November 16th//Lifestyle

Real Estate Virtual Reality Takes Flight with 360-Degree Drone Footage

Alexander Greidinger 01The sky is truly the limit for Alex Greidinger and his Swedish-based tech company, FastOut. By working with commercial drone pilots, FastOut can map out any piece of land on the globe, providing innovative services in virtual reality, digital communication, and marketing via their own specialized platform.

What does that mean for the prospective real estate buyer? They can now navigate a property on their own terms, from anywhere in the world, and in the most immersive fashion possible. Read on to discover the fine points of FastOut, how virtual reality and drone footage is revolutionizing the real estate industry, and how real estate professionals can use this technology to benefit their own listings and brand.

PT: How is FastOut taking real estate marketing to new heights?

AG: FastOut has an IT platform that makes it possible for our clients to create unique VR solutions for a fraction of what it used to cost. We have built a global self-service platform that offers clients an array of “assignments”, from 360° panoramas to videos and high resolution still images. Through the platform, customers can customize 360° drone views with points of interests (POI’s) to highlight different areas around a property. It can for example be a kindergarten, local transportation, restaurants, or a house for sale etc. We also give our customers access to our searchable gallery of thousands 360° drone views that our network of drone enthusiasts contribute building up.

PT: Where did the idea to start such a company originate from?

AG: It actually started back in 2011 before drones were available for the public to buy. One of our founders spent his evenings in his garage building his own drone. It had the size of a lawn mover and made a lot of attention in the neighborhood flying around. One of his neighbors was a Real Estate agent that asked him to attach a camera to his flying machine and so it started. We have since then transformed the company from a consultancy firm to a scalable IT platform with a global market in sight.

PT: What is your company’s ambition?

AG: To unleash the power of drone services and VR to make it available and useful to a global audience. Though we are still a young company within our field, we are standing at the forefront of what we do.

PT: What are the best uses of VR videos both in relation to and beyond real estate?

AG: Real estate agents should use VR to win listings and position themselves as a brokerage using the best technology available. By simulating a physical presence, VR reaches more potential buyers (or tenants) and creates the possibility to experience and evaluate an object before and after a housing tour. From a brand-building perspective, letting your visitors navigate in 360° increases engagement and user experience.

PT: Who are your customers?

AG: We have customers in Sweden, Norway, Finland, Portugal, Spain and Indonesia so far. In Sweden, which is our home market, 10 out of the largest 12 real estate chains work closely with FastOut.

PT: What was your first listing project in North America?

AG: We did the first ever pilot case in North America with Magnus Hellberg at Partners Trust. He is a friend to one of our founders, and after I showed Magnus what we were capable of doing, he asked us to do a VR solution for his listing in Venice Beach. The customized VR tour was also published through the MLS which created even more exposure for his listing.

PT: Take us through the process that follows once you’ve been hired by someone like Magnus.

AG: After a customer has placed an order our pilot coordinator, Samantha, who has the nickname “Mother of Drone”, enlists a qualified pilot to do the VR job. He or she will then coordinate with the customer on a time and place to conduct the assignment and, following completion, it typically takes us about one day to deliver the final product. Each customer receives a link to the content, which can be easily embedded onto a website and/or used across social media.

PT: How does VR surpass traditional, two-dimensional video?

AG: Our combination of VR from the air to the interior spaces creates a unique possibility to get to know a property as well as the surrounding area, such as what schools or transportation is nearby. To navigate around in 360° on your own terms gives you a much deeper understanding and connection than a video can ever provide.

PT: How does one experience the final product?

AG: All content created through FastOut works on desktop, mobile, tablets, and VR glasses and can easily be shared on social media.

PT: How do you price out your services?

AG: We sell our solutions in two ways:  a “pay as you go” solution or a monthly subscription fee for full access to upload, create, and publish your own VR content. The cost of ordering a 360° VR tour from FastOut, which allows visitors the freedom to navigate from the air to the interior of the home, starts at $499 U.S. dollars. The monthly subscription model begins at $99/month U.S. dollars.

PT: Can you share some client feedback that illustrates the success of VR?

AG: Several of our real estate customers have told us that they have experienced record sales solely over the phone since using FastOut. That feedback is especially exciting considering the audience we know we can reach.

PT: What are your predictions for the future of real estate marketing?

AG: We believe that VR will become as standard as still pictures are today. One of the major reasons why the technology hasn’t been widely embraced is because it’s been too expensive and too difficult to use. Those days are now behind us :).

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