In this interview, you will meet Jose Mayorga, Director of Image Fusion, and a client of iStaging since 2017. Jose speaks about how he found iStaging, his clients’ feedback and why iStaging is a valuable addition to his CGI and 3D visualization consultancy.
Could you introduce yourself and Image Fusion?
My name is Jose Mayorga and we have a company in London called Image Fusion . It was primarily set up as a graphic design company, but I'm an architect. Given the profession and the clients that we were engaging with, they were seeking something a little different.
How did it all start?
What clients were fascinated with was computer generated imagery (CGI) and using that as a virtual tour model so that we could sell planning concepts. As an architect myself, I have a passion for conceptualising. That early stage development was fundamental to how I progressed things.
Uploading a CGI to your platform and automatically stitching together the VR tour as opposed to going through an actual building with a camera and scanning the building to create the tour, was something that clients were just blown away by.
How long have you been with iStaging?
Since February 2017. We were already testing VRs in CGI mode early on. We took it to various house builders and developers. We sat down with them and said, look, we are looking to use this and clients were using a competitor at the time. The space had to be scanned physically and that was a real problem for them, because they had to sell the houses off-plan before they were built.
It was an opportunity for a fresh perspective. They said: How are we going to do this? We showed them iStaging and they said: We want to see more. That's where it started. That's what launched our company.
How has the possibility of uploading CGI’s via iStaging helped Image Fusion?
That was fundamental for us. Lots of our clients are property developers, investors, and many of them sell off-plan. They need refined CGI’s for actual tours and they show progress during construction.
Image Fusion started as a graphic design that grew into CGI. And now we're doing all of it through your platform. We've had great feedback. They also upload them to their websites and that's great for their sales targets.
Why are CGIs so crucial?
Before construction, planning gain was the goal for them and that was 80% of our client base. The marketing, the tours, early CGIs, were crucial to selling off-plan quicker. Property developers were able to pay back their investors quicker with a quicker rate of return. It was a massive gain for them.
Overall, Image Fusion has grown exponentially with iStaging. And all the little changes that you've made, the improvements have helped us along the way. It's been a tremendous journey so far.
So did you stumble upon iStaging somewhere? Or were you looking for something specifically?
Yes, I was looking. I was so frustrated. I just couldn't get the answers out of other competitors, so I went on social media and I could see the frustrations that customers had with other competitors’ customer service.
I started to find a few comments, someone suggested iStaging. It was working for them. So, I called up a friend of mine and asked him to take a look at it. He was very impressed with what he saw initially. I looked at it and thought: This is it! This is going to work!
Being able to upload your own images was a defining moment for us. Doing CGI and animations was one thing, but the VR tours, it's quite a big volume of our fees that we can attach to the service. It’s something tangible that clients can take away on iPhone and iPad. If they're on the plane they can just check through the tour. They don't actually have to be on site and envisage it.
Awesome. So early on, being able to upload your own designs was crucial. Are there other functionalities from the platform that have really helped you out or could provide value for you in the near future?
Yes, I think one of the functions we haven't really tapped into yet is taking customers through the tours themselves (TourRing). I did profile that with one client who wanted to sell the property off-plan. The ability where they can just tap in and control the tour for potential customers and take them through the tour is a great functionality. It’s something I do want to focus on going forward. I think we can go back to house builders and train them and show our sales team how they can do that. Maybe they can build up a virtual sales team that can manage that.
Being able to tag (markers) various things is important as well. Developers want to go in with the VR headsets and interact with the environment. It's not just static. I can then link to their sales brochure on the website, for instance. And if it's a showcase kitchen, they specify they want to build that into a virtual CGI. They want to be able to tag things, because it's their brand they want to sell. So that's important.
How is the feedback from your clients? Can you give an example?
In the beginning, we had a client called Martin Grant Homes and we sat down, we went through it and the importance for them was to sell off-plan. Just seeing what we were putting together through iStaging and how quickly we could do it, as opposed to the mistakes that were being made on other platforms, was key.
The speed of delivery was the biggest thing, but also how easy they could interact with the software when I'm not there. If they're at home, having a coffee looking through, they can actually contact their sales team and say, well, why don't we change this and that, they'd screenshot parts of the tour and email that back to me. That process was very streamlined and they were quite surprised how good that was.
How is the collaboration with iStaging? What do you think about the iStaging service and the support of the team?
The support has been great. Once, I think we had one small subscription issue with one of the accounts. With other platforms, the customers were complaining online that they'd lost their tours. But with iStaging, the tours were still in the account and everything was replenished immediately. All links were restored and it was done within half an hour. In terms of customer support, it's been quick as well. I suppose the alternative platforms are, you know, pretty abysmal.
What I love about iStaging is the focus you have on your customers, you don't forget where you came from. And that's been key and it shows in the service that you provide. So we're very happy.
How do you see the technological future of Image Fusion and how does iStaging's platform fit into that?
Virtual reality is very key for us now. We take the VR headsets with us to all our meetings. And again, it's just another way that the clients are really impressed with what they're able to see in VR mode. Augmented and mixed reality is also something we really want to tap into.
Some developers have their HoloLens headsets and they want to interact more. They want to take the platform as far as they can. For example to measure distances. I think one of the key aspects is transferring the VR into a 3D model. A 3D model that can be used to then develop into BIM. So they're looking into BIM modelling - how iStaging could possibly cross into BIM and how we can extract a VR tour. But say, a model that could be transferred into AutoCAD, and then do CGis and pop them back into the tour.
And getting around the table with the VR headsets in a VR meeting, and just point and click and moving objects around eventually, is going to be the goal.
Interior designers have been talking about developing a library where you could add furniture into an empty room and dress up a room and change the colours of things. I think that's where we want to go with VR. I'm always thinking about ways that we can make that work through your platform.
What do you think about our new platform, METAmakeR?(During the interview, Jose had the opportunity to experience our brand new platform, METAmakeR.)
Yes. Excellent. That's great. Because a lot of our customers are from the gaming world. Gaming tech. That's their world and that's what they understand. The model will be interesting if we can utilise that into BIM. It’s where the discussions are going to lead with some of the developers.
Thank you so much for your time, Jose!
I really appreciate it. It's been a pleasure. I've seen all your blogs, your video posts as well. Really informative. It's been great. I’m really excited to see how far we can take this.
Jose Mayorga is a Chartered Architect and the Director of Image Fusion. Image Fusion is a visual design consultancy and CGI studio based in London, UK, since 2016. Their services include: architectural visual CGIs, product visuals, 3D Modelling & Renderings and more.