Is virtual reality the future of the real estate industry?

Virtual reality and real estate are very likely a heavenly marriage. After gaming, real estate has been touted as one of the industries likely to be disrupted soonest by VR technology. Let’s see why the suit is so promising, the state of the art in space, and where we can go from here.

Virtual Reality or VR in simple terms is any Technology which takes you into a computer-simulated environment in which you can realistically find yourself and/or interact. In the context of real estate and construction, the simulated environment is the built environment that may be your dream home or commercial space. The experience is ideally fully immersive involving the use of headsets and specialized devices, but can also be non-immersive or on-screen.

Let’s take a look at three major use cases of virtual reality in real estate and construction with game-changing impact.

It is now possible to create 360 ​​degree virtual tours of completed properties as well as those still to be built or under construction. The former involves photo capture and stitching technologies to generate immersive views of the built property, while the latter involves photorealistic rendering techniques to evoke the same during or before the construction of the property. Such virtual experiences can dramatically reduce the cost, time and effort required for sales while improving customer experience, convenience and engagement.

  • Personalization and Virtual Commerce

Using detailed 3D modeling and real-time visualization techniques, developers and builders can deliver a cost-effective, personalized buy-and-build experience for their customers. The client can mix and match curated palettes of design styles, themes in addition to structural customization options – open or closed plans, for example. Real-world collections of fit-out, finishing and furnishing products can also be showcased in-situ and sold seamlessly, which can be a big win-win for all stakeholders involved.

  • VR-ready design and construction

An integrated VR design and construction process unlocks significant value in terms of time and cost savings. First, 3D and virtual reality help customers better visualize architectural designs. Fully immersive virtual reality is particularly useful for appreciating sizes and spaces. The best VR experiences also incorporate BIM data and actual product catalogs to facilitate real-time customization, cost estimation, and decision making. Such built-in visual models can serve as a reference source of truth throughout the construction process. All of this means greater transparency, better quality, overall efficiency, and a vastly improved customer experience with little to no rework.


We already have accessible implementations of the above use cases that work on low-end phones, tablets, and VR headsets, thanks to improvements in display technologies and mobile computing. But many of them are not fully integrated, mostly deployed non-immersively (on a handheld display) and don’t harness the full potential and true magic of VR as a technology.

The most engaging, truly immersive and integrated experiences often require access to specialized, high-end VR headsets like the Oculus Quest or Htc VIVE, as well as cutting-edge software engineering capabilities. Some of the most innovative and disruptive companies in the industry are tackling this problem with virtual reality powered experience centers and integrated software solutions, making it more accessible and affordable for the customer. As VR technology evolves through the next generations of Millennials and Gen Z who become property buyers, these innovations will only become more scalable, ubiquitous and essential.

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Disclaimer

The opinions expressed above are those of the author.



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