Virtual reality technology has taken the property viewing experience to a whole new level.
By Reuel Eugene Tay
I’m standing in the living room of a high-storey four-bedroom Highline Residences Condominium apartment. The home looks stunning. There’s gentle music playing in the background while I explore the premise from room to room. I can even see the Marina Bay Sands and the Singapore Flyer from the balcony.
It’s all fantastic…except that the said condominium is still under construction. I have just viewed a show suite that hasn’t even been completed, thanks to virtual reality (VR). Keppel Land is the first developer in Singapore to create 360-degree immersive VR show suites harnessing the state-of-the-art Oculus Rift technology. Leveraging VR technology, visitors get an accurate visual depiction of their potential future home, and immerse in the sights and sounds of the charming Tiong Bahru district. Visitors can try out the Oculus Rift VR headsets at Highline Residences Sales Gallery starting 15 October 2016.
The technology is also highly mobile, allowing Keppel Land to bring the show suites to the visitors wherever they are at—the mall, at home, or even in another country. The VR show suites also allows visitors to view the four-bedroom and low-rise three-bedroom layout which are not available at the current Highline Residences Sales Gallery.
The entire VR setup–made in partnership with VMW Group—took two months to complete and cost approximately $250,000. While property portal Propertyguru might have launched the VR mobile showroom, a similar concept a few months earlier, the tech is incomparable to that of the Oculus Rift (the star product of a VR technology company bought over by Facebook in 2014).
Once I put on the Oculus Rift VR headset, I was transported to Tiong Bahru Market Hawker Centre—it was as though I was right there. Over the next three minutes, I was brought to the popular amenities surrounding the Tiong Bahru neighbourhood from Tiong Bahru Bakery to the popular bookstore BooksActually. Finally, I arrived at Highline Residences where I got to walk the ground in the realistic show suites in the comfort of my seat.
“Keppel Land is constantly exploring new ways to provide our customers with an enhanced experience. Harnessing Oculus Rift VR technology, we are now able to showcase different configurations and apartment types without having to create the physical show suite, which is a more efficient solution especially in land-scarce cities such as Singapore,” said Albert Foo, General Manager of Marketing at Keppel Land. At press time, Foo has also confirmed that Oculus Rift VR will be a standard feature for all Keppel Land private residential projects in the future.
While I may have visited multiple showrooms as part of my work, seeing a show suite via VR was a first for me, and it was a pleasant experience. Singaporeans will have something new to look forward to as we see developers innovate the show-flat viewing experience, even if it means bringing the show-flat to them. Who knows, it might even be a standard feature for resale property viewings in the near future.
The 500-unit Highline Residences 99-year leasehold development is located just minutes away from Tiong Bahru MRT station and upcoming Havelock MRT station. Opened two years ago, the Highline Residences Sales Gallery showcases three physical show suites–one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom units, although there are four-bedroom units available too. Approximately 88 percent of the 320 launched units have been sold as at end-September 2016. Prices range from $1700 to $1900 per sq ft.
The virtual show suites will be made available to the general public at the Highline Residences Sales Gallery at Kim Tian Road from 15 October between 10am to 6pm daily. For more information about Highline Residences, log on to https://www.keppellandlive.com/highline.
Editor’s note: This story first appeared in City News on October 16, 2016.