The property game will forever be changed, with Villawood Properties today unveiling the world’s first virtual reality display village at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image.
Using an Oculus Rift headset and hand controller, users are fully immersed as they explore a highly-‐realistic three-‐ dimensional computer-‐generated simulation of display homes within a landscaped street, replicating the developer’s vision for its Rathdowne community in one of Melbourne’s newest suburbs, Wollert.
Villawood Properties Executive Director, Rory Costelloe, explained the virtual display village had been rendered using computer-generated imagery (CGI) in the highest quality resolution, delivering the closest comparable experience to actually walking through and exploring a physical display village.
“Villawood Properties is always looking to innovate and evolve with the ultimate goal of delivering a better level of experience to the people looking to buy in our communities.
“Through the virtual display village, we can give customers better guidance around the size and type of home suitable for their block of land, much earlier in the process which can take up to 18 months. This in turn provides greater choice and convenience in selecting their home.
“The virtual display village at Rathdowne is unlike anything the property industry has ever seen before and will transform the way property is marketed, with its wide-‐ranging implications for builders, developers and customers alike,” Mr. Costelloe said.
Villawood’s virtual display village has been created in collaboration with five of the country’s most forward-‐thinking builders who recognised the game-‐changing opportunity to engage with Australian home-‐buyers. The collaboration is also a first-‐of-‐its-‐kind and for the past six months, Villawood has been working closely with Porter Davis, Nostra Homes, Dennis Family Homes, Simonds and Eight Homes, who each signed a confidentiality agreement.
As one of the five builders that collaborated on Villawood’s virtual display village, Nostra Homes’ General Manager, Travis McIver explained that a virtual display could be completed in a much shorter timeframe and for a fraction of the cost of one in the physical world.
“A great aspect about a virtual display village is the time difference in bringing the product to life for our clients to experience. Typically, our displays take approximately six months to complete construction once land is ready to build on. With VR bringing our display to life removes this timeframe and clients can experience our new displays/designs sooner than ever,” said Mr. McIver.
In addition to exploring cutting edge home designs, consumers will also be able to explore some of the Rathdowne community’s surrounds, including a streetscape, landscaped wetlands and feature entryway adorned with public art, which is a hallmark of all Villawood communities.
For months, Villawood has been working with an independent designer and CGI specialist Grand Visuals to create an immersive and fully customisable experience – one that would give the user complete control of their journey through the virtual world. This control and the ability to interact with elements within the virtual world are what set Villawood’s virtual display village apart from anything the Australian property market has ever seen.
ACMI Chief Experience Officer, Seb Chan, spoke at the launch of Villawood’s Virtual Display Village, explaining while various iterations of ‘Virtual Reality’ (VR) have been used by the property sector, most have been utilising 360 photography or videography of existing spaces or structures, simply viewed through a VR headset.
“To date, there has been a lot of activity with 360 video in the real estate space, but now we’re starting to see growth in interactive virtual reality. The difference being, the latter offers an immersive experience which they can engage with and control and it more like a video game model in that you can move smoothly through the environment, rather than stepping between photographic ‘hot spots.’
“The interactive VR space is also impressive from the production side in that architects and builders can export their models straight into the virtual world and the end product is really exciting because it allows them to connect with stakeholders in a new, more meaningful way,” said Mr. Chan.
Victorian Minister for Planning, Richard Wynne, welcomed the initiative as an example the innovation and sense of global culture that defines the State, as forward-‐thinking businesses in the property sector put the needs of Victorian homebuyers first.
“This is a wonderful initiative that will give Victorians a better sense of the communities where they are hoping to buy a land and a home where they can raise a family, earlier in the homebuying process.”
“Everyone deserves the safety and security of their own home. There’s no simple solution to improving housing affordability, but the Victorian Government is unlocking lots of land to drive supply, cutting stamp duty on eligible homes and doubling the First Home Owner Grant in regional Victoria to help more young people achieve their dreams of homeownership.”
Villawood’s virtual display village will be available exclusively at Rathdowne for the initial phase from midday on 14 April, however, Villawood intends to roll out the technology to additional communities and is currently scoping out which communities will next benefit from the technology.
Mr. Costelloe concluded, “Particularly in the greenfields space, a virtual display village provides an opportunity to give an immersive demonstration of the future landscape of a community and convey the placemaking elements that will make each project unique. We can’t wait to roll this out across future communities!”
An online media kit for Villawood’s world-‐first virtual display village is available here and will be updated further from 1pm on Friday 23rd March with photo and video assets: http://bit.ly/2IKddsj
For more information or to arrange an interview or pictures, please contact Erica Moloney, Manager of Media and Communications at Villawood Properties or Megan Chambers at Modern Currency:
Erica Moloney, Villawood Properties E: firstname.lastname@example.org P: 03 9695 3014 | M: 0421 289 036
Megan Chambers, Modern Currency E: email@example.com P: 03 9021 2950 | M: 0401 470 609
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