The following is a guest post by Milan Baic, creative director at Cordon Media Inc. For years, the Toronto-based 
boutique agency has been creating immersive, interactive experiences on the web. They’ve worked with Madison Square Garden, Scotiabank, Maple Leafs Sports and Oh Henry, to name just a few high profile clients. In early 2010, the company began focusing on mobile app development, more specifically iPad apps.
Read our original post about the Condo App here!

Our friends from Madison Square Garden had an interesting problem 2 years ago. They were undergoing one of the biggest renovation projects in their history and spent millions of dollars upgrading the Garden for the 21st century. In this effort, they were offering luxury suites… mostly to Fortune 500 companies.

What they wanted to do was build a presentation centre to showcase all of these great new products, and give a feel to their customers on how it would all pan out. Much like residential real estate, really. The showrooms were great, however, they do require the buyer to actually be there.

In today’s world, getting your buyers to actually show up is becoming increasingly difficult. As a result, roughly 10% of the current suite holders at the Garden have ever stepped foot into the actual sales centre. A statistic that is alarming when considering how many millions of dollars were invested into the physical space. We solved this problem with a digital version of that same sales environment.

It was flexible, engaging, personalized, and a fraction of the cost of what the brick and mortar version cost.In residential real estate, we have a similar problem. The pre-sales process makes it difficult to convey a product that doesn’t really exist. Developers are always trying to give buyers the best possible view into what this promised product will look like. In this effort, most high rise projects construct presentation centres to bring presence and ‘officialness’ to their promises. Building one can be quite costly to design, construct and maintain. Not to mention constructing model units themselves.


Typically, there are three ways to portray this ‘future’ product:a. building a sales center (brick and mortar)

b. get an interior design firm to render it

c. create interactive panels to showcase it

All of these can be quite costly, the more physical work is involved the more it costs. Rendering is often the most inexpensive way to portray spaces, however it can be very static and uninvolved. Buyers typically have a poor sense of space if they can’t walk around, and move about in an interior space. Interactive panels are also quite detached, and can be very costly. It involves installing expensive equipment, and can cost as much as an actual showroom. So we asked ourselves, could we create an experience that was more personal, customizable, and cost effective than the options currently available?

We started out by working from a floor plan, and a sample rendering of what the interior designer intended for the spaces. From these two components, we were able to recreate model suites fairly quickly and easily. By placing a panoramic camera within the virtual model, we were able to capture 360 degree views of the interior that we later fed to an iPad. The iPad itself would then utilize a compass and gyroscope to determine the direction and orientation of the device as you hold it in your hand… thus giving the buyer a realistic view into the 3D space by just moving about the device.You can walk around, and look around the space by just moving around with the iPad in your hands. It really does feel like you’re there. We also found many low-rise developers had an interest in allowing buyers to customize various finishes as they were looking around the space.

Because the builder has access to a vast virtual material library for the showrooms, the space can be customized in virtually any way from custom cabinets, fixtures, floors, windows… pretty much anything they can imagine. Without investing and sourcing rare materials for a showroom, builders have the ability to showcase exactly what they want.

Buyers also have a completely realistic view into their future home, allowing them to see in real time what certain upgrades or features look like. Updates, material changes, and layout changes can easily be implemented without the expensive cost of reconfiguring a brick and mortar showroom. This is something a physical model can’t do.

The labour involved in creating virtual models never really goes to waste. It can always be used for resale sometime in the future. In the long run, this could prove to be a huge advantage for developers in cost savings, and flexibility.

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