A few years ago we wrote about a home design game that serves as a fun way to express your interior design skills.
The app, while fun, wasn’t good enough for me. I wanted something more realwhere the property layout was exactly as I bought it so I could virtually plan my fit out and renovation.
It turned out that there was a Malaysian app that met my needs exactly. It’s called SofaX and it’s marketing itself as a metaverse for your home, allowing you to decorate and furnish properties in VR.
Your digital home
I actually found the SofaX app in late 2020, where it mostly behaved as a digital version of interior design brochures (or Pinterest, if you will). It also had VR interior design features, but the long loading times were frustrating given the few properties and furniture options available.
Almost two years later, SofaX seems to have more updates. The VR home design part is the star of the show and has a much faster loading time. It also has at least 3,000 pieces of branded furniture and over 1,800 VR floorplans inspired by housing projects around Klang Valley.
These residential projects consist of real floor plans from real estate developers such as Glomac, Beverly Group, Sime Darby Property and Tropicana Corporation Berhad to name a few.
In addition, you can find contacts to service providers such as plumbing work, air conditioning installation, carpentry work, feng shui advice and more in the app. There aren’t many names listed yet, but the team is in the process of bringing more on board.
The main goal of SofaX is to help users visualize the design of their dream home exactly in the property they bought. The app allows users to combine different furniture from different brands under one virtual roof.
get brands noticed
Using the team’s 3D modeling skills and VR gaming technology, they launched SofaX in November 2020 by creating the VR house plans based on publicly available information from real estate brochures.
However, in December 2021, the team began reaching out to property developers for more information about their home plans and built them accordingly.
“The real estate developers are very interested in working with us to create this little metaverse of the homes they are selling [or have] sold will be useful for their customers,” said Mac Lai, COO of SofaX.
“You don’t have to pay for an expensive mobile app or any other cost to deploy our virtual reality service.”
For the furniture retailers on the app, their benefit is an advertising opportunity where they pay SofaX commissions between 5% and 20% of each furniture sale.
When the products are featured and interactable through the VR platform, these furniture brands get more exposure and potential sales. A similar idea applies to the service providers in the app.
A gateway to e-commerce
When using the app, I found that there is a “Scan to Pay” option that works with participating merchants. This led me to wonder if SofaX offers streamlined ecommerce features where users can buy the furniture they like right from the app itself.
“First of all, we’re not 100 percent online e-commerce,” Mac clarified. “Our concept is based on Phygital (physical plus digital experience).”
After a user visualizes their design, they can visit the physical showrooms of SofaX’s partner retailers to better understand how the pieces feel.
“There are also more items in the showroom that are not available in the app. The idea is to bring customers into their stores,” Mac told the Vulcan Post.
In order for SofaX to earn the commissions they charge traders, users need to make some form of payment through the app, hence SofaX’s rewards and credit system. Put simply, the bonus system works more like your tank points card.
“In addition, we save unnecessary transaction costs that are typically charged by payment system providers,” says Mac, explaining the reward system.
Of course, SofaX plans to allow users to later buy the furniture directly from the app itself. Mac added that SofaX’s mission has always been to offer the best of both worlds where users can play and buy directly from the app.
Major developments in the pipeline
In the next 3 years, the SofaX team aims to provide a digital twin for all homes, including those in neighboring cities and countries like Singapore and Bangkok. Mac believes it’s possible since the team has the in-house resources to turn houses into VR without being at the actual location itself.
“Once we cover the real estate development projects, we will self-build our ecosystem of 3D assets from furniture companies in those areas,” added Mac.
SofaX is currently in the midst of raising its pre-Series A funding and expects to increase its Series A by the end of the year.
With the VR technology we already have, we intend to build another metaverse world that could include virtual malls, virtual convention centers, virtual car shows to name a few. This includes the development of individual apps for different events.
Mac Lai, SofaX Chief Operating Officer
- Find out more about SofaX here.
- Read more about Metaverse related articles here.
Featured Image Credit: Mac Lai, SofaX Chief Operating Officer