An innovative app that helped a developer sell more than R300-milllion worth of property in three months has won a Gold Award for Technical Innovation.
The app provides potential buyers with a real-time, self-controlled “walk-through” experience of a selected apartment, seeing every corner and the actual view from every room and window.
Formula D interactive Managing Director Marco Rosa said that Cape Town-based property developer Blok approached them with the challenge to take the idea of property visualisation in the off-plan home-buying market to the next level.
Blok app—which is available for free from the Apple App Store—takes two-dimensional floor plans and converts them into three-dimensional interactive tours of individual apartments in the Blok developments.
To create a true representation of the property in its location, environmental panoramic images of the actual neighbourhood are mapped into a virtual 3-D environment, which encompasses the building. These views can be looked at when users navigate to windows and balconies in the apartments.
“The brief was to use real-time 3-D walk-throughs that would place clients at the heart of an interactive, first-person experience of the property they were looking to buy,” said Rosa.
Formula D established a team of experts including an architect, a 3-D artist, a game designer, interaction designer and a software programmer for the project.
“We needed to make the simulation a personalised experience,” said Rosa. “The result is a powerful architecturally accurate, high quality, real-time touch-screen app that has been described as a game-changer in the property sector.
“As the buyer walks through the 3-D apartment, they can imagine themselves inhabiting the space, very much like the level of immersion found in sophisticated 3-D video games.”
Rosa said that while the Gold Award confirmed Formula D’s innovative design technology, the company was already working on a new version of the app.
“While the Award has proven Formula D and Blok’s winning formula, our designers are constantly exploring new techniques and technologies, looking at ways of further developing the app in order to enhance an already innovative experience,” he said.
The award was handed over at the Interactive Advertising Bureau South Africa’s (IABSA) 2015 Bookmarks Awards in Johannesburg earlier this month.
Rosa said Formula D was very proud to walk away with a gold, one of only 13 awarded to the more than 800 entries submitted in 2015.
“These are the most coveted awards in South Africa’s digital marketing and media sector and entries are benchmarked against international standards,” he said. “So we are proud of our win.”