Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Changing the way we view real estate




Everyday, we see or hear how technology is revolutionizing various industries. From AI, machine-learning, to blockchain, digital technologies are changing the world as we know it. And Microsoft is making sure its partners are equipped to drive innovation in this age of digital transformation.

Microsoft sees its partner’s success as its own and is squarely focused on delivering a true, two-way partnership with its partner network. It continues to build on a foundation of trust, collaboration, and growth to help its partner companies deliver cutting-edge technology to millions of customers. It’s through this ecosystem that Microsoft helps its partners innovate, grow, and differentiate their businesses across all industries…including real estate.

Real estate in the Philippines, like in the rest of the world, is a valuable commodity. In 2015, final results of the 2015 Annual Survey of Philippine Business and Industry (ASPBI) showed that a total of 4,826 establishments in the formal sector of the economy were engaged in real estate activities. That same year, real estate also contributed the major share in income and expense as the sector generated a total income of PHP534.5 billion.

But the real estate industry has, for the most part, remained static throughout the years. Traditional practices are still commonplace, especially in the Philippines. This means that there is a significant opportunity for real estate brokers to innovate and reach a bigger share of the market.

Virtual and augmented reality

Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are often viewed as technology of the future. But the reality is it’s already being used today. Mostly popularly utilized in gaming, virtual reality has a slew of other uses, some of which have truly transformed their respective industries.



From academic research to engineering, design, business, the arts and entertainment, there are many more uses of VR. But no matter how you look at it, VR produces a set of data which is then used to develop new models, training methods, communication and interaction. In many ways the possibilities are endless.

In the real estate market, VR is becoming more popular among consumers and businesses as well. 3D cameras have educated the marketplace, creating an impact. Forward-thinking realtors are already moving beyond photos -- and even 360-degree video -- and offering clients 3D virtual property “tours” right on their devices. There are different levels of 3D aggregators on the market, but they are still in the early days for real estate.

Democratizing immersive virtual tours

VR/AR has revolutionized the way real estate businesses generate revenue. There are now a number of firms providing VR technology for virtual home viewings, staging and other uses. When real estate agents are looking for an edge in marketing their listings, they turn to 3D virtual tours. Nothing grabs attention quite like 3D, as 3D virtual tours get clicked on more often, get more phone inquiries, and generate more email inquiries versus those without.

Today, when a real estate agent wants to create a virtual tour of a home, he or she has to use special capture equipment. 3D cameras are expensive, complex, and are very time-consuming to operate. This led Simon Gemayel, CEO and Founder of HomeSpace360, to utilize smartphone technology to create, share, and display 360 content in 2D and 3D, at a fraction of the cost.

“Technology is the great equalizer. And we want to enable all realtors by democratizing immersive virtual tours through user-friendly technology. With HomeSpace360, we use smartphone technology to bring high quality 3D virtual tours within reach of every marketer,” said Gemayel.

HomeSpace360

HomeSpace360 offers brokers an all-in-one mobile app for creating high-quality 8K 2D and 3D photographic and video VR experiences directly on a smartphone. Together with the HomeSpace360 Cloud, the end-to-end automated system offers property marketers a solution for quickly and inexpensively capturing, distributing, and visualizing properties in 2D and 3D on web, mobile and in VR. It is a low-cost alternative to a 3D camera for providing immersive virtual tours.

The first of its kind, HomeSpace360 is a platform that allows real estate marketers to deliver gorgeous, immersive 360-degree virtual tours to prospective buyers and renters at scale, using both smartphones and virtual reality headsets. High quality 3D virtual tours used to be locked behind expensive, complex, and cumbersome equipment…until HomeSpace360.

How does it work? HomeSpace360 is very intuitive and easy to use, not to mention fast. A kit provides realtors everything they need to create and share high quality 360 virtual tours immediately. A HomeSpace360 kit includes: a (1) Mobile VR viewer, (2) battery-free smartphone rotator, (3) lightweight tripod with carrying bag, and an (4) HD fisheye lens for 3D capture.

Built on the Microsoft Azure cloud platform, HomeSpace360 is redefining how people view and acquire properties in today’s digital age. “With our technology, marketers can easily transport their clients to 10, 20, even 30 properties in an hour,” added Gemayel.

Through its robust partner ecosystem, Microsoft gives its partners access to the latest technology and guidance on how to extend that technology to build tailor-made solutions. “It’s exciting to see partners like HomeSpace360 create democratizing solutions to today’s problems with Microsoft technology. Microsoft Partners such as HomeSpace360 are at the center of our digital transformation as they continue to enable our customers to achieve more,” said Eileen Ong, Microsoft Director of Commercial Partners & Small Medium Corporate Business Units.


Friday, September 7, 2018

Seeing AI app can now identify Indian currency



The latest update to Seeing AI brings new capabilities to the image recognition and narration app. Seeing AI can now detect Indian currency and narrate the denomination to the user. The app identifies all the notes in circulation including the new currency bills issued recently.

Currency bills are particularly challenging to identify, as they come in different sizes and textures, and are often modified by government. People who are blind or have low vision are known to fold these notes up in different shapes to be able to recognize and use them when needed, though still require means to differentiate denominations. Seeing AI brings this power to the users’ fingertips no matter where they are.

