Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality in Real Estate

Technology in Real Estate

Real estate is one of the fastest growing industries in the world, and technology is helping its growth rate. In 2017, more than $5bn was invested in real estate technology (Forbes). This significant increase in investment was majorly driven by the use of technology in the industry, allowing apps like Airbnb to compete with some of the largest and most established real-estate companies and hotels. Now, the use of Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) is also helping improve an average homeowners experience.

Augmented Reality in Real Estate

The advantage of using AR is that information that is traditionally visualized in 2D can now be depicted in 3D for any user with a fair amount of intractability.
The first area AR can help in is finding actual listings for real-estate properties. Commercial Real Estate built an app that allows users to overlay listings for properties onto their camera, so they can see which properties are available in a crowded area such as downtown quite easily

​Another use case is to allow home builders to place and navigate through 3D models of houses. Users can find a potential place to build a house and overlay the 3D model of the house in that location to see how it would look. Then, the house can be increased in size, and the user can walk through it to see how it would look like from the inside. 

​A third use is for current homeowners who are looking to see how they can modify their house. The IKEA place app allows people to place 3D models of furniture in their house and scale it to their liking. This will allow them to see how furniture looks before they purchase it. 

Overall, while AR is still in its infancy, the AR market is expected to increase to $100bn by 2021, providing it will have a large impact in the real estate industry (PropertyMe).

Virtual Reality in Real Estate

Normally, real estate agents provide a lengthy list of properties to the client. Afterward come explanations, negotiations, and finally the real-life visits to houses and apartments. This workflow has remained the same for decades, but it’s inconvenient and time-consuming not only for realtors but for homebuyers as well.

VR is a game changer in this industry. The power of VR technology can help real estate agents grow their business, get more clients, and deliver top-level services. It’s particularly important to adopt this new technology today when 95% of clients search for properties on the internet (RubyGarage).
The first way VR can be used is for a virtual property showcase. There are guided visits using 360 cameras where the user can walk through a set tour of the house and look around using a VR headset. There are also interactive tours where a model of the house is uploaded in VR and the user can walk wherever they would like to and see any parts of the house. This is a new and efficient way to show properties. 

​The next case would be to help with virtual staging. Most new properties have little to no furniture, and renting furniture to stage can be quite expensive, and often does not appeal to everyone. Virtual staging allows an empty house to look appealing as virtual models of furniture are staged into the house, providing a full experience of a furnished house. Not only is this significantly faster and cheaper, it also adds a touch of personalization to the house. 
VR can also be used for Architectural Visualization. Marketing a property that isn’t constructed yet has always been a challenge for real estate developers and agents. Most companies build large 3D models of the property, but it is often tough to gauge how it will look when it is build. For the interiors, real estate agents create large showrooms with full-scale models of apartments. Needless to say, these marketing methods require considerable investment. Virtual reality can effectively solve this problem and allow potential homebuyers to carefully check out both the exterior and interior of future properties.
Thanks to VR, architectural visualization has become much cheaper and a lot more immersive. Real estate agents can use VR technology to show both the exterior and interior of properties that aren’t built yet so that clients can get a clear look at what’s being offered.
VR and AR also provide the opportunity to up and cross sell.
For example, let’s say a homebuyer is taking a 3D real estate tour but wants to make changes to the interior. They could go to an online store, choose a different piece of furniture, and add it to their three-dimensional tour. By making these changes, they can style a property according to their preferences.

Moreover, even if clients make no changes to the interior of a property, they might be interested in buying pieces of furniture, curtains, and other items that are showcased in the virtual tour. In this case, they can immediately visit a virtual store and order them.

Key Benefits

Saves Time

Most people who buy homes like to look at multiple properties and are usually busy with other items as well. AR and VR saves time for both clients and realtors. Thanks to them, there’s no need to travel from one property to another and sit in traffic jams. Instead, clients can simply put on headsets or devices and enjoy immersive tours of the house. For real estate managers, they do not need to physically be at the property any more. They can work from their office where clients come in to view multiple properties virtually.
Builds Personal Connections

Virtual tours of houses and apartments help your clients visualize each property. Traditional tours often have other buyers and generic furniture, making it difficult to emotionally see yourself in the house. AR and VR allow the house to be completely customized from inside and out and seen from all angles, ensuring the buyer is connected to the product.
Saves Money

Developing feature-rich 3D virtual tours may seem expensive but think of the investment in traditional real estate marketing. Not only do agents need to stage properties, they also need to provide photos of the property and a lot of print material like brochures and posters.

VR/AR technology has already started to transform the real estate industry. However, it has not been adopted by majority of companies yet. More real estate companies are likely to use the benefits of VR/AR to make their work more efficient in the near future.
The simplest forms of virtual home tours are accessible to any realtor. As for more immersive and sophisticated AR experiences, there are lots of companies that can help real estate agents create them. These technologies will play a large part in the future of the industry, and it is best to invest in them now.

