Developing Trust in Sharing Rental Economy through Virtual Reality 360° Video

University essay from KTH/Skolan för elektroteknik och datavetenskap (EECS)

Abstract: Students, especially international ones have a hard time seeking accommodation in big cities like Stockholm in Sweden at an adequate pricing. To facilitate such a search process and to create a sense of trust, tenants and landlords use video and/or voice calls for early communication with one another. However, the establishment of trust among tenants and landlords in this context is a challenging task. This study thus aims to investigate if innovative virtual reality (VR) approaches like 360° videos can be used to develop trust among tenants and landlords. This study undertakes an investigation from student perspective due to the limited timeframe. This study was carried out in collaboration with Ett tak (English: One roof) which is a startup working in the rental market in Stockholm. The tenants are the students and the landlords are senior people having spare space in their homes. A pre-study was conducted to identify the expectations of the students. A landlord was filmed for the 360° video which was developed into a Unity VR app. The results from the usability study indicate that most students felt a high degree of trust towards the landlord by using an immersive 360° VR tour. Conversely, the students showed hesitation to use the 360° VR by buying their own VR headsets unless VR becomes mainstream in the different areas of life. This study builds upon existing literature that validate the positive impact of attributes like profile photos, ratings and reviews on the trust level between the providers and the consumers in a sharing economy.

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