In a Virtual state of mind
Virtual & Augmented Reality take the Real Estate industry by storm
We live in a world where games, travel, shopping, and almost any experience can be re-created on a digital platform with brand new understanding – so it’s no surprise that we now have the ability to pull those digital and multi-reality capabilities into Real Estate.
The first task at hand when attempting to apply these new developments, is to fully understand the meaning, functions and purposes of augmented reality vs. virtual reality.
In brief terms, Augmented Reality (AR) is technology that combines computer-generated enhancements with reality to offer either a single interactive experience or dual experiences. This is set up almost like an equation, with separate layers that can be used together or apart. AR is often used in computer or app formats.
Virtual Reality (VR) offers more of a simulation or regeneration of a real-life environment. It is a more immersive platform, normally applied by using a head mount or hand-held controller. This allows the user to experience code-generated situations by stimulating their senses – primarily vision and hearing.
Now comes the opportunity for buyers and sellers to truly experience properties. Rather than clicking through static images, or even visiting an empty house, clients are beginning to take 3D tours and can even virtually place furniture in otherwise empty rooms. This not only fully enhances their experience, but also poses a drastic change in the buying process across the board.
There are several companies and technologies entering the industry with Real Estate in mind. These thought leaders are creating experiences like this example 3D tour of a listing in Portland. 3D tours are a prime implementation of Augmented Reality in Real Estate, and industry giants like Zillow have started to take advantage of the affordances provided by the new tech wave. Although this is all relatively new information, it is moving quickly and is not far away; an apartment complex in our local community has now added Virtual Reality tours to prospective tenants.
Adding to the list of potential benefits of this technology, let’s talk travel and time. With VR capabilities, Realtors can largely cut back on the time spent traveling to and from homes with clients – which can become consuming in the first phase of buying or selling with new and indecisive clients. Using a VR app and headset, a client can be shown around a home virtually.
Current offerings and details of this trend might be confusing - but we predict that more and more companies will target specific niches, offer multiple services and make all of this more consumable to the average broker and even to the average agent. As we move forward, guided, immersive and interactive Real Estate technologies will only continue to emerge, improve and morph from what we know now. Stay tuned for updates!