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Is VR the future of real estate industry?

Virtual Reality and Real Estate are quite plausibly a match made in heaven. After gaming, real-estate has been touted to be among the industries likely to be disrupted the earliest by VR technology. Let us see why the combination is so promising, the state-of-the-art in the space and where we may be heading from here.

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

Let us take a look at three major VR use cases in real estate and construction with game-changing impact.

It is possible today to create 360 degree Virtual Tours of completed properties as well as those that are yet to be built or under construction. The former involves photo capture and stitching technologies to generate immersive views of the constructed property whereas the latter entails photorealistic rendering techniques to conjure up the same while or before the property is actually built. Such virtual experiences significantly save cost, time and effort involved in sales while enhancing customer experience, convenience and engagement.

  • Customisation & Virtual Commerce

With detailed 3D modelling and real-time visualisation techniques, developers and builders can offer a cost-effective and personalised buying and building experience for their customers. The customer can mix and match from curated palettes of design styles, themes in addition to structural customisation options – open vs. closed plans for instance. Real world collections of fitting, finishing and furniture products can also be showcased in-situ and sold seamlessly which can be a big win-win for all stakeholders involved.

  • VR enabled Design & Build

A VR integrated design and build process unlocks significant value in terms of cost and time savings. First up, 3D and VR helps customers visualise architectural designs better. Fully immersive VR is especially helpful in appreciating sizes and spaces. The best VR experiences also integrate BIM data and actual product catalogues to facilitate real-time customisation, cost estimation and decision making. Such integrated visual models can serve as a reference source of truth throughout the build process. All of this means higher transparency, quality, all round efficiencies and a significantly improved customer experience with little to no rework.

We already have accessible implementations of the above use cases today that run on phones, tablets and low end VR headsets, thanks to improvements in display technologies and mobile computing. But many of these are not fully integrated, mostly deployed non-immersively (on a handheld screen) and do not leverage the full potential and real magic of VR as a technology.

The truly immersive, most engaging and well integrated experiences often require access to specialised, high-end VR headsets like the Oculus Quest or Htc VIVE along with cutting-edge software engineering capabilities. Some of the more innovative and disruptive companies in the space are tackling this through VR powered Experience Centres and integrated software solutions making it more accessible and affordable to the customer. As VR technology evolves through next generations of Millenials and Gen Zs turning property buyers, such innovations will only become more scalable, ubiquitous and essential.



Views expressed above are the author’s own.


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