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Introducing Live Guided Virtual Tours!

Live Guided Tour Modes


From Virtual Open Houses to Virtual Field Trips

We’re really excited to introduce a feature to our virtual tours that makes the post COVID world feel a little bit more like it used to. Thanks to our new virtual tour engine, Anikio’s Live Guided Tours allow our customers to take clients, students or colleagues on a virtual walk-through that truly is shared. Live-Guided Tours allow you to have a video conference inside of a virtual tour, turning virtual tours into real experiences and adding a personal touch whether it’s a one-on-one call or a virtual field trip.

What Are Live Guided Tours?

This is more than screen sharing. Now, you can take your guests “by the hand” on a 360 degree virtual tour. As you turn to look at a feature you want to show off or walk into the next room, your guests will see exactly what you see. Or, if you grant permission, they can show you around to ask questions as they go. Synchronizing where you look, you can take turns on controlling the virtual tour. And of course, guests can be allowed to “unhook” from that and take a closer look where THEY want while you’re talking with each other. With a simple button click they hook back onto where the host is (equally, the host can force any guest to join back into their viewpoint with a button click).  

The host (whether you’re a landlord, realtor, teacher, or business owner) can point out areas of interest and discuss what’s being seen in 360º by everybody in real time. The guest can follow where the host takes him, look around on his own or ask for permission to control the tour for everybody as if he were the host.

And as host, you set the parameters for your experience. Are users allowed to unhook? Ask for control? Can they hear each other or just you? So if you’re a realtor doing a walk through to introduce 20 other realtors to a new listing, you can turn on presentation mode. 30 seconds after that’s finished, you can do a one-on-one with a potential buyer… without waiting for the realtors to leave or driving across town.

Of course, your guests can still view the tour on their own. But if you really want to walk through and help them understand the potential of the space, now you have the option to do that virtually!

And Live Guided Tours are accessible on both desktop and mobile devices, so your clients can dial in from their mobile phones as well.


How It Works

First of all, we have to create the account and credentials for you to act as host of the tour. Let us know that you’d like to have Live Guided Tours when we create your virtual tour and we’ll set everything up for you.

Already have an Anikio virtual tour? No problem! We can add this capability to an existing tour as well!


Once we’ve published your virtual tour, you will receive credentials to sign on as a host. Now you’ve opened the line and guests visiting your virtual tour will see that a Live Guided Tour is available and and join the session.

All you need to do is right-click on your virtual tour and select “Start Live Guided Tour”. You’ll be asked for the name you wish to display as well as the password that Anikio provided. 

NOTE: Anyone currently viewing the virtual tour when you log in will not be able to see that you’re available to host until they refresh or re-open the tour.

Showing the menu option that starts hosting a live guided tour
Right click on your tour to open this menu

The first time, you will be quickly shown a few windows that explain the buttons and options available as host. Make sure you read through them, they do a much better job explaining than we are here! There are several different modes you can choose that determine how much interaction guests are allowed with you, the tour, and other guests.

Different Hosting Modes Available
The built-in tutorial showing some of the host options

Notifications and Permissions

Once you’re through these explanation windows, you’re ready to be called. Make sure your settings allow for notifications in your browser. Otherwise, you won’t be able to be notified of an incoming call.

In your browser, you’ll also need to give permission to access the camera and microphone. The browser system will ask you this automatically the first time that somebody calls you. Make sure you click “Allow” to grant access in the permission window. Even if you opt to not use your webcam for this guest (a separate setting) allowing access now will save you some digging into the permissions later. You can of course grant or revoke this permission in your browser settings at all times.

Be sure to allow access to camera and microphone so guests can see and hear you
You’ll be asked once if you’d like to allow access to camera and microphone so guests can see and hear you. Even if you allow access, you can still turn off microphone or camera for each call.

Should you not see this window or accidentally deny permission, you can go to your browser settings, search for the term “camera” and under  “Site Settings” and edit the sites that block and allow your camera access. This is the case for both host and guests accessing Live Guided Tours.


Guests will only be able to call when there is a host logged in and Do Not Disturb is turned off. As soon as the host has logged in, any new visitor of  the virtual tour will see the option to “START LIVE SESSION” on the top of the screen as shown below.

When clicked, the guest will be asked to give their name. Then, just click “Connect” to call in to the Live Session. Make sure to grant permission to your camera and microphone.

NOTE: If the guest opens the tour before the host has logged in, the guest will need to refresh their browser (F5 key or ) to see this option.

Calling to join a Live Guided Tour as a Guest
Calling to join a Live Guided Tour as a Guest

When a guest first enters the tour, they’ll also be shown a welcome screen with instructions on how to use the tour.

