has his sights set on transforming how we buy and sell real estate by providing his clients with new and more convenient shopping experiences. A relatively secret Florida start-up has earned $4.5 billion from some of the top tech investors in the world could disrupt the world of content delivery quite substantially.
According to a November Forbes report, "Magic Leap's innovation isn't just a high-tech display – it's a disruption machine. This technology could affect every business that uses screens or computers and many that don't. It could kill the $120 billion market for flat-panel displays and shake the $1 trillion global consumer electronics business to its core. The applications are profound. Throw out your PC, your laptop and your mobile phone, because the computing power you need will be in your glasses, and they can make a display appear anywhere, at any size you like(4)," David M. Walt suggests.
The combination of virtual reality display hardware (glasses or headsets) and user-friendly cameras to capture and create virtual content will result in demands for change in real estate among many other markets. Harlon believes a $4.5 billion investment to be the canary in the coal mine.
"In the not too distant future when virtual reality headsets, gaming consoles, and VR-enabled mobile devices are in consumers' homes or in their hands, I predict we will see real estate brokers to provide websites and mobile applications custom made for virtual consumer shopping experiences. Virtual reality tours will become a strategic tool for both home buyers and sellers."
Unlike today, with only a few progressive agencies like Carpenter Realtors® providing such solutions, future home buyers may one day be able to select and filter online listings to VR enabled tours. By taking the virtual tour either in their own home or with a broker at the office, users could narrow their list to favorite homes for later in-person touring with their Realtor®
"The promise of a radically improved consumer shopping experience is transformative for the real estate market," Harlon suggests. "As with other consumer-empowering digital innovations, the future is extremely bright."
1. "Augmented/Virtual Reality to hit $150 billion disrupting mobile by 2020," Digi-Capital, April 2015, http://www.digi-capital.com/news/2015/04/augmentedvirtual-reality-to-hit-150-billion-disrupting-mobile-by-2020/#.WCR75_orLcd.
2. "The Real Promise of Virtual Reality," Shira Ovide - BloombergGladfly, August 4, 2016, https://www.bloomberg.com/gadfly/articles/2016-08-04/real-promise-for-virtual-reality-are-suits-not-gamers.
3. "The Real Deal with Virtual and Augmented Reality," Heather Bellini - Goldman Sachs, February 2016, http://www.goldmansachs.com/our-thinking/pages/virtual-and-augmented-reality.html.
4. "Inside Magic Leap, The Secretive $4.5 Billion Start-up Changing Computing Forever," David Ewalt - Forbes, November 2, 2016, http://www.forbes.com/sites/davidewalt/2016/11/02/inside-magic-leap-the-secretive-4-5-billion-startup-changing-computing-forever/#7fa00eede83f.
About Harlon Wilson:
Harlon is a healthcare executive, information technology innovator, real estate investor and Realtor®. As a three-time family caregiver, Harlon discovered a passion for helping seniors & family caregivers to make housing transitions. His deep familiarity with age-in-place tech innovations and hands-on experience helping elders with voluntary downsize or care-related transitions led to his obtaining an Indiana real estate license and affiliation with Carpenter Realtors® where he is currently building comprehensive service offerings for elder homeowners and their informal family caregivers.
About Carpenter Realtors®:
With 31 locations throughout central and southern Indiana, Carpenter Realtors® helps more Indiana families buy and sell homes quickly and hassle-free. Carpenter's multi-media Home Marketing System and dedication to technology exposes a seller's home to more potential buyers than anyone else. If you're looking for broad experience, a great knowledge of Indiana homes for sale and the strength and backing of a large firm, call Carpenter.
For More Info
Harlon J. Wilson, Broker Associate
6945 E 77th Street
Indianapolis, IN 46250
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SOURCE Carpenter Realtors