Augmented Reality and Real Estate | The Future is Here!
While immersive virtual reality is still in the early stages having just become available to consumer's in the past few years thanks to the release of the Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, and other VR headsets, it is already spinning off other related technologies. One technology that is of particular interest to the real estate community is called augmented reality.
Augmented reality came of age in the past year with the release of, believe it or not, a gaming phone app called Pokemon Go! In the game, you are shown a map with icons indicating the location of virtual characters in a “real world” setting. Using your phone, you can “see” these characters in the real world landscape around you, and the goal of the game is to “capture” them.
It is not too far of a stretch to see that this technology has implications far beyond capturing virtual characters in a real world environment! For developers, interior designers, design-build firms, and real estate agents augmented reality is a viable technology right now and has the potential to completely change the industry in the next few years.
Let's explore augmented reality and its applications in the world of real estate marketing.
What is Augmented Reality?
Augmented reality uses many of the same technologies used in virtual reality. Unlike VR which is immersive and creates an entirely new environment, augmented reality is non-immersive and is designed to enhance or “augment” the real environment around you. With augmented reality, digital information is overlaid onto the actual physical world. Using your smartphone, tablet, or laptop camera to detect a target image, software figures out how far and at what angle the target image is from the camera using sensors, GPS, and other technology. It then projects digital information onto the target image.
The earliest usage was by the military. The head-up display on fighter jets that allowed pilots to see information projected in front of them was done using augmented reality. Today augmented reality technology is being used in luxury automobiles windshield displays and is the technology behind Google Glass.
Working Together – AR and Real Estate Marketing
Today, augmented reality is finding some uses in real estate marketing. Whether it is a smartphone or a tablet app, AR is providing developers, designers, and agents with a number of sales-enhancing tools from the ability to enhance traditional advertising, to the capacity to showcase properties from a 3-D perspective which would have been done using drawings in the past.
For interior designers, clients can easily visualize changes to a property by just hitting a button to alter the color of a wall, changing the position of the sofa in the living room or adding a piece of furniture from an in-app database.
Developers can equip their on-site sales teams with AR-enabled tablets. When a potential buyer comes in to take a tour of a model home, they can then be brought to an empty lot. The agent armed with an AR-enabled tablet can walk them t the curb, hold up the tablet and using AR overlay the exterior 3-D view of the proposed building showing it is exact location on the lot. This can better help prospective buyers to visualize their home before it even exists.
AR can even be embedded into traditional advertising much like QR codes. It can be included in an existing Agency app or used as a stand-alone. Unlike QR codes which have a single function, embedded AR can have multiple functionalities within a single ad, for example, it can:
• Enable call functionality dialing the agent directly from the ad
• Enable email functionality so a buyer can email the appropriate agent with a prewritten description of the property they are interested in
• Book viewings directly from the ad
• Deliver the buyer to a website to see additional information
• Embed video of the property into images
• Embed 3-D visuals to off-plan properties
Industry experts predict that augmented reality will have a huge impact in the next several years as the technology matures. Whether it is servicing a potential buyer looking for a custom home, a designer showing a buyer options for custom finishes, or a contractor visualizing changes to blueprints, augmented reality is poised to be a game-changer. It will have a lasting and long-time impact on how business gets done throughout the real estate industry!
If you would like to learn more, contact Jacob Hale at Village Features. We have been providing virtual reality technology marketing tools including immersive VR, augmented reality, 2D and 3D 360-degree video for our real estate clients.