With the latest addition of Indian rupee detection, the app now supports five different currencies, including euros, US and Canadian dollars and British pounds. Seeing AI is currently available on the iOS App Store in 56 countries. Since its launch in July 2017, the app has helped users complete over 5 million tasks unassisted, and has been downloaded by over 150,000 users.

Designed for users with visual impairment, Seeing AI combines artificial intelligence and rich computer vision to narrate the world around users in real-time. By describing surrounding people, text, objects, colors, and currencies, Seeing AI serves as an example of how inclusive technology empowers people of all abilities.

You can download Seeing AI app from the App Store for your iOS device.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Windows 10-powered Modern PCs an essential for the young professional



The Filipino millennial leads a very tech-driven lifestyle. They are dynamic and mobile in everything they do, be it work or play. Thanks to technology, the young professional can elevate their day to day activities with devices that fit their lifestyle. 


What better gift for the millennials in our lives (or ourselves) than something that complements their modern lifestyle. Look no further than a Modern PC. These Windows 10-powered laptops are thinner, lighter, faster, and able to perform even the most demanding tasks.

From form to function and all the innovations in between, Modern PCs are packed with features to meet the dynamic needs of today’s young professional. They are more compact and feature revamped batteries capable of running all-day. Inside, they are equipped with SSD Hard Drives that ensures maximum performance and speed. Here are 5 laptops that make perfect gift ideas for the Filipino millennial:



1. Acer Swift Series

One of the most portable laptops in the market today is the Acer Swift Series. From this series is the Swift 3, a featherweight among its peers weighing a mere 1.3kg. Don’t be fooled, the Swift 3 still packs quite a punch with 8th gen processors, a 14” screen, and 512GB SSD. Portability is without a doubt the highlight of Acer’s latest Swift. The slim and light laptop makes it perfect for carrying around all day, without hurting your back. That said, the rest of the machine makes few compromises on performance. So you can knock out your daily computing needs with powerful tech features while on the move. If you’re looking for more power without sacrificing portability, look no further than the series’ higher spec models — the Swift 5 and Swift 7.

 2. Asus Zenbook UX331

The new ZenBook 13 gives you all the elegance and style you expect from a ZenBook and a whole lot more, with a stunning crystal-like finish and a sophisticated modern design that places it in a class of its own. It’s an ultrathin Windows 10 i5 laptop with serious processing power and class-leading graphics performance. At its heart is the latest 8th Generation Intel® Core™ i5 processor — which can be boosted to 3.7GHz when needed — with 8GB RAM and an NVIDIA® GeForce® MX150 discrete graphics chip. And blazingly fast storage is provided by a 256 GB SATA SSD. So whether you're creating mega-sized office documents, manipulating high-resolution photos, editing videos, or simply taking a break with the latest high-powered games, the ZenBook 13 will never keep you waiting. With ZenBook 13 and Windows 10, you get the very best computing experience. ZenBook 13 supports all the great new features in Windows 10, including Windows Ink, Modern Standby and Cortana.

 3. Dell Inspiron 7370 / Inspiron 7373


The Dell Inspiron 13 7370 is a small and light modern PC that packs significant horsepower with its Intel 8th gen processor. Performance and portability are the laptop’s best features. Dell’s new Inspiron features a 13.3-inch screen with Full HD (1920 x 1080p) resolution. Speaking of battery, the Inspiron 7370 is equipped with a 3-cell “smart” lithium-ion battery unit, so you can be secure in the idea of working away from a wall socket for extended periods of time. This Dell Inspiron also has a 2-in-1 version, the Inspiron 7373.


4. HP Envy 13

 The HP Envy 13 packs strong performance, long battery life, and a fantastic typing experience into a lightweight and affordable package. Under the hood of this 2.9-pound ultrabook is an Intel 8th Gen Core processor, boasting power to go along with heavy doses of style. With its Intel 8th Gen Core processor, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB PCIe SSD, the Envy 13 offers a plethora of performance for everyday use. The all-metal chassis combined with the convenience of all-day battery life to go with one of the best keyboards in the market makes the HP Envy the weapon of choice for several young professionals. At 12 x 8.5 x 0.55 inches, the Envy is slim enough to fit into a narrow pocket in your bag while its 2.93-pound weight makes it very easy to take with you wherever you go.


5. Lenovo Yoga 520 / 530

The Lenovo Yoga 520 is a stylish 14” 2-in-1 laptop with powerful processors and long-lasting battery life. More than just a traditional laptop, it transitions to a tablet thanks to a durable 360-degree hinge. It features pin-point accuracy and palm-rejection technology with the Lenovo Active Pen -- an emulation of a natural pen-on-paper writing experience. Paired with new Windows Ink, the creative possibilities are endless. At 1.75kg, the Yoga 520 is the picture of sleek portability. Work on your designs from home, or pop it in your bag on a day out to fix layouts later. It’ll easily go wherever life takes you.

Whatever laptop you choose for yourself or for your loved one, all of the above make for great choices. And all are available at Octagon, the #1 Windows PC retailer in the Philippines. With over 150 branches nationwide, you can give these laptops a spin at the branch closest to you. For even more convenience, visit their website at  https://www.octagon.com.ph/.