Sparkout has launched an augmented reality real estate tour app for Android users in an increasingly crowded market with decreasing interest.

Have suggestions for products that you’d like to see reviewed by our real estate technology expert? Email Craig Rowe.

Marvel movie fans came to expect that at some point in every movie, Tony Stark would be working on something in augmented reality.

His complex, face-up floating holographic display interfaces allowed him to swipe, pinch, grab and throw visual data into virtual cabinets, trash cans and folders. Science fiction at its nerdiest.

Since the onset of Matterport, the real estate industry has been waiting with bated breath for that kind of physical interaction with virtual reality.

And we’re still waiting.

But we’re getting closer.

More cars are being made with heads-up displays (HUDs) and you can buy a holographic projector for advertising displays for under $200. (Anyone using this in a new construction showroom environment?) Airplanes have it, too.

Last week, I was contacted by a technology company called Sparkout. It develops cutting- and bleeding-edge products to support, or in some cases mimic, the services of today’s sharing economy players.

For example, an Airbnb Clone called RentalSlew is described thusly by creators:

RentalSlew is a highly customizable Airbnb clone script infused with AI algorithms to provide you with the edge in the business.

It made an Uber Eats clone called, wait for it … Eatzilla.

Sparkout pitched me their augmented reality tour app for real estate called Augar. Have a look:

Real Estate with Augmented Reality – Augar from Sparkout Tech on Vimeo.

Impressive and fun to watch, sure, but it looks like a tough sell given what else is out there.

The fly-through is jumpy and the exteriors hard to define. I wasn’t quite sure what I was looking into until I could make out some cabinets and a staircase.

The website describes a more robust property search and listing marketing app. In a follow-up email, the company’s Digital Marketing Strategist, Gunaseelan Arunachalam told me that it’s ready to go.

All [agents] have to do is hand over their app name, logo, play store credentials, property details and images, property 3D models. We at Sparkout will be doing the end-to-end setup,” he said.

That seems like a lot, especially the “handing over 3D models” part. That said, Augar is available for Android.

I think the takeaway is that technology providers remain hellbent on giving the homebuyers a way to tour, and even build properties, without physically being present.

After all, they’re even more dedicated to selling homes without agents being present, or mortgage brokers.

To date though, technology companies seem to be gaining more ground in the latter than the former.

Matterport, Ricoh Home Tours and the multitude of other mobile market competitors are more practical at the moment than Augar, requiring no more than an iPhone, rotating tripod mount and an app.

Sparkout’s brand seems wrapped around trying to put their own spin on already innovative products. I’m sure it’s an exciting endeavor, and I can think of very few things more entertaining than a whiteboarding session that ends in a product name like “Eatzilla.”

Still, I’ve always been somewhat cynical about 3D tours and the web of related technologies it’s spun.

We still have sponsors offering advice on how to sell clients on the use of AR.

The bottom line is: You can’t beat the value of experiencing a home in person. Houses are physical spaces with an intended experience, home layouts are designed with purpose. People love homes. They’re emotional products. You simply have to be there.

My colleague Jim Dalrymple II probably summed it up best in a column nine months ago, writing, “Virtual and 3D touring technology, in other words, currently plays second fiddle to other more traditional kinds of real estate imaging.”

Should the dust from the industry’s digital haboob ever settle, it seems likely that the last vendors standing will be photographers.

Here’s to keeping your lenses clean.

Have suggestions for products that you’d like to see reviewed by our real estate technology expert? Email Craig Rowe.

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