Cutting-edge auction software gives vendors front-row seat

Profile headshot of Apollo Auctions

8 May, 2024

By Apollo Auctions

The days of vendors nervously peeking through living room curtains during the auction of their properties could soon be a thing of the past thanks to groundbreaking new virtual reality software.
Apollo auctioneer Greg Brydon recently called the world’s first-ever auction using technology-infused goggles, which allows sellers to see and hear everything that he did on the day.
“I have a digital display in front of me that has the vendors on a video call, so they can communicate with me. I can see the vendors, the vendors can see me, but the vendors can also see exactly what I see, and they can communicate with me to tell me when to put it on the market,” Greg says.
“The headset has two or three forward-facing cameras and those cameras are effectively recording what’s in front of me as if they were my eyes and that’s what the vendor sees.”

The cutting-edge technology is the brainchild of Webtron – a Melbourne-based online auction software company that also ran the country’s first-ever online real auction way back in 2007 – who approached Greg to try out its latest invention in real life.

Webtron Founder and Director Alex Hill says the software was developed to enhance the experience for vendors as well as the potential results for auctioneers.
“What we modelled with this is we tried to flip it 180 degrees to make it from the auctioneer and the seller side, which has never really been done before,” Alex says.

“Everyone told me there’s no way, if he puts those goggles on, there won’t be any bids and people will be running away and there’ll be an outrage.
“And, so, when we did it and Greg got all the bids and he could interact with the bidders, no one ran away, no one retracted bids, it sold over reserve, so a lot of questions have been answered, but you don’t know until you actually do it.”

Alex says future iterations of the software will focus on a 360 perspective that involves online bidders also seeing and hearing everything that the auctioneer does.

“You have to take a risk sometimes, but it obviously has to be a calculated risk. You’re not going to do it with someone that doesn’t know what they’re doing, which Greg clearly does,” Alex says.

Greg says the 100-plus crowd that gathered for the sale of the Elwood church conversion was aware beforehand that this was going to be an auction literally like no other.

Plus, he says, the benefits of the technology far outweighed the fact that he didn’t have direct eye contact with bidders – under the current technology anyway.

“Everything was 100 per cent perfect. My vision was really good. We had the team there with bidder paddles for bidders, so we didn’t miss any bids,” Greg recalls.
“I saw it as an addition, not a detraction from what we were doing. It only elevated the experience. It didn’t take away anything bar a slight bit of eye contact with the bidders. But because of the preparation and having my team with all of the bidders, there was no issues whatsoever.
“The vendors loved seeing me on the screen and loved being able to see what was happening exactly blow for blow.”

And at the fall of the gavel, the property sold $137,000 over the reserve, with the vendors also having the rare opportunity to watch in real-time as the eventual new owners of their home made the winning knock-down bid.