Welcome Screen Shown To Guests
Welcome Screen Shown To Guests

And that’s it. Ready to explore, show, guide and talk – together.

Real estate showings – accompanied and guided. Virtual field trips to the Western Development Museum or the Remai Modern Art Gallery. Personalized sales presentations and virtual showrooms staffed with actual humans. Virtual group plant visits with colleagues from all over the world. You name it. We’ll make it happen!

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Maps Issue Resolved At Last!

Well, it’s probably past time I update you on something that isn’t related to COVID-19. We have been experiencing an issue with our use of Google Maps. More specifically, users without registered accounts were seeing “development mode” or “problem loading maps” issues when searching properties on the home page or looking at a specific property’s location on the homepage.

We have been working very hard on attempting to resolve this with Google, our developers, and our even our web host. In the end, the web hosting company came to the rescue with a backup from December this morning. So if you logged in today, you may briefly have seen some Christmas wishes. ’tis the season! We were able to painstakingly re-create every update, tweak and change to Anikio since December until finally we reproduced the issue. Or at least we thought that we had. Then we realized that the browser had just auto-logged us back in. Oops! However, after more searching, it appears the problem was related to the way the website loads. We attempted to make a speed improvement that affected the loading of the map, but only in cases where the user wasn’t logged in. Crazy!

The problem is solved! This is such a relief! It made it impossible for me to try to recruit new landlords and property managers. Which meant less properties available than usual for browsing. The worst part is that I don’t know how long this was going on. Because I’m always logged in, it wasn’t until a user reported a different issue last weekend that we first realized there was a problem at all. So please, if you see something that isn’t working right, let me know! And I’ll do my best to log out once in a while and look around, too! 🙂

Have a great Greek/Orthodox Easter whether you celebrate or not. I know that I will!

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Fall 2019 Updates

Example of New Email Notification

Today is election day and we just got back in from a nice stroll through one of the linear parks in Evergreen to our voting station at the Sylvia Fedoruk school. If you haven’t yet, stop reading this and go vote! We’ll still be here when you get back.

In the spirit of election giveaways (or maybe as an early Halloween treat), we have some exciting updates and new features on the site that we want to share with you. Maybe you’ve noticed them already? Either way, we’re always looking at ways to improve so keep that feedback coming!

What’s New

1) Recently Rented Property – Starting more or less now, we’re recording the date that property is marked as rented. That way, we can show you what properties have recently gone off the market and are no longer available (in case you’re wondering where that beautiful 4-bedroom house you were looking at has gone). Once there’s been enough time passed to populate the recently rented properties page (i.e. new and current property has been rented out) then you’ll see this appear on the home page next to the For You section. Don’t worry landlords, once the property is rented, anyone looking at the listing will see a big red banner letting them know that this listing is no longer available… and we take off the contact section (just don’t put the contact info in your listing description).

2) Apply Preferred Search Filters – You may have noticed that the main page search box allows you to instantly enable your preferred search filters so you can see the places that match your criteria on the map. If you haven’t done so yet, go ahead and Register and then, under your Profile, you can modify your Preferred Search to only show properties that would meet your needs. Still too many? Maybe not yet, but when there are, then go ahead and start adding your wants in, too.  Once you’ve done that, then number three on this list gets a lot more useful:

3) Improved “For You” Section – On the main page there is a section where you can see our Featured listings, the Newest listings, and a section called “For You.” Up until now, it wasn’t all that helpful but if you’ve created a Preferred Search in your profile, this will show you the best matches based on what you’re looking for. Eventually we will be applying some algorithms to make even better recommendations for places that we think you’ll like based on your criteria.

4) Photo Sorting – It’s now possible to rearrange your photos and caption them from mobile. We’re still working out a few kinks with the way the ordering is saving, but this is really close to completion.

5) Improved Renewal Emails – Our basic email notifying landlords that their property has expired has been beefed up! First, we send a preliminary notice 5 days before the listing expires with an option to early renew and maintain continuity right from the email. Don’t worry, we’ll add another month past your previous expiry date so renewing early doesn’t cost you any time. If the property has been rented, you can also mark it as rented right from your inbox. Nice! If you missed the chance to renew your listing then we’ll still send a second email after the listing has expired. Again, you’ll be able to renew or mark the property rented right from the email.

What’s Next 

1) Photo Sorting – While the functionality has improved from a month ago, there’s still more work to do making this as seamless as possible. A few more bugs to squish, if we’re being totally upfront about it. But hopefully that will be finished soon.

