If you haven’t been watching the tech world over the last 18 months, you might have missed the buzz around virtual and augmented reality. What you probably didn’t miss though, was the craze that was/is Pokemon Go. Pokemon Go is a mobile based gaming experience that sees people running around the city ‘collecting’ Pokemon on their phones. This craze passed 100 million downloads in August 2016, and is reported to be producing between 5 and 10 million US$ PER DAY!
But outside of people chasing around town after fictitious characters, what does all of this mean in the real world.
First, let’s take a step back and talk about what these platforms actually are:
Virtual reality is an artificial environment that is created with software and presented to the user in such a way that the user suspends belief and accepts it as a real environment. On a computer, virtual reality is primarily experienced through two of the five senses: sight and sound.
Augmented Reality is the integration of digital information into a real world setting. So essentially, it overlays digital images, using a phone or computer device, onto a normal, real life place. This can also be applied to objects, such as a printed letter.
So how do these reality’s work in the real world (pun intended)?
So virtual reality can be a fully immersive experience. Usually provided by way of a headset, including earphones, speakers. The entire environment is digitally created, so for example, you can turn around and actually be looking around the created environment. Imagine being able to have a walk around the surface of the moon, a shopping mall, or being in the thick of the action in your favourite computer game.
With augmented reality, the experience is not design to be immersive, but to be ‘supplmented’ of your real world environment. So let’s say you’re at a them park. You might hold your phone up over the information board and get a guided walkthrough of the different features. Or tap the screen to be shown exactly where the toilets are.
Now let’s think about this in terms of commerce, and in particular real estate. How can and will these new technologies affect business?
Well to start, imagine having a client be able to do a complete walk through of a property, looking around, seeing the surroundings, feeling the dimensions. This virtual reality experience could massively assist in dealing with overseas or interstate buyers. And the same for new developments – you can get someone to fully experience the size of a unit, for example, on a whole different level to just a rendering or model.
Now, with augmented reality. Let’s suppose your client wants to see what their furniture looks like in a particular room. Or is looking to build an extension, granny flat or garage. Augmented reality can let them see exactly how it could look, without the need to get expensive CAD drawings completed.
This is just the tip of the iceberg on this technology, and one expert expects AR/VR (that’s the abbreviation you need to be in the know) to be used by over 100 million people by 2020.
Until next time we meet (maybe virtually!)