Spherical, the startup that creates virtual real estate tours

virtual real estate tours

Technological progress is now spreading in all branches of the economy, even in the most conservative ones. Also in the real estate sector, therefore, there are innovative technologies able to give new light to your business.

Of course, taking unknown paths and using alternative methodologies can be scary because you always think about the risk that can be behind completely new choices, but we can assure you that the survival and success of your business will be much more at risk if you decide to ignore. 1

In an increasingly digitalized world, adopting cutting-edge techniques allows you to gain a significant competitive advantage. Those who oppose the use of innovative tools will find themselves gradually abandoned by their customers, as the service offered is obsolete and ineffective.

That said, if you think it’s time to renew yourself and take advantage of all the opportunities that the market offers you, we recommend that you take a look at the emerging technologies in the real estate market. One of these is represented by virtual tours. Thanks to the interview carried out with Marco Lombardo, founder of Spherical, we were able to deepen the theme of virtual visits, which is increasingly proving to be a critical success factor.

360 ° cameras are now revolutionizing the way in which a licensed real estate agent introduces a property to a possible buyer, creating a reality in which the potential buyer can immerse themselves while remaining comfortably seated, for example in your office or even on the sofa of their home. . In this way, even the most inexperienced real estate agent will be able to photograph the true essence of a property, in a few steps and at a reduced cost. 

Marco, where does the Spherical project come from?

Spherical was born from a whim, a challenge and the need of a friend to sell a house quickly without having to suffer a continuous coming and going of possible buyers. The whim was a Nexus 5, the challenge was to virtualize the entire house with the smartphone’s Sphere Photo feature and post the spheres somewhere to find the buyer before the agencies. There weren’t many platforms, only Google+ and the display of the spheres was not exportable. We lost the challenge, but an idea was born.

Having a clear vision and mission is essential for a company like yours. If you had to tell us a phrase or a quote that best identifies you, what would it be?

“Maximum yield, minimum expense”, we have chosen this phrase not only to highlight the incredible convenience of our service but also to convey with very few words the concept that with skilful use of technology, it is possible to obtain the maximum result with the minimum effort.

What are the main strengths of Spherical and what are the benefits it can bring within the Real Estate ecosystem?

Whenever I discuss with a real estate professional, I always ask the same question: “How many people can you show a house in one day? 20, 30, 40? “. With a virtual tour, you can show property to thousands of people even at the same time if distributed and well-advertised. And the level of realism is staggering to say the least. You see all the necessary and sufficient details to make a decision … and who knows what he is looking for and what he can afford, goes without saying!

However, it should be noted that “virtual tours” are not new in the real estate sector. So what differentiates Spherical from its competitors?

The price: a Spherical virtual tour of 100 square meters costs only € 29, with our cheapest formula. We virtualized a property of 700 square meters, charging the client only 140 euros. Definitely a record ROI for a property. With the same square footage, the real estate agent had estimates of 400-800 euros. Our secret is in the production procedure, which allows us to be very fast, reducing costs, without sacrificing the quality of images and service.

What are the main difficulties you encountered in carrying out the project and related technology? How did you overcome them?

A first problem was encountered in the optimization of production processes, which are certainly a fundamental part of the project. Our virtual tours had to be produced quickly, cost little and be in high definition. 360 ° cameras have greatly simplified our life in this sense, and now they are the only ones we use. Furthermore, Apple’s decision not to use either Flash technology or WebGL libraries hindered us not a little: the most popular devices were their smartphones and tablets, so we couldn’t market a product that didn’t work on these devices. HTML5 saved the project, and today virtual reality headsets are spreading more and more among enthusiasts and non-enthusiasts. If you want to amaze uncles and grandparents, give a Cardboard for Christmas.

What goals have you set for the future?

In the future, every real estate agent will have a 360 ° camera and we want the reference platform, to connect, publish and disseminate these photos, to be Spherical.

How do you think a real estate agent’s reputation can be affected by using virtual tours?

For the better, no doubt! Our current customers are seen as competent people, in step with the times, who know how to exploit technology to the maximum and to their advantage. They use the “weapon” of virtual tours to better promote a property for sale and to show the property to an incredible number of potential buyers without disturbing the owner and without wasting time, bringing only really interested buyers to visit and negotiate. Especially prepared, as if they already knew the property in question.

Still, on the subject of web reputation, you are a very innovative reality within the real estate sector: how do you position yourself regarding the management of your online reputation and how important are social media for you?

Our business is in the pre-seed phase, so we don’t have a web reputation yet. On the contrary, we were overwhelmed by the market survey we did. Of course, we think it is essential and we want to start as soon as possible and in the best way, also because our virtual tours are always full of “likes”, shares and interactions. Social media is an incredible tool, we just needed to add the “Like” button to see hundreds of visits in a short time, and thanks to Whastapp we have coined a new slogan: “With Spherical you can send a home, via message!”

Are you thinking or have you already thought about other fields of application for the technology on which Spherical is based, even outside the real estate sector?

Yes, of course. Naturally, the spontaneous transition is to the tourism and hotel sector. Who wouldn’t want to “visit” their accommodation or see the surroundings before booking a holiday? Then the educational sector is particularly important to us. We want to give anyone the opportunity to see and scrutinize places otherwise unreachable for physical or economic reasons. Furthermore, we do not hide our dream in the drawer, that is to create products for the entertainment market, gaming and, why not, even films in 360 ° mode with more professional Cardboard or Headset viewers, such as Daydream or Oculus Rift.