If you have ever gone through the process of looking for a condo or house in a development that's still just a hole in the ground or an empty field, you've probably spent time in a presentation center looking over drawings, plans and maybe even miniature models of the development.
Those places start to tell the story, but it requires a serious leap of faith to buy a property worth hundreds of thousands of dollars based on some nice drawings, maps and pamphlets.
There are touchscreen displays that digitize that material, and arguably make it better. But if you really want to sell and close, making people feel like they're virtually immersed in the specific property they're looking at is several leaps forward.
I spoke with Hadrien Laporte, a graphic designer who a decade ago started Smartpixel in Montreal, offering software tools and creative services to help truly visualize things like commercial, industrial and residential real estate.
The company does virtual reality, without the embarrassing, isolating goggles, and does it very well. Smartpixel is thriving, has 60 people and 15 more planned for 2020, and is also planning to expand its product. It also does basic digital signage, when asked, but when you can do 3D visualizations of entire real estate developments, putting videos on screens is a bit of a shrug.
I had a great chat with Laporte about the company's roots, how it does things, and where Smartpixel is going.