If you can dream it, VR can make it

Technology is a huge part of everyday life for each of us.  Businesses that embrace the newest forms of technology give themselves an edge over competitors and provide services to their clients that revolutionize the way business is done.  The commercial real estate market is no exception.

While the internet and social media have presented numerous opportunities for businesses to grow without ever having face-to-face contact with a client, a newer form of technology known as virtual reality has the potential to make an even bigger impact on marketing and sales within the industry. 

Virtual reality is a three-dimensional environment generated by a computer which can be viewed and interacted with by a person with special equipment, such as a headset and speakers. The computer generated environment replicates a real environment, generates realistic images and sounds and allows the user to look and move around within the artificially created world.
 

This technology presents a wide array of advantages within the commercial real estate industry, as it can be shared through web applications, email and mobile devices.  It reduces time required to design a project because all important team members can access the technology from their own location on their own schedule.  Plans come together quickly and changes to existing designs and plans can be viewed, analyzed, and made at a quicker pace. Clients can tour a property virtually and see and experience a space without ever leaving their office.  It can often be difficult for a client to step into an undeveloped space and envision the final layout.  However, with virtual reality, clients can instantly have an accurate depiction of the space and depth of an area, including the space’s dimensions, flow and possibilities.  This is something that doesn’t convey as well with a drawing or a video.  Virtual reality can also provide a useful tool in the decision-making process, as potential clients can show the space to others who may not otherwise be able to physically visit the property.  They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but a three-dimensional first-hand virtual tour is something no amount of words can convey as well. 

It appears this technology is growing rapidly and will be used on a widespread basis in the future despite several disadvantages. The most important of these may be cost, as companies are required to purchase software and equipment that is powerful enough to capture a three-dimensional video and is compatible with the required accessories, such as a headset and speakers.  Some companies may choose instead to work with a virtual realty production company, which could be costly. In addition, some people who use the systems have reported motion sickness or a dizzying experience after several minutes of using the technology.  Despite these factors, the industry is moving in this direction.

Numerous commercial real estate companies across the country are already taking advantage of this technology by offering virtual tours of properties under construction.  With drone technology and digital video becoming more widespread, the possibilities for sales and marketing within the commercial real estate industry of the future appear to be endless.  Business owners would be wise to embrace this technology so they are not left behind.