VIRTUAL reality technology developed in Colchester is set to go global.

After years of being used to sell homes, the technology is now being used to sell luxury yachts as part of a world tour.

The technology has been developed by marketing agency ThinkBDW which is based on the Severalls Business Park, in Colchester.

It involves users wearing headsets to see homes or boats in 3D.

The firm has just launched a variant of its technology for yacht manufacturer Fairline which it will use to sell boats.

ThinkBDW created an exact virtual reality replica of its luxury motor yacht, the Targa 63 GTO, which launches in the summer.

The experts managed the task in just ten weeks using CAD computer aided design and boat data.

The technology lets users see a Mediterranean-style vista with the sound of birdsong and lapping waves.

The finer details are also shown, from the Venetian blinds in the master cabin to the cool box in the cockpit.

The new age technology was launched at the London Boat show.

Andy Scott, ThinkBDW UX project manager, said: “No other yacht company had similar technology at the exhibition and it was a first for us.”

Fairline marketing director Miles Moorhouse said prospective customers loved the virtual reality experience and the boat supplier was “amazed” by it, including its high quality.

The company makes boats in Oundle, near Peterborough.

It launches them at its Ipswich commissioning depot and sells them all over the world.

The new Targa 63 GTO retails from £1.15 million, plus tax, plusany bespoke extras customers might order.

After a London launch, the virtual reality technology was this week being used at the Dusseldorf Boat show in Germany before going even further afield to Miami and Dubai.

Mr Moorhouse said: “We are going to take the technology around the world but we will continue to display real boats as well.

“The technology is really cutting edge.

“To be able to put goggles on a prospective customer and let them navigate the boat is really ground-breaking stuff.

“People haven’t seen this before. It’s phenomenal.

“ThinkBDW has done an exceptional job and we certainly intend to continue our relationship with them in the future.”

Mr Scott confirmed the CGI (computer generated imagery) technology had been used for some years in marketing property, but this was a first in selling boats.

He said: “There’s a lot of Virtual Reality around. It’s a big buzzword at the moment, especially with our software.”

The company employs 20 CGI staff and is seeking two or three others to join them. It is also retraining some staff.

Mr Scott added: “Virtual reality is the sales tool of the future, if not the present.”