An interactive digital display tool designed to help agents lease and sell projects without their clients having to physically inspect properties, and negating the need for expensive display suites, has won an award for its innovative use of technology.
Designed by global real estate company CBRE, ‘Perspectives’ is a one-stop shop for prospective tenants and buyers interested in new commercial and residential projects, combining images, PDFs, webpages and videos with virtual-reality walkthroughs of projects, into one centralised system.
It is controlled by a touchscreen and can be set up in a regular office, removing the need to construct or retain a display suite onsite during a project’s construction, or when the property is occupied, and giving interstate and international buyers access to the same experience as local buyers.
‘Perspectives’ took out the Innovation Award at the 2019 Australian RICS Awards, announced on Thursday, June 6.
Judges for the annual awards – held in major cities around the world by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors – praised the project for bringing “a number of advantages including the elimination of waste, lower costs and broadening the use of virtual-reality technology”.
David Gerrelli, global director of Asia-Pacific digital innovation at CBRE, said the product had been designed following extensive consultation with CBRE brokers to ensure it followed the sequence of a traditional, onsite sales pitch, with the eventual aim of “deploying to every major office in Australia”.
It is currently operating in CBRE’s Sydney and North Sydney offices, as well as international locations including Singapore.
Although Mr Gerrelli said that the platform would be “focused primarily on office leasing,” it was first developed to be used in residential sales.
At the height of the residential boom, sales teams were able to sell apartment projects entirely off the plan before construction began, using onsite sales suites that were then demolished prior to building work commencing.
However, softer market conditions required a longer-running sales campaign that would still allow prospective buyers to inspect the property after the sales suite was demolished and while construction was underway.
‘Perspectives’ was first used to launch The Urbain residential project in Sydney’s Crows Nest, with more than 80 per cent of the apartments sold off the plan over two days. The remaining stock was sold within a month.
It has also been used to sell off-the-plan apartments at the Cremorne Point Estate on Sydney’s lower north shore, where the site’s location meant emphasising the apartments’ harbour views.
“[One of the] purchasers, who is an owner-occupier, was particularly concerned about view details and on the larger screen we were able to show how the amalgamated design would enhance the view and unlock a higher price,” explained listing agent Dylan Frith.
“In creating a new apartment, we were able to identify how a particular design would work, then impress the view on the buyer by bringing it up on the big screen.”
The platform has since been deployed on a pilot basis with one of the country’s leading commercial landlords and used in leasing campaigns in Melbourne and Sydney.
Currently a desktop setup, there are plans for it to be made mobile following feedback from agents.
“We learnt a lot about the entire inspection process and what we found is that there’s a need for more mobility, so the plan is to have a mobile version by the end of the year and that will be the most popular version of the platform,” Mr Gerrelli said.
This will have the additional benefit of increasing the product’s appeal to external clients, such as major listed landlords.
“It’ll be self-service and easy to use. The idea is when it deploys to a client, they’ll be able to manage their own content,” Mr Gerrelli said.
He said that the product was unprecedented in the commercial real estate space and was just one of the ways CBRE was integrating technology into the leasing process.
The company recently launched a pilot of an interactive leasing map in Singapore which is set to be rolled out in Australia by August this year.
The Innovation Award wasn’t the only win for CBRE at the 2019 RICS Awards, with the agency also taking out the Agency Team of the Year and Sustainability Project of the Year categories.
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