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Kiwi tech company creates AR experience for new home builds

10 Jul 2019
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A Kiwi startup has come up with a new way of designing new homes, thanks to augmented reality (AR) technology.

AR studio Reactar created a mobile platform called homeAR that helps buyers of new homes decide how their house should look.

Buyers are able to see designs in ‘table scale’ 3D. These designs are based on a catalogue of ‘design and build’ and ‘house and land’ packages from builders and developers.

Buyers can then look at designs and choose options that meet their needs – and then look at those designs through AR. homeAR is even built with a full-scale mode that allows a house design to be placed on a section. This can help buyers figure out ideal house placement, views, sun angles, and how close they’d be to the neighbours.

According to Reactar cofounder Richard Penny, the company created the app to make it easy for people to understand a house design as if it already existed. And buyers don’t even need a showhome.

“Trying to understand what a house will look like from a 2D render and a floor plan isn’t easy, and trying to imagine a design on your plot of land is nearly impossible for most of us,” says Penny.

“Because augmented reality is pretty new technology, we had a bunch of challenges to solve – from optimising the complex CAD models produced by the architects to run well on phones, to designing a completely new mobile UX to allow users to interact with virtual houses.”

The company has partnered with Bayleys NZ and Classic Builders. Penny says Bayleys was quick to realise AR’s potential for home builds.

“We have always been early adopters of new technologies and approaches that can provide unique service to our market,” adds Bayles national director of marketing and communication, Chris Gwin. 

“In homeAR we saw the opportunity to offer the developers we work with, and their clients, with a tool that adds huge value to both parties in the transaction. Longer term, we can see applications for this technology in other segments of our market, such as commercial.”

Penny says that Classic Builders was also quick to see the value in homeAR.

“Plenty of businesses talk about innovation being a core brand value and striving to change the game but only a few are brave enough to actually do it. The support of Bayleys and Classic has given us huge confidence that our offering as an important role to play in the market,” Penny adds.

homeAR launched in Apple and Android app stores in June 2019.