In recent years, virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) has made waves in the marketplace and dominated tech headlines. From healthcare to tourism to property development, VR and AR technologies address the evolving needs of businesses that are looking to solve problems created by closed borders, restrictions, and investment uncertainty.
VR and AR technologies allow professionals in the real estate sector to show properties from anywhere in the world, reduce material costs, speed up sales cycles, effectively market off-the-plan properties before construction, and show buyers what it will truly feel like to live in the property.
In this article, we will talk about some of the differences between VR and AR technologies and they can be used in your business to increase leads and conversions.
The current state of things
According to a recent Reuters report Facebook Inc. plans to invest more than 67 million AUD in the development of its “metaverse”, a digital world where people can interact virtually through the use of VR headsets and smart devices such as tablets and smartphones. Other key players, such as Oculus, Microsoft, Apple, Samsung, and Google, represent the scope of a $130 billion VR and AR market. No longer are these technologies reserved for gaming but they are now an exciting emerging market firmly securing their place in the tech world.
What is Virtual Reality (VR)?
Both VR and AR technology immerses the viewer in virtual surroundings through the use of computer-generated graphics, scenes, and objects that appear real. However, they have different applications. In the most basic sense, virtual reality (VR) uses a headset, and augmented reality (AR) uses a smart device such as a tablet or smartphone to enter a digital world.
In terms of real estate and property development, virtual reality (VR) creates a virtual property that is experienced by a buyer in 1:1 scale while wearing a VR headset. When a buyer wears the headset, they can explore off-the-plan properties as if they were built and can even experience 4K drone scanned views that show them the view from every corner of the apartment. EnvisionVR refers to this experience as a VR Walk-Through.
VR technology allows buyers to feel fully immersed in their surroundings and to easily visualise how the property will look in the future and more importantly how it will feel. This is something that traditional marketing such as floorplan or photo renders are unable to do.
A common FAQ: Will the VR experience give buyers motion sickness?
The simple answer to this is the technology at EnvisionVR won’t make your buyers feel sick, but others might. Less advanced headsets use 3 Degrees of Freedom tracking, which only tracks the viewer’s orientation (the ability to look up, down or side-to-side) in 360 degrees. Within this virtual environment, everything is always the same distance from the viewer’s eyes, which can lead to a feeling of motion sickness as the viewer receives conflicting signals to the brain.
EnvisionVR’s technology works with headsets that use 6 Degrees of Freedom Tracking which alleviates these issues. This is because the headset not only tracks the viewer’s orientation but also their body’s position. The device not only knows where they are looking but also where they are located within the virtual space. This allows the wearer to walk freely without motion sickness.
That being said, there are always going to be people who aren’t comfortable wearing a VR headset. For these people, AR technology is a great alternative.
What is Augmented Reality (AR)?
Augmented Reality (AR) allows a virtual property to be synced to a physical location so that a buyer can walk around their space and experience the virtual property through their smart device. Unlike VR where they wear a headset and are completely immersed in the design, in an AR walk-through they are using their tablet or phone as a window into the virtual world. It is still 1:1 scale and allows them to walk around as if it were a physical space but they are always viewing the property through their device.
AR walk-throughs are an accessible and interactive way to show a property which buyers can be more comfortable with than wearing a VR headset.
Current applications of technology in the Real Estate Sector
There are a variety of real estate technologies that solve problems for professionals within this sector. While some are fairly basic, others are quite advanced. Let’s take a look:
REA Group 3D Tours
REA Group launched 3D Tours, a project that allows clients to embed 3D videos in their listings. In partnership with realestate.com.au, 3D Tours provided hundreds of videos in its first months online.
This virtual tour creator specialises in 360-degree videos but can also host 3D videos and pictures. The editor is easy to use and allows property professionals to create hotspots and upload their own content.
Google Tour Creator
This free software allows professionals in the property industry to create their own simple 360-degree tours using pictures found on Google Street View or self-uploaded. The software is easy to use, but it’s also difficult to customise and the final product can look amateur due to low resolutions imagery.
This leading spatial data capture platform transforms real-world buildings or construction sites into their digital twin models. Through the use of Matterport’s 3D cameras or other select 360-degree cameras, developers, architects, and property professionals can capture real-world spaces and turn them into interactive virtual spaces.
These businesses all provide solutions for properties that are already built however they do not provide solutions for off-the-plan properties. This is where EnvisionVR’s technology comes in.
Why you should choose EnvisionVR for your off-the-plan property sales.
As the number one platform for architectural VR and AR experiences, EnvisionVR offers clients the chance to fully immerse themselves in off-the-plan properties and visualise a space’s full potential. Previously, in order to provide high-quality imagery, the wearer of the VR headset needed to stay tethered to a computer by a cord. This limited the wearer’s range of movement and prevented buyers from fully experiencing the space. EnvisionVR headsets are wireless and allow the client to walk around completely untethered as they would in a real open home.
EnvisionVR offers three types of Virtual Viewings: a Face to Face Guided Viewing, Remote Guided Viewing, and Solo Guided Viewing.
- Face to Face Guided Viewings allow the real estate agent or sales agent to present a property while in the same location as the buyer
- Remote Guided Viewings allow the sales agent to present a property while being in a different location to their buyer. Multiple buyers can join the same viewing.
- Solo Viewings allow the buyers to view the properties in their own time, in their own location using either a headset, tablet, or smartphone. This is particularly powerful in the initial discovery phases of the buyer’s journey where they are comparing multiple options.
Let’s wrap it up.
VR and AR technologies are on the rise within the real estate sector. While VR technology is completely immersive, AR technology is accessible and easy for buyers to use. Having both options available for your buyers will put you ahead of the market and position you as a leading business, committed to providing the best customer experience. For more information about EnvisionVR’s offerings, please visit our product page.