Pranav Narang

Business Analyst, App-Scoop

Unit Testing: Why it’s Necessary and its Benefits

The most important check before rolling out a product in the market is testing the quality of the product. Testing the capabilities and functionalities of the product help us understand its performance, scalability and maintenance before launching it in the market. The different levels of testing the software helps us reduce the bugs before releasing the product.

So how do you go about testing a product? The best way to do that is by testing functionalities individually, i.e. unit testing. Let’s understand what unit testing is, why it is necessary and its benefits. 
Unit Testing
Unit testing involves testing the smallest piece of codes (functions) individually. For instance, a unit can be a class, a line of code or a method. If you want to test your code performance, the best way is to check smaller units. Also, the smaller the units, the faster you can run your tests. If you do find any defects while testing a unit, it is easy to locate and also easy to fix.

Steps Post Unit Testing
Post testing all the units, the second step is integration testing. This test is done after integrating these units together – this is to check if each isolated unit works as expected when integrated. These tests validate complex scenarios and hence, they require web servers and databases to be tested.
The next step is system checking. This is to check if all the integrated units are working together flawlessly. System checks are done in real-life environment keeping real life situations in mind. Functional, technical and business requirements are verified during this process.
The last step is acceptance testing. By applying predefined test scenarios and test cases, the quality assurance team tests the application. This will help you determine if the system complies with the business requirement.

Necessity of Unit Testing
So, why is unit testing necessary?

  • Your web application is a bunch of small units working together.
  • Each small piece of code depends on the other small pieces.
  • If you change one unit, something else can break as a consequence.
  • Unit tests can automatically detect problematic parts of your code so you know where the problem is and how to rectify the behaviour.

Unit Testing Methods
There are three phases of unit testing method that help to verify the small pieces of the test application are: AAA. This acronym stands for Arrange, Act and Assert.

  • Arranging the test for a particular piece of application, which is also called system under test.
  • The act of performing the actual testing, i.e. interacting with the system under test.
  • Observing the results in the behaviour of the software and asserting if the expectations have been met.

After the phases of unit testing, if the resulting behaviour is in line with the expectations, the unit test is marked as passed; and if not then the system needs to be fixed.
Now, that we’ve determined the necessity of unit testing, let’s understand the benefits of unit testing.

Benefits of Unit Testing
There are a lot of arguments in the market that unit testing is not essentially, as automatic testing can detect errors in the system. But that’s not true! Automatic testing is mainly useful to check complex commands of the system. It doesn’t really check the quality of the smaller components in the system which can get problematic after the release of the product. So how does unit testing help?

Early Bug Fixing

Unit tests help you to find bugs before the product is sent for the system testing stage. This helps the developers to fix the problem at an early stage and it also saves the cost of debugging at a later stage or after the release of the product. The location of the failure and debugging the code becomes easy, once unit tests become a part of the continuous integration process.

Easy Refactoring if Code Changes

When the developer needs to change the working code without changing the way the app behaves, it is called refactoring. When the code based becomes larger, it becomes important to refactor the code. While unit testing, you get immediate feedback when you break the code making it easy to refactor it safely.

Useful Documentation

Unit tests are a working example to how to use a library and hence, they are like a working documentation of the code. They become a useful form of documentation as the history shows the programmers what the code was being used for initially. Unit testing also makes it easy for developers to work with the team or handover a project to another developer (this is possible only if the developers know how to write unit tests clearly and document them.

Enhance the Quality of Code

By identifying the defects in the code before the integration testing stage helps improve the quality of the code. Hence, writing the tests before coding makes you think harder on the problem which in turn helps you write better code by exposing the edge cases.

Create Better Design

Writing the test in the beginning makes you think through your design and what it might accomplish before you write the code. It helps you keep focus and create better designs. If you are able to define the responsibility of the code while testing it, then it is considered to be well-defined and hence, has high cohesion.

Automation Frameworks for Unit Testing

Developers use unit testing frameworks to write unit tests quickly and easily since most programming languages don’t support unit testing with the built-in compiler. There are different frameworks to deal with unit testing.

  • Jasmine is a behaviour-driven development framework for testing JavaScript code. It’s generally used for websites, Node.js projects, or anywhere that JavaScript is used. Jasmine doesn’t rely on browsers and JavaScript frameworks. The main benefit of Jasmine is that it’s browser, framework, and platform independent.


  • Jest was built by Facebook and based on Jasmine. It’s used by Instagram, Airbnb, Facebook, and many other companies. It is known for its speed and simplicity and the fact that it makes the whole test suite run fasts as it runs tests simultaneously.


