Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality and Mixed Reality in CRE

THOUGHTS FROM SCM R&D

It may be obvious to you already that the SCM team is full of nerds. We spend a lot of time experimenting with new technology and ideas with the goal of finding practical ways to introduce new products into the market. Media is always evolving and as a media company, we understand that we need to also continually evolve our company, products, and services in order to better serve you!

The media evolution timeline as we see it:

Physical

Physical media, such as print materials is and has been the obvious marketing standard for a significant amount of time. Digital media, such as websites, social media, email and now video became the second layer of new marketing standards. Today, we’re verging into the next evolution of the way the world will consume information – the virtual world.

 

Virtual world technologies can be broken down into a few categories: Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) and Mixed Reality (MR).

Often times we group VR, AR, and MR into the same idea, so we wanted to do a quick breakdown of what each technology is all about and where we can see it being integrated into Commercial Real Estate.

Thank you to Alex Dagg, our operations manager for agreeing to be our impromptu technology model.

VR vs. AR vs. MR

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Virtual Reality (VR): See the future
Using a headset, such as Oculus Rift or HTC Vive – VR is an entirely immersive experience that puts us in the center of a 100% virtual environment.

Application:
Best used when we are trying to experience real estate that doesn’t yet exist or will be going through a substantial transformation.

Pre-leasing, pre-sales or major renovations would be the major benefactor of integrating VR into the marketing mix.

 

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Augmented Reality (AR): Entry level mixed reality
AR integrates the digital and physical worlds most commonly via your smartphone or tablet screen. It’s currently the most accessible “virtual technology”. An AR app will identify a physical trigger (i.e. a brochure) in the world and ‘glue’ a digital object to that anchor point, all within your screen.

Application:
Last year when Pokemon Go was released, it quickly became one of the most successful consumer AR apps in the market. The AR component was through placing Pokemon in the real world for you to interact with.
AR can be an effective presentation tool as the hardware required is simply your phone and an app. AR would be a great technology to use in presentation and pitches to showcase new developments, conceptual buildings on land for sale or visions for major renovations.

 

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Mixed Reality (MR): A digital layer in the physical world. This is the future.
MR is the blend of the digital and physical worlds, where you interact with digital objects within a physical space. MR is by far the most complicated technology of the three and the technology of the future. An MR headset will first scan your environment, map it out internally and then generates/displays the appropriate digital experience that integrates with the real world.

Application:
Walk into an empty room, such as an office space and see a fully furnished space via your MR headset. Mixed Reality gives you the opportunity to turn an empty space into a vibrant vision of what a space could become.

In a showroom, MR would allow you to project 3D images of buildings, cities, developments, etc onto a surface in which you would be able to interact with. In the case of a property or new development, think of it as an interactive site/community map. As illustrated above.

Check out this video of Microsoft demoing their MR headset “Hololens”:
https://youtu.be/xgakdcEzVwg?t=2m19s

Cost Benefits:

There are a few common cost benefits to integrating these new technologies into your future marketing strategy.

  • Building out a virtual space before it exists would reduce the need for building out any show suites. (VR/MR/AR)
  • Opportunity to immersively tour several spaces from 1 location within minutes. No need to spend days traveling/touring downtown or suburban office sapces. (VR/AR)
  • Engaging presentations to help faster qualify potential investors or potential tenants. (AR/VR/MR)

Barriers to Entry:

There are a few barriers to making these virtual solutions a reality in your future marketing strategy.

  • The hardware is expensive.
  • Skills required to develop, manage, run and deploy experiences.
  • Just like most marketing assets, this would be likely start off as a premium marketing asset and can be cost prohibitive to the majority of listings. As the technology grows and matures, solutions will become more budget friendly.

Interested in Hearing More?

We hope you found this article interesting and as a useful tool to spark discussions in your teams. If you want to learn more about how VR/AR/MR can be implemented or other new R&D developments here at SCM, please reach out for a call or meeting.

If you’d like to subscribe to our email newsletter where we share more thoughts from our R&D team, new videos, specials, etc – feel free to subscribe here

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