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Interview; Project Tango and how it will impact the Real Estate Industry

POSTED BY   james
February 29, 2016

I have loved the sound of “Project Tango” since the very first time I a/ heard about it and b/ got a chance to play with the first Dev Kit at a speaking event in Ireland a couple of years ago – thanks to Dave Lorenzeni who built Keyhole, later acquired by Google to form the base for Google Earth. More on that later – there is a very useful video at the end of this article. So lets discuss Project Tango and how it will impact the Real Estate Industry

I recently had the chance to interview Nigel Walley, Managing Director of Decipher – a media consultancy that has been working in digital technology since 1998. It runs an incubator for tech ideas generated organically from within the company.   Chimni is a home data management platform that is being developed within the incubator. Its focus is on empowering home owners to take control of the data generated by or around their home and to use it to manage their relationships with online service providers – a key one being the likes of Matterport (which I wrote about some time ago)

As such I had to ask him how he works with Project Tango and how it will impact the real estate industry:

1/ In simple terms, what is Project Tango and why are Decipher so passionate about it? 

Project Tango is trying to produce software that will allow your phone to take 3D measurements and map physical space around us.  The simple idea being that you should be able to stand in a room, click a button on an app and develop an accurate 3D rendition of the space you are standing in.  It can also learn and self-correct, which would be a huge improvement on current measurement apps.   Primarily being built for the Android platform, it is assumed that various industries can then build applications that can use that information.  This could be real estate based applications or even games developers looking to create real world gaming environments.

Below is a video I recorded a while back to show you how it can work (by the way, this isn’t the interesting video by any means….that comes later!)

2/ It is said that this project will change people’s lives – isn’t that a little dramatic?

Yes, that is a PR exaggeration.  Tango is part of a broader trend towards improving the accuracy of data in all aspects of our lives, however the changes it might bring will only have a significant impact on certain industries like architecture, real estate and utilities that need more accurate home data.  Over time, as the software becomes more consumer friendly is could help the furniture and interior design industries

3/ What applications are you working on at Decipher?

We are looking at the potential for Tango to improve consumer space mapping for our homes, as part of our Chimni project.  The core idea of Chimni is that a homeowner should have access and control of all the key digital information about our homes, and that that information should be lodged in intelligent home plans. For new built homes, we are assuming that this data will increasingly come from the new BIM models that are slowly supplanting CAD in the construction industry.  But for existing homes, we are looking at ways to help consumers create these intelligent plans. Tango should deliver a really consumer-friendly way of measuring and rendering our homes.

4/ With its internal mapping software do you think Tango will have an effect on Real Estate Marketing and if so, how?

For Real Estate, the Tango project is an evolution of the software already used by professionals in the industry.  Apps like MagicPlan and SmartDraw already allow for 2D dimensioning and are widely used by surveyors, EPC providers and energy assessors. Tango would redefine this market.

5/ With all the recent talk of Hololens and Meta, do you think there is a future for Tango and, if so, what do you think it will be? 

We think it’s important to separate out the process of data capture, which Tango is set to revolutionise, and the process of data presentation.  Hololens and Meta and part of the spectrum of presentational innovations that span Augmented Reality through to Virtual Reality.  All aspects of the presentation revolution rely on there being good data to build from.  It is likely that Hololens and Meta applications will be based on 3D renditions created by Tango.

So, in simple terms lets look at what Project Tango is all about. 

It is part of Google’s aims to map the internal world – after all, they have already mapped Earth (Google Earth) and our Roads (Streetview) so why not. The enormity of this project, in my view, is far higher than its predecessors and its potential benefits for the real estate sector are quite astounding; not least with its impact on virtual reality and augmented reality. If we can map all the internal spaces of this world we can then start immersing people in them or, at its most exciting level, start layering information on the top of what it is picking up.

I am however, perhaps the worst person to write about its benefits so below there is firstly a video, filmed in Mid 2015 where The Verge interviewed the Google Lead in the project, Jonny Lee. I think it is all fascinating but pay particular attention to 6.30 onwards where the real potential starts to kick in; tablets are one thing but when Jonny starts talking about the move to incorporate the technology into glasses that is when you see the real future.

Project Tango Introduction:

If you want any more information or views of Project Tango and how it will impact the real estate industry please do get in touch. 


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