Virtual Reality is Fast Becoming a Platform For Luxury Real Estate Sales and Builders Seeking Investment In New Developments Before Breaking Ground.
Virtual reality is here and in the next few years it will impact all of our lives. Whether you’re a gamer looking for an immersive experience, a student studying British history, or a builder or investor looking for a luxury development to invest in, virtual reality will change the way we all live, play, learn and buy residential homes.
Charlie Rose recently held a roundtable with the technological leaders of this new frontier and based on their responses; we are about to witness a paradigm shift in how we run our lives.
Let’s look at where we might be going in the next few years as virtual reality becomes a major part of our technological landscape.
The Point of Virtual Reality
The technology behind virtual reality has been around for quite some time. It's uses were primarily relegated to the military and big business. As consumer technology has become more powerful VR is now within reach using basic consumer grade computers putting it in the hands of builders and developers looking to sell residential homes.
The playing field changed in 2014 when Facebook purchased Oculus, a VR pioneer, for 2 billion dollars. Mark Zuckerberg said at the time that virtual reality is the next platform. The fact is that with VR anyone can create and experience anything they want, including new homes. The Oculus purchase opened the floodgates, and a new industry was born.
From headsets to games, to movies and television to purchasing real estate, virtual reality has opened entirely new worlds for both the producers of media and consumers. In the business community, VR is currently being used to improve journalism, health care, education, criminal justice and building. On the commercial front, home buyers can sit in a midtown Manhattan real estate office and take a walk through their beach front property in North Carolina 1000 miles away!
What Is VR?
VR gives the user the ability to be completely immersed in a scene of their choosing. You can be in an entirely different location and experience all that it has to offer both visually and through immersive audio. The technology has gotten to the point where the fidelity is so lifelike it can trick the viewer into believing that it's almost a real experience. As the technology continues to improve and new dynamics are added to the experience, for example, touch gloves or a full sensory suit, the experience will only get deeper and more real.
Imagine the possibilities, for instance; you could put yourself in the front row of a Knicks game or on a couch next to your friend who lives 3000 miles away. The possibilities are truly endless.
The Reality Behind Virtual Reality
While the technology is amazing, we’re not quite at the “Star Trek Holodeck” stage. If you view the technology regarding the past, imagine VR as where the Wright Brother when they stood on the sand dunes of Kitty Hawk. Now fast forward to today where technology billionaires are creating space exploration companies and talking of building manned lunar bases. Right now VR can provide users with short, concise immersive experiences much like that first flight at Kitty Hawk on the sands of North Carolina. The truly significant changes are in the future as the technology continues to develop and the talent pool needed to create those experiences begins to grow and create.
It’s very similar to when the Internet started, and users created basic pages duplicating printed material because they thought that was how websites would work. As the language and protocols for working in the space become more defined VR will begin to change and redefine how we think about narrative.
The Challenge of VR in the Marketplace
One of the key challenges of taking virtual reality mainstream lies in the difficulty of describing exactly what the experience is like. Simply put, VR must be experienced. The price of entry has come down with products like the Oculus Rift, but it’s still not penetrated the consumer market in a meaningful way. The technology that is needed to drive a real VR experience beyond simple gaming is still priced outside of the reach of most consumers. As more business becomes involved in using VR and the price to consumer’s drops, the technology will reach a tipping point.
Every day, skeptics who have heard of VR but don’t quite understand it are being converted as they don a headset and experience virtual reality. Often, one jaw-dropping immersion into a virtual world is all it takes to begin to understand the possibilities this technology has to offer.
As companies like Apple, Google, and Facebook enter the arena and drive development, the technology will eventually become mainstream. Remember, smartphones took almost a decade to fully enter the marketplace to the point where today, most of us are carrying around technology in our pockets that is hundreds of times more powerful that the computers of a decade earlier. The VR era has officially begun, and it’s going to change everything including the way real estate is bought, sold, financed and built.
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If you haven't already, I strongly encourage you to go through our FREE Real Estate Virtual Reality Crash Course. It's packed full of useful information and it's applicable to anyone involved with the design, development, and marketing of the built environment.