Bleeding Edge Tech: Virtual Reality and Commercial Real Estate

October 12, 2020 | By: Molly Looman

Augmented and virtual reality have been taking the tech world by storm offering new options to explore and see a space. Recently, there has been talk about how this new technology could impact the world of commercial real estate. Is there a world where clients take a tour of a property from their office? 

Breaking it Down

Augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) are similar but slightly different technologies. Virtual reality puts the user in an entirely digital experience. Augmented reality adds digital features to supplement experience in the real world. Both are booming in terms of development and new uses.  

Commercial real estate professionals are using this technology to simulate being in a property from afar and showing potential tenants renderings before the first brick is laid. Users can tour entire buildings or see added information on a real-world tour. This technology not only saves time in terms of property tours but also accelerates the timeline for leasing a property. 


Embracing the New World

There are two major applications for VR and AR technology. One is the display of buildings under construction and the other is the enhancement of already built properties. 

Imagine having a potential tenant that instead of finding time for a property tour where both the potential client and the property manager are available, they could simply be sent a link or come to a singular office for a VR experience? Using VR to let potential tenants tour a building has already proven successful. Some firms have been able to lease out buildings completely before they are finished using this method. Not only does it save everyone travel time, but it lets the property manager craft a tour experience that shows off the property at its best guaranteed.

For existing buildings, AR can be used to enhance them. Perhaps tenants will be able to put their phone up in the lobby and see any new bulletins or put their camera up to an emergency map and access a written evacuation plan. It could even be used to craft tenant experiences like a digital scavenger hunt or photo challenge. On the leasing side, AR can be used to show enhanced or extra details to a stakeholder or investor during a property tour. 


Bumps in the Road

 This technology is still in its infancy meaning it still comes at a very high cost and the full impact of the technology remains to be seen. Existing 3-d technology like Matterport has shown the potential of systems like this, but the extent of where VR and AR can go is still unknown. 

The human element of a leasing agent is not going anywhere anytime soon, but there is potential for the human and the technology to world together to create an enhanced experience during all phases of a building’s lifecycle. 

How virtual reality is already changing commercial real estate
Can Augmented and Virtual Reality Really Change the Commercial Real Estate Landscape?

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