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The Future Is Now: Virtual Reality Tours Will Revolutionize Commercial Space

September 21, 2016

VR tours are already making an impact, and look to get more affordable and immersive

Technology is rapidly evolving, and changing the way we do business along with it. And with each advancement, it becomes more accessible, more affordable, and more imaginative.

This is a big reason why virtual reality (VR) has crossed over from the hardcore gaming world into other applications, including real estate. According to a recent study by Goldman Sachs Global Investment Research, VR is expected to become an $80 billion industry by the year 2025 – which is about the size of today’s desktop market – with real estate taking up $2.6 billion dollars of the pie.

That future, though, is happening now. “We think 2016 is a very transformative year for the area of virtual reality,” said Heather Bellini, Business Unit Leader, Telecommunications, Media and Technology, Goldman Sachs. “Virtual reality is, what we believe will be, the next generation computing platform.”

The magic is in the details

For realtors and developers, VR is a means of bringing both existing and pre-construction properties to life. With the help of goggles, like the Facebook-owned Oculus Rift, and 3D architects, like Miami-based Evolution Ventures, clients are able to take virtual tours of their space, which can be as detailed as necessary, from specs to décor to the views from the windows.

In addition, some technologies even allow the VR tour to be shared on laptops and tablets, projected onto large screens, or viewed on cell phones.

Step into your world

By nature, humans are visual learners. Our brains are able to process visual information 60,000 times faster than text. Using it as a tool, then, makes perfect sense.

VR touring takes the use of visuals even further. Rather than looking at an image in a brochure, via a 360-degree tour on a laptop, or a series of confusing crisscrossing lines on a blueprint, this technology allow clients to step into and experience their future domain. For properties that already exist, VR touring allows the new tenant to not only view the space but to redesign it to meet his or her needs – from a reconfiguration of walls to furniture, colors, and artwork.

Similarly, for those interested in pre-construction buildings, potential buyers or leasers no longer have to don hardhats to take a tour and imagine the new space. Instead, they can put on VR goggles in the comfort of a conference room to “see” their new location and decide then and there if they want in.

VR – Very Real – benefits

  • It’s time-efficient. Rather than driving to 20 properties to create an A-list of possibilities, clients can take virtual tours of the locations, creating that A-list in one spot and reserving real world visits to a select few.
  • VR tours translate complex design concepts into something more palatable for the layperson. It can be difficult, using standard drawings, for clients to fully grasp depth, height, and width – and then to imagine those drawings as an actual 3D environment. Virtual reality eliminates that barrier.
  • Virtual tours make the world smaller. Through their use, realtors, developers, and clients in Miami can “walk around” properties from Arkansas to Zambia.

VR – Very Real – issues

The oohs and aahs do not mean that VR tours are without concerns, however.

The first of these, naturally, is the price tag. According to a recent Wall Street Journal article, “costs can run from $25,000 to more than $1 million dollars, depending on the scope of the project.” But for high-end properties, the VR investment may be a small price to pay.

Another major issue is that some people who use the goggles become disoriented and queasy from the virtual experience – not a good feeling when you’re trying to seal the deal. An easy solution, rather than waiting for technology to change, is to immerse the client by projecting the VR tour onto a large screen while controlling movement with a tablet.

Tomorrowland

There’s no telling exactly where VR technology will move next, or how immersive it will become, and when. Certainly, it will become more affordable and available, and there is already speculation about how to enhance the experience by tapping into all of the senses – perhaps the feel of a wood grain finish on a desk or the smell of coffee coming from the breakroom.

When it comes to the marriage between tech and real estate, the sky may be the limit – especially in its application toward choosing commercial spaces.

If you’re looking to stay abreast of the latest trends in commercial real estate, or you are searching for the perfect space for your South Florida business, turn to Morris Southeast Group. Our commercial real estate agents have been serving Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach counties for decades. Contact our team by phone at 954.474.1776, reach Ken Morris on his cell at 954.240.4400, or email kenmorris@morrissegroup.com.

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