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Virtual Reality in Real Estate

31 Juli, 2018

Virtual Reality is promising for businesses

Virtual Reality (VR) is a digital simulation of a 3D picture or an specific, framed environment. Users can interact with VR models intuitively in a realistic way. VR is designed for immersive user experiences and requires appropriate equipment, usually high-tech glasses or helmets. By immersing the user in a virtual three-dimensional environment, spatial data of buildings or products is made tangible. Although virtual reality is often associated with games and entertainment, and has its origins here as well, VR applications are also very promising for businesses today. Already in the early 80s, VR headsets were used  in the entertainment industry. However, since the technology was far from mature stage, the technology disappeared from the stage for a long time. Only with the mobile computing power available today, appropriate graphics cards and 3-D image data from cameras and scanners, the hype is being regained.

In the real estate sector, virtual reality is particularly useful in the construction industry. The virtual construction site does not need physical plans and drawings for architectural and technical purposes.

You can use VR to edit, reduce, enlarge and experience objects in all directions in a virtual model. Even for brokers, the use of technology can bring great benefits. The prospect no longer has to visit the property on-site, but can do so at any time and from any location - if the necessary equipment is available, which is generally manageable with a small gadget for the smartphone. Through virtual reality, there is the opportunity in the corporate context to conduct risk-free testings of new developments. The use of this technology is much cheaper than to develop and then constantly adapt real applications. Facilitating VR, companies have unprecedented flexibility in development processes. However, a look in the field of virtual reality poses risks such as user privacy, hardware and data security, which should all be considered. In addition, the technology faces the challenge that the processing of 3-D content is highly complex and thus cannot be applied without expert advise.


Future Impact

The advances in virtual reality are obvious: first-generation headsets have focused on sophisticated head-tracking and display technology to ensure high-resolution, smooth images. While these features are the foundation of any VR experience, it is expected that the next generation of devices will extend their capabilities to two large domains:

  1. Increase the level of immersion by integrating more sensor channels and more closely replicating real world senses (eg haptic feedback from a joystick).
  2. Capturing the user's emotional and attentive real-time state to automatically optimize the virtual experiences and gather valuable preference data on individual and aggregated level.

With this expansion, VR will be used in the real estate industry, especially in the areas of asset and tenant management, but also in customer relationship management. Great opportunities for using this technology will also be available in property and facility management in the future.
The real success, however, will depend on how VR connects to popular BIM applications and CAD tools or planner software. Progressive developments can be observed in this field already.



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Contact us

Thomas Veith

Thomas Veith

Partner, Head of Real Estate, PwC Germany

Tel.: +49 69 9585-5905

Julia Arlt

Julia Arlt

Global Digital Real Estate Leader, PwC Austria

Tel.: +43 699 16305045

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