As a subsidiary of the Swiss Inizia real estate group, Obra visual AG specializes in visualization and marketing of real estate projects. The company focuses on higher-segment real estate around Lake Zurich and the greater Zurich area. INIZIA and Obra offer on an entire range of services that help bring the right real estate to the right customer, including architectural design and development, marketing and sales, and even finance.
“The higher segment of real estate we are focusing on is a very competitive market,” says Dario Pfammatter, founder and partner at INIZIA Holding AG. “The sales and pitch process are therefore crucial to us. With so many strong competitors, our challenge is to convince prospects as fast as possible, by showing them exactly what they will get in an early stage, so they can take decisions more easily and quickly, while reducing their risk.”
Big decisions, big screen
As a frontrunner in adopting digital technologies, Obra has always tried to visualize its real estate projects as completely and convincingly as possible. The company realized very early on that pitching a high-end project by means of 2D and 3D images cannot be done efficiently with a simple TV screen or basic AV material.
According to Dario Pfammatter, big decisions need big screens. That’s why Obra has been an early adopter of large-screen visualization, and even Virtual Reality (VR). The company also experimented with VR, but found that head-mounted displays (HMD) were unpractical for group discussions. Indeed, HMDs isolate the viewer from the rest of the group, so it’s not easy to interact or collaborate with this technology.
Barco Cave and Canvas
Obra also develops its own software, especially dedicated to real estate companies who want to visualize their high-end projects fast and convincingly in 2D and 3D to their prospects and customers. Obra’s software makes it possible to generate highly realistic 3D visuals much faster than most conventional solutions on the market. The only thing that was still lacking for Obra was a high-performance visualization solution to present these images. Fortunately, in 2018 Obra contacted Barco. Obra was in a challenging situation and both the Barco Sales and Solution Architect Team in Belgium provided the best support to help Obra to decide.
A product demo immediately convinced Obra of the added value of Barco’s 3D visualization solutions, and the company decided to invest in a multi-sided, immersive Cave display from Barco for its office in Zurich. In 2019, the company again selected Barco for the delivery of a Canvas VR display for its vision room in the Zug office.
Obra now uses both displays for a wide range of applications. The 3D Cave display in Zurich especially comes to its own during the later stages of the sales process, where customers can experience and interact with different architectural and design options. The Canvas display in Zug is a more multi-purpose display that is used throughout the customer journey, from planning to development, and from pitching to the investment committee to sales and final material selection.
“Obra’s software and the Barco Canvas really make a perfect combination to make the pitch process much faster and smoother,” says Dario Pfammatter. “We can make changes in the 3D models via our software, and we can literally visualize them in a matter of minutes, instead of hours. For us, this technology really differentiates us from the competition, because we can speed up the selection and decision-making process for our customers with up to 80%. Our competitors, who do not have this technology, cannot always calculate and display their architectural proposals in time, and therefore they risk missing the project altogether.”
For Obra it is clear high-end graphics can generate business in the architecture and construction markets. According to Martin Horvat, co-founder of obra visual AG, the Obra software and Barco display solutions have opened doors to bigger projects, that would otherwise not have been possible.
The company now uses the Barco Cave and Canvas to present architecture planning, show 2D and 3D data, and to present highly realistic models to customers and prospects. Users of the display can easily manipulate and interact with the content without the use of an unpractical HMD and collaborate with co-viewers. All types of data can be displayed and combined, including Building Information Modeling (BIM) data, vectorized data, high-res images, and more.
“Barco’s large-screen display allows us to make more of our sales presentations,” says Martin Horvat. “Presenting projects is also about emotion and connecting with clients. Now we can do this much more efficiently. It’s a completely different sales process.”
Accelerating the digital workplace
INIZIA and its subsidiaries has always been a frontrunner in digitization and has been promoting the paperless office as much as possible. Now, Dario Pfammatter says that the Barco Canvas has accelerated the company’s digitization efforts even more.
The development of real estate and the many decisions that customers must make inevitably lead to the creation of many files. Thanks to the Barco visualization technology, the materials selection process can be done in a much smoother way by displaying and manipulating objects on the large screen. All data, coming from a variety of sources (design, BIM, 3D models, etc.) can immediately be presented there in an integrated way. That’s the flexibility of the Barco Canvas.