James Spooner

An interview with James Spooner: 360-degree videos and unrealistic renders 'don't cut the mustard anymore'



In an exclusive interview with Development Finance Today, James Spooner, MD at Triadic Labs, discusses how Covid-19 has accelerated the shift towards technology in the development finance market, the decision to launch the platform during the crisis, and the team's plans for the future.

Proptech company Triadic Labs' newly-launched TriadicDash platform offers virtual viewings from all angles, allowing clients to view off-plan property in real time.

The whole experience can be done from any digital device (phone, laptop, ipad) without the need for 3D glasses or VR headsets.

TriadicDash allows users to customise the apartments they are viewing instantaneously during the viewing.

They can choose between furniture and layouts, as well as adjust the date and time to see the levels of natural light at any given point. 
 
Using this platform, developers can showcase a real visual to planners and local communities, with views from all aspects captured, as well as height comparisons and how the building design fits in with its surroundings.
 
DFT talked to James to find out more.

Why did you decide to launch your platform during a pandemic?

We have been very fortunate with our timing. Triadic Labs was set up and received full funding last year, and we were ready with the tech platform just before lockdown. While savvy agents and developers were already using some form of virtual viewing before the pandemic, the practice has certainly reached new levels of engagement, with some estate agents not offering physical viewings unless the prospective buyer has taken a virtual viewing first.

What does your company offer that is different from others?

We offer a fully immersive property experience that accelerates sales, engages consumers, and decreases costs while harnessing data, the latter of which is a key draw for the specialist finance sector. Moreover, our platform offers this for properties that aren’t even built yet — whole developments, for example.

While originally borne out of a solution to a property problem — the poor experience of viewing properties online and wasting time going to see properties that aren’t as they appear from the photos — the offer has developed rapidly.

As our tech builds the entire development virtually, developers can showcase a very real visual to planners and local communities, with views from all aspects captured as well as height comparisons and, of course, how the building design fits in with its surroundings.

How important do you think tech is right now in the specialist finance industry?

Tech is crucial to the specialist finance and real estate industry, and not just because of Covid-19, which has acted as an accelerator to a structural change that was already evident in the [sector]. It’s crucial in order to connect in real time to anyone in the world, to conduct transactions faster and with more confidence, and to help plug the skills gap in construction which slows down development and increases costs.

To be able to talk to someone in San Francisco from Coventry and, at the same time, show them a screen with completely immersive and VR-enabled imagery, and guide them through like [you're] there in person without the travel, and before anything has been built — that’s hugely powerful in terms of confidence building and saving time.

Since 23rd March, have you seen an increase in demand for tech from the development finance sector?

It’s difficult to say, having only really launched during lockdown. However, Covid-19 has certainly made all sectors more comfortable with technology and has helped accelerate innovation for the property industry that, in all honesty, was due a behavioural change.

We are seeing demand increase for more sophisticated tech platforms and for data. For the former, 360-degree videos and unrealistic renders don’t cut the mustard anymore. Whether you are an investor, lender or a consumer, property is a big investment, and the tech needs to replicate the quality of the finished product.

Data is key to finance and investment. It provides the evidence and the forecast performance. For development, it also provides insight and viability and, perhaps most importantly, the answers to the question everyone wants to know: what do buyers want?

What opportunity have you seen?

Covid-19 has proved to everyone that you don’t need to be physically in a room to do business. Due to the nature of our business, it’s certainly provided time for us to work remotely and develop new features quickly. Whereas our commercial director, Alex, would normally be travelling all over the place, he’s able to do twice as many meetings from one base thanks to Zoom and, having integrated this functionality into our platform, we can use Zoom and show the technology all on one screen, which is really effective and sort of self-fulfilling, because this is what we are offering long-term and people are experiencing it practically.

What plans do you have for the future?

We want to be the technology of choice for housebuilders and architects. We are currently working with one of the top FTSE 150 housebuilders in the UK, and we’d like to work for several more and showcase our skills across a range of developments and price points.

We want to do more in the commercial and leisure sector, and are currently in talks with businesses operating in both, which is very exciting.

We are also currently working on a new product that was borne out of lockdown, [which] integrates with many systems and can be used across pretty much any sector. We will continue to develop this over the coming weeks, and hopefully it will be ready by the end of the year for rolling out. Watch this space!


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