2) Virtual Tour Link – The way that we’re including virtual tours with our listings is changing. Previously, when a landlord made an edit to change a property, we would have to go and add the virtual tour back in to the property again. Once this is done, that issue will go away and landlords will be able to edit their property without fear of losing their virtual tour.

3) Standardized Introduction Form – While we have several levels of spam prevention built in to our contact forms, our goal is to help make the rental process better for everyone. With that in mind, we will be working towards a standardized ‘greeting’ or introduction form. This will allow our tenants to send some key basic information about who they are and what they’re looking for to landlords instead of writing and re-writing. A standardized introduction will help everyone save time, tenants don’t need to write and re-write introductions, and landlords get a better first impression of potential tenants than a message saying “Is this available?” So much time is wasted waiting between a basic message like that and a reply saying, “Yes, can you tell me about yourself? Question question?” and then the tenant writing another reply. Tip to tenants – if the property is listed, assume it’s available even though we know that landlords and property managers sometimes miss taking properties down. And if you DO contact a landlord that says the property isn’t available, let us know so we can get it taken down!

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Major Update to Social Login

Hi all, Dean here! Some time ago, Google announced that it was ending its Google Plus social media platform. That wasn’t supposed to affect us, even though we did use it to make logging in quick. Unfortunately, in the last couple weeks, a few new users reported that they were seeing a warning message when they tried to register. It turns out that it did affect us and we had to completely redo the way that login works.

So the good news is that we have just deployed and tested, and as far as we can tell, everything is working great! There is no longer an issue for new users and existing users won’t even notice a difference. Furthermore, changes did affect Facebook login but you shouldn’t notice anything on your end either except faster login. Woohoo! The only bad news is that we no longer receive an email address when signing in with Yahoo, so Yahoo users will need to manually enter their email address when they register. Once registered, everything will work quickly and painlessly.

Concluding, everything should be running great for our existing users and new users alike. Users creating an account with Yahoo just have to enter their email address. So why the post? Because if there are ANY issues you encounter with logging in, registering, or creating an account, please send us feedback asap! It will be much appreciated.

Happy renting!


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3 Tips: Getting Started on Anikio

Hi there, thanks for checking out Anikio.com – we hope to make renting a much better experience for landlords and tenants! While you’re getting started, here are some power-user moves that can really help you make the most of the website. Hopefully you found some of these features yourself, but if not, here are some of the most important ones:

Secrets of the Search Box

You might not have realized it, but that search box on the homepage actually let’s you get pretty specific about things like location. Have you seen those little arrows by the cities? You don’t have to search only properties in Saskatoon, for example, but you can actually click on them to filter down to specific neighbourhoods. The hierarchy is City -> Planning Area / Region -> Neighbourhood. Looking for somewhere near Confederation Mall (but maybe not as far up as Dundonald)? No problem! Not interested in apartments or absolutely need a place that is non-smoking? The more options you select, the better tailored your results will be for you! Oh, and don’t miss the section below on how to REALLY tweak your search using the Preferred Search setting. That’s where you can choose to only show places that will consider letting you move in with Fluffy, your hairless cat!

Update Your Profile

When you sign up with a Google or Facebook account, we don’t take much information from them. We get your name, your email address (so that people can contact or reply to you) and, if you have one, a profile picture. Take a second to open up your profile and add some information to help people get to know a bit about who they’re talking to. Maybe you want to use a different profile photo than what is on your Facebook page. Or the email you signed up for Facebook with isn’t one you use anymore. Other items you may want to add:

  • Phone Number – some people prefer texting or voice calls.
  • Description – Aside from telling people a bit about yourself, you may want to include information like your preferred means of contact, information that should be included in an inquiry, and so on. Think of this as a small resume combined with a space for any information you want to share before you’re contacted.
  • Website – This is a good place to link to your social media profile (we don’t put that link in by default, at least not at the moment).

Preferred Search and the “For You” Section of the Homepage

While you’re in the profile page, you may have noticed on the right (or at the bottom for those on mobile) a section called Preferred Search. This lets you create a custom search with all sorts of filters (cat/dog/other pet friendly, properties with fenced backyards, you name it!) beyond what you can search for on the homepage. Even better, this search will follow you around on the site. On the homepage, the For You section will now show properties that meet the criteria you’ve selected and the search/map will automatically filter to show your settings. It really takes a lot of the work out of sifting through properties that don’t meet your criteria. And if you’re a landlord with a single rental property looking for comparables, it will help you quickly look at similar properties to yours… just make sure not to make the criteria too specific or you may not find all the really close ones.