Info Edge* which operates the real estate portal 99Acres had acquired a design studio that had developed proprietary technology for 3D floor plans and walkthroughs few months back, the company has disclosed in a shareholder letter detailing plans on how it intends to use the recent QIP proceeds.
InfoEdge MD & CEO Hitesh Oberoi declined to disclose the name of the studio to Medianama, but from the looks of it, it appears to be an acqui-hire since the letter mentions that the team has been integrated to Info Edge and they have been investing to scale up the capacity and output of this design studio.
Post this acquisition, more than 30 new projects on 99Acres have been enabled with 3D floor plans, site plans and apartment selector and the company plans to increase this coverage to several hundred projects over the next few months. Some of the projects include Avalon Royal Park in Bhiwandi, Century Court in Chennai, Exotica Fresco in Noida and Cosmos Jewels in Mumbai.
When we checked, we noticed that each of these listings have a dedicated 3D site map section that allows users to view a 3D aerial model of the apartment project. One can then click on any block of their preference to view 2D or 3D floor plans of the apartments in that block. There is also an option for users to view a 360-degree imagery of the floor plans.
In addition to this, Info Edge mentions that over 7,000 projects and ready-to-move-in societies now have high quality videos or photos.
Why is the company doing this now?
The growing competition in the online property business from upstarts like Housing and CommonFloor who somewhat changed the game by offering significantly better products to consumers, has forced incumbents like 99Acres and Times group-owned MagicBricks to improve its offerings for both brokers and consumers.
For instance, Housing had introduced 3D building models for new projects in February this year, positioning it as an alternative to brochures and display ads, while CommonFloor introduced augmented reality-based property listings through its Android app in March last year. Street view service WoNoBo also introduced a realty section in May this year, enabling builders to create a 3D view of the sample apartment and use them to give a snapshot of what buyers can expect, while Bertelsmann India-backed IndiaProperty had introduced 3D property tours in July this year.
This has led to 99Acres investing significantly in improving the user experience of its products as well as rolling out new products, in a bid to retain its leadership.
The company launched its iOS and Android apps and rolled out a map based search in Delhi. In the shareholder letter, Oberoi mentioned that they plan to roll out the first version of its map search next month and they have already started working on the next version.
Besides this, Oberoi had earlier said – “We are investing in data quality to ensure quality of information, in sales and opening new offices. We’re also investing in brand building, and get higher traffic share. We will continue to invest.” More on that here.
*Disclosure: Info Edge is an advertiser with MediaNama
Updates: Added IndiaProperty bit.