Virtual Insanity: How VR benefits small business during the pandemic
By Cristina Garza
Next up in our Client Spotlight series is Rami Kalla, founder of Point in Time Studios out of Phoenix, AZ. Something to know right away about Rami is, he always keeps an eye on the future-- he even hosts a futurist podcast called Year 2045! While his business started out doing (and still does) 2D television commercials and other video production work, he has always strived to remain apace with emerging technology, first with 3D and now virtual reality. His first VR experience was with the smartphone-based Samsung Gear, experiencing courtside virtually as Lebron James played basketball, and he instantly saw it as a game changer.
That moment is what sparked his initial excitement and awareness about VR technology.
But what turned that excitement into a business idea was when Rami was designing a house.
You see, interior designers kept asking him to imagine an entire kitchen extrapolated from tiny tile and paint samples. Having previously experienced virtual reality, Rami wondered why he had to work to picture something he knew could be fully modeled in virtual space. A lightbulb went off when Rami realized he could apply VR to this use case and have a killer application for the emerging technology.
That is the beginning of how Point in Time started applying VR in the real estate market, though not the end!
After starting out focusing on single family new developments and finding that it wasn’t tech savvy enough of a market, Rami pivoted to student housing. There he’s found that Gen Z is more ready to adopt the utility and convenience of VR. In addition to student housing, his studio recently completed a commercial project for a multi-family housing development in Spain. The owner was doing a full remodel but having difficulty in getting folks to see, in advance, the completed vision. So Point in Time came to the rescue with a fully realized VR solution that the developer could put on virtual display at a London home show. The result? The developer went from stuck in a sales rut to selling 30 units that day and double that the next month.
So Rami has seen first hand the outsize ROI that virtual reality can provide: The benefit of fully transporting someone’s imagination to a custom designed destination without the logistics of physically shifting their body to do so is hard to overstate.
I asked Rami where he sees VR growing beyond the current use case of real estate. He sees many areas where it can go but at the moment a big push is coming from universities. From classes to commencements, schools of all sizes, but especially universities, are having to shift the way they provide services. Rami sees virtual reality as a shoe-in for these purposes.
In talking about where Rami sees things going in the future, it’s clear that he encourages people to embrace new technologies. He sees remaining malleable and adaptable as critical to surviving as a small business in increasingly unexpected circumstances. With the pandemic situation causing long term disruptions, he thinks there will be aspects of how things were that we don’t return to. One thing is clear, with all the money being invested by Apple, Facebook, Alphabet, Microsoft, and others: VR is here to stay.
We both agree that since things will constantly change, being well prepared is what keeps businesses thriving. At Accountingprose, we do everything we can to keep our clients informed about relevant shifts to the industry or technology that may affect them. We are grateful to have clients like Rami who are willing to share their perspective! If you want to explore whether your small business could benefit from virtual reality (increasingly likely!), reach out to Point in Time for your Virtual Reality or Video Production needs!