Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) have been deployed in fields as diverse as entertainment, healthcare, education and the military for some time, but have only recently entered the lexicon of real estate.
While accessible and easy-to-use software tools such as SketchUp have been in existence for several decades, and are still used by architects, interior designers and engineers to create 3D models of the physical environment, a range of new VR, AR and 3D programmes are revolutionising the way in which real estate is designed, constructed, marketed, fitted-out and used.
In the residential sector, VR technology is being used to support consumer purchasing by enabling potential buyers to digitally tour properties via 3D apps from anywhere in the world. This is especially useful for overseas investments and transactions, allowing potential buyers to see photo realistic VR/3D off plan representations of their potential investment.
VR/AR technology is also enhancing a whole range of processes in the corporate real estate field. Examples include virtual conference rooms that are slashing the need for physical travel, and headsets that reduce the need for traditional desk stations and computer set-ups. Capturing the application of these technologies in commercial real estate, CBRE acquired Floored, Inc., a leading producer of scalable, interactive 3D graphics technology, in January 2017.
One area where VR/AR technology has had a truly transformative impact is in the traditionally time and labour intensive processes of creating office test fitouts. Previously, test fitouts would involve repeated back-and forth communication with architects and other parties; rounds of revisions to hard copies of design drawings; and incremental rel="noopener noreferrer" costs - all of which significantly lengthen leasing transactions.
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