What does today's virtual and augmented reality technologies mean for the future of real estate?

Goldman Sachs (GS) published its thoughts on the future of virtual and augmented reality, and it looks like a technological revolution is underway. Two million Google Cardboard headsets have been distributed, Samsung’s $99 VR headset sold out within 48 hours, and over the last two years nearly $4 billion of venture capital investments have been made in virtual and augmented reality technologies.

This isn’t the first time we’ve written about the possibilities of virtual and augment reality (see below), but “this time it’s different.” GS notes that virtual and augmented reality have the potential to become the next major computing platform, both creating new and disrupting existing markets.

And one of those markets is real estate. GS pegs the total addressable market for VR/AR software revenues to be $2.6 billion by 2025:

virtual reality in real estate

The real estate industry is already experiencing change. Space-Time Insight sees an Oculus Rift powered future where utilities can use big data analytics and VR to run substations. Sotheby’s is using VR to sell luxury homes in the U.S. to wealthy buyers throughout Asia, and Matterport’s camera system allows real estate agents to easily create 3-D walkthroughs of interior spaces.

This doesn’t mean there aren’t challenges moving from reality as we know it today to a science fiction sounding virtual and augmented reality of the future. Screen resolution and battery life need to be improved, and there isn’t, yet, much 3D content available. Prices need to drop, and the systems need to become much easier to use, and there are still a lot of cords (which you can apparently trip over while wielding a lightsaber on Tatooine).

We believe the spread of computing power, paired with intuitive software to harness that power’s potential, will help building operators run their buildings more efficiently. What role do you think VR/AR will have in your buildings?

About Millen Paschich

Millen has been thinking about the built environment since he was four, when he started with site walks on residential construction projects. He began his career at Cambridge Associates and has an MBA from UCLA. Talk to him about bicycling, buildings, businesses, and green chile burritos!

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