Virtual Building


Picture yourself looking for office space in a large city. Or it could be an apartment you need. Time is something you don’t have a lot of. You talk with two realtors about your search, and one suggests a tour of a dozen locations…a tour that will take you the better part of a day due to distance and traffic.

The second agent suggests coming by her office to get a look at a dozen locations using real time visualization. This will allow you to quickly eliminate the majority of them and focus on the two or three that really catch your eye. A tour taking most of a day just got reduced to a few hours, tops.

Another scenario has you a thousand miles away, so physically touring locations isn’t possible. You’ve got to find the right living or working space ASAP. Your only option is the virtual one.

A virtual look at real estate? Are we talking about viewing properties online and perhaps watching a 360-degree digital tour? Well, that is what the term represents now. However, what it means to tour properties virtually is evolving at a rapid pace. The technology is hot, and it is disruptive – it is changing forever the way people sort through the many real estate properties available to them.

Real Estate Meets Gaming through Virtual Reality Technology

Virtual reality, or VR for short, is often referred to as immersive multimedia. The phrase means that you have the experience of being completely immersed in a digitally produced scene.

The effect of virtual reality was first produced via a computer screen, and it’s most enthusiastic fans were, and remain, those who enjoy video gaming. The problem with a computer screen is that the viewer remains aware on some level that there is a chasm between him and the world depicted in the game no matter how riveting the 3D effects are.

Consequently, tech professionals went to work on headsets that would bring the action right up to the user’s eyes while blocking out the real world around them. With this form of VR, the virtual world before you becomes the world in which you are immersed. Headsets like those from Oculus make the experience depicted in the video game more real in a way that is hard to overstate.

The application of VR technology to real estate was just a matter of time. That time has come, and it is changing the way renters and buyers get a first look at properties.

Real Time Visualization: Be There from Anywhere

Real time visualization (RTV) was, for a long time, simply impossible due to limitations of older computer systems, but modern advances in technology are finally making this a reality. Potential uses for this technology are huge (with more popping out every month) and perhaps the most obvious one is architectural visualization, allowing you to experience work or living space from anywhere, before the actual project is even finished.

Let’s take a trip to that real estate agent’s office, the one offering to reduce your search time and hassle with real time visualization. After asking you a few questions about the space you need and what part of town you want to be in, the agent says, “Are you ready to look at some awesome properties that fit your search criteria?”

Then things get exciting. She hands you a headset, which you put on and adjust for fit and comfort. All is black for a few seconds, and then things brighten, and an office appears before you. As the agent gives you information about the location, price, square footage, lease terms and other details, you tour the space.

RTV allows you to feel as if you’re walking around the office. Depending on the specific real time visualization being used, you might have the ability to explore the space thoroughly, opening closet doors, turning lights on and off and more. Some RTV features give you the view of the surrounding cityscape out of windows or from terraces too.

One indication that RTV is becoming mainstream is that online giant Facebook recently bought the Oculus Rift headset for $2 billion. Mark Zuckerberg and his team envision using RTV to enhance Facebook’s main commodity of connecting people together in meaningful ways.

The Benefits of Real Time Visualization in Real Estate

RTV dramatically reduces the time it takes to sort through a long list of properties. Stress is minimized. Distance is eliminated. Plus, the virtual reality experience with RTV is far superior to a simple 360-degree tour or a portfolio of pictures. You feel like you’re touring the location.

While you might not want to choose your next apartment or office without physically seeing it, RTV in real estate allows you to trim what could be a very long list into a manageable number of properties. The experience gives you a good sense of being there whether you’re just a few blocks away or on the other side of the planet.