Last month during our conversation with Tyler Smith, founder and CEO of SkySlope, he mentioned virtual reality (VR) as the technology he was most excited about—and he’s not the only one. Virtual reality has the potential to be the next great technological disruptor, creating monumental shifts in industries we can only begin to imagine. Some of us are already disrupting the norm by implementing early-stage virtual reality technology.
To ensure that we’re all on the same page, per the almighty Wikipedia, virtual reality is a computer technology that replicates an environment, real or imagined, and simulates a user’s physical presence and environment in a way that allows the user to interact with it. Virtual realities artificially create sensory experience, including sight, touch, hearing and smell. This broad definition creates an endless array of possibilities that will be fueled by the advances in technology, and the access to it. Currently, the majority of virtual reality technology is made possible via headsets offered by familiar names like Samsung and Google. The basic principle revolves around putting the headset on and visually submersing yourself into the virtual world of the content provided through your smartphone app.
As I’m sure you can imagine, being able to replicate or create an environment technologically, such as the interior of a home that has yet to be built, is just one of the many ways virtual reality could change the way things are done in the real estate industry. One of the companies working hard to make the aforementioned scenario a reality is Virtual Xperience, and CEO Jeff Maurer, whose mission is to create virtual reality content, helping to present real estate that does not yet exist. With a focus on new construction, their technology creates a visualization package designed to provide a potential homebuyer access to the finished product while it’s still under construction. Since the technology isn’t yet mainstream for builders or consumers, Virtual Xperience has made their packages technology agnostic, allowing them to be downloaded and viewed on desktop, on the Web, or via an Oculus Rift headset. However, according to Maurer, the majority of the developers they’re currently working with have already invested in some sort of headset technology—or will in the near future. Maurer sees potential buyers soon walking into the sales office of a developer, sitting down, putting on a headset and virtually walking through each model with various interior options, and real views of homes that have yet to be completed, as the norm. To see the Web version of one of these experiences, visit https://youtu.be/5ozKV5DFIwE.
According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), the virtual reality industry will generate revenues of up to $2.3 billion in 2016—growing to as much as $80 billion by 2025, a Goldman Sachs Global Investment Research study recently found. Potential revenues that large not only mean a lot of opportunity, but a lot of competition, as well. Ultimately, it should lead to an array of great virtual experiences that make real-life experiences, like buying a home that hasn’t been built yet, more accurate and satisfying than it is today.
Seth Kaplan is president of MRE – Win Local®.
For more information, visit www.mobilerealestateid.com.