News: PropertyGuru unveils new visual search solution for home seekers, first for Southeast Asia

Jan 31, 2019

Very soon, home seekers will be able to use their smartphone camera to simply point, tap and discover homes on-the-go.

You’re walking down the street and happen to see a condominium you may be interested in renting or buying. Unfortunately, you don’t know the name or spelling of the property which makes it tough to find out more details.

So, imagine being able to use your smartphone camera to simply point, tap and discover homes while you’re on-the-go.

The technology, currently being developed on iOS as a beta feature, will soon be available to home seekers in Singapore after PropertyGuru Group unveiled Southeast Asia’s first visual search solution for the property sector on Wednesday (31 Jan).

Called PropertyGuru Lens, the technology “will effectively turn your smartphone camera into a real-world search device”, said Hari V. Krishnan, Chief Executive Officer at PropertyGuru Group.

He noted that the company has been making big bets on technologies such as virtual reality, augmented reality (AR) and artificial intelligence (AI).

Powered by AR and AI, PropertyGuru Lens works by first analysing the visual data of a building image before using geo-location technology to perform different tasks based on the contents of the image.

“Focus the camera on any residential building and the underlying technology analyses and interprets residential building images in your line of sight and brings up property listings of units that are available for purchase and rent – all in real-time,” explained Krishnan.

PropertyGuru’s Chief Technology Officer Manav Kamboj called it “a highly ambitious idea”, adding that “PropertyGuru Lens is learning and will become better over time”.

PropertyGuru will conduct an invite-only closed beta testing of this feature to a select group of users after Chinese New Year to obtain their feedback and recommendations before expanding it to a wider community later this year.

“This feedback will help us identify potential issues and more importantly, shape our product roadmap for continual improvement,” said Kamboj.

Initial user feedback has been encouraging. First-time home buyer Andrew Cheah said: “It’s amazing that I can just point my smartphone camera at a building and all the details like property name, agents, asking price and so on are made available to me, instantly!”

Property consultant Khalil Adis said: “This is like the Pokémon GO of property! The AR-driven feature is so cool…makes property hunting really fun and nifty.”

Looking ahead, PropertyGuru will consider rolling out the new feature to its Android users in Singapore as well as expand the feature to its other core markets – Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam.

Users who are keen to test out this innovation can register their interest here when it opens on 7 February.

 

Romesh Navaratnarajah, Senior Editor at PropertyGuru, wrote this story. To contact him about this or other stories, email romesh@propertyguru.com.sg

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