Emerging Technology

Identifying and researching emerging tech with the potential to enrich or disrupt the real estate industry.

How are Virtual Technologies Shaping Real Estate?

Written by: Alex Lange, Vice President, Strategy and Innovation

The word “metaverse” has entered common usage, inspiring a lively debate about what it represents, whether it’s already here and who will own it. Yet, there’s still not one accepted definition. As we understand, the metaverse is an interactive, hyper-realistic environment that allows us to immerse ourselves in the digital world. It’s a combination of virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), mixed reality (MR), blockchain, Web3, cryptocurrencies, social media and much more. 

For example, by creating an avatar, clients and real estate professionals alike can walk up to a (virtual) home and tour every room or take live measurements of a room to see if their current furniture will fit.

Three Key Technologies That Support the Metaverse

Let’s dig into the most important elements (VR, AR and MR) that power this immersive 3D experience that most people associate with the “metaverse.”

Virtual Reality (VR)

VR is a term most are familiar with—it refers to a 3D computer-generated environment that replicates a real environment or depicts an imaginary world in combination with realistic sounds, imagery, and other sensations felt through devices like headsets, helmets, gloves and body suits. This reality allows a person to dive into an environment that does not account for where they are. If you’ve seen the videos of people in headsets running into walls, TVs and other people, you know what we’re talking about. 

For real estate, this means facilitating walkthroughs and tours more conveniently and cost-effectively while leveraging the use of VR. There are arguments around VR and its impact on the closeness or distance it brings amongst people around the world. What are experts in this field saying about the impact of virtual reality on real estate? Thomas Lewis, Spatial Computing Cloud Advocate at Microsoft, will share his thoughts at the 2022 iOi Summit in a session on AR, VR and the metaverse in real estate.

Augmented Reality (AR)

AR integrates digital sensory elements into an existing environment by placing new information over it.  Some popular AR programs include Pokémon GO, Snapchat filters, virtual makeup, and for real estate, furniture fittings.

For example, IKEA has developed a smartphone app called “Ikea Place,” which allows customers to use their smartphone camera to place a brand’s furniture into their own home, so they can visualize how it will look—that’s AR in action. 

Mixed Reality (MR)

MR is when virtual and physical worlds collide to produce an environment where interactions among virtual and physical objects are enabled in real-time. MR combines AR and VR, while gathering new information in the environment as it’s happening.

MR also allows for a 3D virtual hologram. For the real estate industry, this might look like a 360-degree walkthrough of a prospective property, residential or commercial, where a prospect can go indoors and outdoors, all from the comfort of their home or office. 

Impacts of the Metaverse on the Real Estate Industry

The fact is the metaverse has entered the real estate industry and with time, more real estate agents will adopt virtual reality technologies as part of their practice.

Imagine being able to combine a virtual tour, endless amounts of data, and virtual/augmented features into the real estate transaction? By combining these technologies, we change how people view and transact within real estate. In the future, it may become “normal” for people to view a property from anywhere while also allowing them in the space itself.

Discovering and exploring real estate technologies is the start to understanding this robust environment and how it can and will impact the future of real estate.

Discover New Trends in Real Estate Technology

Uncover the impact of the metaverse and other PropTech trends this September at the 2022 Innovation, Opportunity, and Investment (iOi) Summit: the real estate event where innovators, technology influencers, progressive real estate professionals, entrepreneurs, and investors come together to discuss the future.

Register today for this unique real estate event, iOi Summit.


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