AR and VR viewings are a brand-new avenue for property companies to engage with a new tech-savvy generation, we look into the technologies and why they are becoming more and more popular.
What are VR and AR?
Augmented reality is the integration of digital information with the user’s environment in real time, it uses the existing environment and overlays new information on top of it. VR stands for virtual reality, which is an artificial environment that is created with software using a computer and presented to the user in such a way that the user suspends belief and accepts it as a real environment. VR is predominately used in new developments to showcase how it will look before it is built.
VR & AR as problem-solving tools.
Typically, choosing and viewing a property takes a lot of time, and can be expensive. The use of a VR headset allows the viewer to take a virtual 3D tour of the property, so they can see and experience what the property has to offer and allows them to make a choice even before they’ve got to the property. Estate agency JLL offered a scheme where potential viewers would be sent VR frames in the post, so they could virtual view the property without the hassle of using a high-end headset.
We have used 3D tours in our properties as well, one example can be seen at Hafley Court in Rochdale. It allows people to see the inside the office building to determine how their business would fit in the space.
AR offers a similar solution; however, the experience is far different. Instead of a headset, AR is delivered within a smartphone app that is easily downloadable to mobile devices. AR wouldn’t just be a consumer-focused tool, the use of real-world 3D models would revolutionise how architects interact and understand their buildings right from a tablet or mobile.
An example here shows how you could easily view a floor plan through a mobile or tablet app.
The consumer reaction to VR and AR.
A survey was taken on the popularity of VR and about 71% of millennials express interest regarding virtual reality and Augmented reality. As of 2017 UK millennials became the largest generation in the workforce, this means they are more willing and more likely to use VR and AR technology when viewing a home, however,71% of 55-75-year-olds now own a smartphone, so the audience for engaging potential viewers within AR and VR is far larger and more willing to try new technologies.
A further study was taken by JLL found that half of the tenants in a new-build development moved in just after viewing the property virtually, this shows the power a virtual viewing can have on pre-selling property.
It is now important for property companies to invest in AR and VR, there is clear evidence that it works to not just engage new customers but allows for new leads for their properties.