Innovate or be left behind!

Patrick Berry from 4one4 Real Estate describes how his agency has used Augmented Reality (AR) Technology in the form of Layar to create a marketing point of difference.

It seems like every week there is a new piece of technology available that promises to make our lives as agents easier, and to a lot of principals it can be hard to decide what is worthwhile investigating, and what is not.

At the end of the day, embracing any form of new technology can be a winning solution to an agency, as it offers an all-important unique selling point which can be the difference between winning and losing a listing.

It’s funny how quickly some things change. I remember a time, not that long ago, when agents believed that listing properties on the Internet would never work. Yet in only a very short period of time we have seen the Internet become the first point of call for the majority of people entering the property market, as it allows users to enjoy not only photos, but floor plans, and videos for those agents embracing this technology.

Traditional media still has its place, of course, but what if there was a way to take people from traditional advertising methods, like photo sign boards and print advertising, back to the exciting world of digital content that our purchasers have become so accustomed to?

The exciting news is that there is, as our agency, 4one4 Real Estate, recently discovered through the exciting world of Augmented Reality (AR) Technology, with an application called Layar.

According to their website, layar.com, “Layar is the world’s easiest way to add digital content to print media. It’s a self-service web application that lets publishers infuse static pages with interactive experiences.”

The value of AR Technology is that it allows you to jump from print media to online media, simply by using your Smartphone to take a photo of the print media. This removes the risk of users typing the wrong website address in and getting frustrated when they cannot find what they are looking for.

Within the real estate industry, AR technology can allow a prospective purchaser to pull up outside a home, take a photo of the photo sign board and instantly watch a video of the property from inside their car or find additional online content, allowing them to get a feel for the property without ever putting a foot inside the front door, and this is something that truly excites me.

So how does Layar work, I hear you ask? Well, that’s the best part, as it requires only three simple steps.

First you need to download Layar from Google play or the Apple applications store. Then look for print material with the Layar logo attached, like the one on this page, open the app, and aim it at the page. Then press ‘tap to view’ and watch the page magically come to life.

At 4one4 we have been using this technology in our local newspaper advertisements, along with our photo signboard, for just over one month now. We have found the take-up of this interactive medium to be quite amazing. Our property videos have also received more views since the activation of Layar, resulting in more genuine buyers inspecting our properties.

The way I see it is that the industry as a whole needs to look outside the square if print media is going to survive, and with the ever-evolving digital marketplace, items like AR Technology are what is going to keep print media strong as it seamlessly marries the two forms of advertising.

Even if people do require print media, AR Technology can direct them back to online content quickly and effortlessly, meaning we have a much better chance of getting them to take the next step and enquire about the property. It is for this reason that I see such strength in AR Technology.

AR Technology is the path that 4one4 Real Estate has taken in order to push the boundaries in our property marketing, but there are endless opportunities available for principals to embrace this. Even though AR Technology might not be for every agency, it’s important for them to get out there and try these amazing technologies, as opposed to sitting back assuming them to be just a fad.

We now live in a digital world, and those principals who refuse to embrace innovation will be left behind.

Patrick Berry is the marketing manager of 4one4 Real Estate, a family agency operating in Tasmania for the past six years. Patrick has made it his goal to identify innovative approaches to real estate, resulting in his agency pushing the boundaries of property marketing. For more information about Patrick Berry or 4one4 Real Estate, visit www.4one4.com.au.

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