  • Mocha is a feature-rich JavaScript testing framework that runs on Node.js and a browser. Mocha can be used with Chai assertion library, which works well for JavaScript code used for data models, business logic and utilities.


  • RSpec is a BDD library for testing Ruby code. With RSpec, you can test an entire application’s behaviour rather than only specific methods. When writing your code in RSpec, you create highly readable blocks of code that can be useful documentation if done right. The simplicity of the RSpec syntax makes it one of the most popular testing tools for Ruby applications.

This determines that unit testing is the path to excellence before releasing the product. Unit tests help your product perform better and write clean codes that can be used for documentation purposes. If you wish to further inquire about unit testing for web applications, you can contact the App Scoop mobile app developers:

Balance Product Ideas and Project Scope Creep in App Development

There are various product ideas that can be developed to create a mobile app. After going through a plethora of ideas, the next step is to choose a mobile product idea that can define the vision of the next promising mobile app that you wish to launch in the market.
The first step towards creating a successful mobile app is to create a Product Requirements Document (PRD). This document contains a detailed project management plan stating the logic behind creating the app, the technical requirements and the responsibilities of stakeholders at each stage.
This is essential to avoid scope creep – that is the tendency for projects to go above and beyond its set limitations in terms of functionality, project duration, etc. In the initial stages of planning a PRD everything might seem like a haze but it will definitely help you think about all the aspects about the product. 

Let’s take a look at a few requirements that will help you manage scope creep from taking over your project:

​Managing Business Requirements Constraints

While creating the business app, it is important to understand the organizational objective that you are trying to reach with the app. The main purpose of this app should be to solve the issues faced by the end user.
For instance, is your mobile app going to use a backend system from another application or is the app going to be coded from scratch. If the mobile app is going to introduce a completely new process, then you need to consider:

  • The timeframe of the project
  • The number of features that need to be added
  • The resources required to complete the project on time

Here, the Product Requirements Document will help you gain more insight on what is feasible and what is not.

“De-scope” Your App
The only reasons that you would need to ‘de-scope’ your app would be:

New Idea/Untested Market: Making an app that is absolutely new to the market means that you need to go slow and get as much feedback and user data as possible. For example, when Uber launched it was a fairly simple app that allowed the user to book a cab over the phone. Over time new features like ‘Rentals’ and ‘Out station’ (fairly recent) were introduced in the app.

Meeting Deadlines: If you have a deadline that you can’t miss, you need to limit your app instead of overloading it with features that are faulty. Features that have bugs have more of a downside than not offering the feature at all.

Budget: Budgeting plays a huge role in designing an app. You don’t want to overshoot the budget and land in a soup, would you? Hence, scoping intelligently and improving it step-by-step would ensure that you don’t overstep your budget.

Managing Technical Requirements Constraints

The next decision that you need to make is to make a strategic choice about the technical requirements – that is choose the platform, hosting and the backend design. The backend design of the mobile app is one of the most important factors as that is the backbone of the functionality of your mobile app.
The architecture of the mobile app is a blueprint for the entire system – a solid architecture should be able to have space for accommodating changes and user feedback if necessary. If you have created condusive mobile app architecture then it becomes easier to manage if there is a scope creep.

Making the Right Product Decisions
While creating an initial design plan for the mobile app, you must ensure that the core features of the app are not confined and compromised on while building the app. The team must sit together and ensure that there is minimal compromise.
Therefore, this process is all about making decisions to work towards a realistic and attainable goal of building a product that has a defined project scope, timeline and cost. There are a set of questions that we can put down before moving forward.

Duration of the Project
The date for the roll out of the project is important as this helps us to curb on the scope creep. We must determine the time it will take to build the features for the app, and thereby decide the duration of the project.

Reason to Build the App
As mentioned before, we need to determine the reason for building the app. We need to determine the features that are of utmost importance to building a Minimum Viable Product (MVP).

App Alternatives
We need to find out if the same type of app is available in the market. Then we need to fish out that one core feature that differentiates our app and highlight that to the user base.
Also, we need to determine if there is an alternative way to make the app features that would take less time and deliver the user experience that we wish.

Get to Market Quicker with a Product Requirements Document

A Product Requirements Document helps you manage the following:

  • Costly product decisions
  • Initial planning stages of development with a PRD protects your product from inflating beyond your project constraints
  • Achieves a quicker time to market
  • Compromise is inevitable, but with clear requirements on paper, the decision-making process is simplified

In the end, it all boils down to delivering a high quality application adds value to users, meets your objectives and that aligns with the budget and timeline kept in mind. Ensuring that you scope the project intelligently with logical milestones based on user feedback will help your application excel and widely used.
If you wish to get more information on balancing product ideas and avoiding scope creep, you can contact the App Scoop mobile app developers: