The real estate industry is still catching up when it comes to newer technology like virtual reality, but livecasting is already becoming more prominent within property portals. It's a tool that helps connect buyers and sellers, positioning them closer to the transaction, stated Juwai.com's CEO, Carrie Law, at this year's PropertyGuru Asia Real Estate Summit in Bangkok and also at Propteq Asia 2018 in Hong Kong.
“Livecasting is a powerful tool for eliminating the gap between buyers and sellers,” said Law.
Law said that at Juwai.com, buyers always want to know more information than can be shared on the listing page. “Our buyers are from China and looking at property overseas. They have questions like what it’s like to live there, how their kids will like the local schools, and what kind of neighbors they will have.”
Pippa Woodhead from PropertyGuru said, "The idea that virtual reality is dead may be overstated. Woodhead, who is Digital Editor of Property Report and Content Manager for the PropertyGuru Asia Real Estate Summit, added that, “We believe livecasting is a powerful new marketing tool that delivers many benefits that VR just can't.”
Property marketers also want to know more, about the buyer’s level of interest, ability to close the transaction, and obstacles to purchasing.
Up to now, says Law, one of the best tools for closing the buyer-seller gap has been virtual reality walkthroughs. Goldman Sachs predicts that real estate virtual reality will be a US$2.6 billion industry by 2025.
“We use VR and have a solution that works very well. I’d recommend it to any customer, but not in isolation,” said Law.
It has become increasingly clear that VR is not enough, she says. “Sure, VR is an improvement over photos or old-fashioned artist’s renderings. Yes, VR allows you to explore how a space would look with different furniture and layouts. But you also need livecasting so you can have a conversation.
Law says —unlike VR— livecasting enables a conversation between potential buyers and sellers. It captures buyer demographic, qualifying, and contact data. It lets buyers ask questions live and in real time. And it creates a sense of urgency or timeliness.
You’ve heard about cultural institutions like the NY Metropolitan Opera that livecast their productions to audiences in cinemas.
And you’ve heard about Li Ge, the Chinese live streamer who was put in jail for 5 days due to a rendition of the national anthem that authorities viewed as insulting.
And you may have heard about Lin Jingfu, the 58-year-old grandmother known as the “Hebei Rural Dama.” She spends 10 or more hours each day livecasting as a matchmaker and helping single members of her audience connect and eventually marry. She has brought together more than 200 couples. Thirty of them have married.
The Global Video Live Streaming Solution Market is worth about USD +2 billion this year, according to IT Intelligence Markets, and will be worth USD+10 billion by 2022.
“Think about virtual reality for a moment, “said Law. “Virtual reality is just broadcasting. It’s generally one way — from the marketer to the consumer. Livecasting is two-way communication. We never know where the conversation will go, because the audience is also co-director.”
Law says that, during livecasts, buyers can ask a lawyer about immigration and visas. They can ask local Chinese residents about schools, neighborhoods, and safety. They can ask the developer about the product, pricing, and views.
According to Law, Juwai.com has almost one year of experience offering livecasting as a route to helping buyers and real estate marketers close the gap. She says her team has learned four important lessons:
Edited by V. Haviland
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