VR is More Than Just Goggles: Here’s What CRE Needs to Know
When it comes to virtual reality, what is the first thing that comes to your mind? If you’re like many people, you probably think of goggles or a headset. But the truth is, virtual reality is so much more than that. For a while now, retailers have been using virtual reality and augmented reality to enhance the consumer experience and to drive sales. Now, savvy CRE professionals are using these technologies to increase consumer engagement all year round.
Historically, the commercial real estate industry has been fairly conservative, to say the least. But today’s CRE professionals are taking the industry into the 21st century and embracing technology, moving a once slow to change industry at the forefront of innovation. One such technology that CRE is adopting faster than other industries is virtual reality — a technology tool that can be perfectly suited for the needs of CRE.
Let’s dive in and take a closer look at VR technology and its recent developments and how it is already being used in commercial real estate, as well as how you can use it in the future to improve your clients’ experience.
One of the most obvious and well-known applications of VR currently being used in the commercial real estate space is the virtual tour. As the name implies, a virtual tour is simply the simulation of an existing location using the help of sequential videos and/or still images. In some cases, other multimedia elements, such as music, sound effects, floor plans, and more could also be implemented. The goal is to assist in re-creating a realistic representation of existing reality. Virtual tours can help with a variety of challenges, including presenting views of inaccessible areas or providing a viable alternative to on-site visits when expenses, time, or travel is an issue.
There are different types of virtual tours, including the following:
- Video tours
- 360° or panoramic tours
- Floor plan tours
- Still photo tours
As technology continues to evolve, virtual tours will be accessible to all user levels, with the ability to be highly customized to meet the needs and wants of the end user. They will be able to provide a broader view of CRE, compared to normal views, making for an excellent and practical application. Technically speaking, it is misleading to describe this type of applications as “virtual tours” as the spaces already exist. Therefore, it only captures one definition of “Virtual Reality”.
But what about properties that have yet to be built? This brings about an entirely new segment of virtual reality in CRE — the ability to convert your vision into an interactive experience, using only blueprints and design specs. The emotional impact achieved through this experience help you accelerate pre-leasing and pre-sales before you finish construction. The real-time design configurations you can easily navigate yourself will allow you to test the potential demand for different floor plans.