For the 334th episode of the Mail Right Show, Jonathan Denwood and Robert Newman invited Robert Watts, the co-founder and executive producer of Light Sail VR, to discuss what VR is and shares thoughts on the future of VR in the real estate market. Light Sail VR is a full-service commercial production company specializing in immersive media, which touches categories such as 360 video, 180 videos, and interactive game engine content like branch narratives. Robert Newman is the founder and CEO of Inbound REM, an inbound marketing agency, and has more than a decade of experience in the industry of real estate SEO. On the other hand, Jonathan Denwood is the founder and CEO of Mail Right, a platform combining a range of digital tools into a streamlined, user-friendly package. They create a semi-custom or fully customized WordPress website and offer a suite of marketing tools to help generate leads.
What is VR
Virtual reality, or VR, provides a digital environment and immersive experience that makes you can’t see the real world around you. Anything that is viewed through a headset is considered a virtual reality.
What is the difference between AR the VR?
Augmented reality (AR) is a technology that overlays digitally created content on top of the user’s real-world environment. The difference between VR and AR is whether the device allows you to see the outside world and whether it changes it.
AR is not recommended in real estate because you don’t want to change what a client expects to see; instead, you want to capture it and let the client know how the property is designed. Furthermore, augmented reality glasses are expensive – a pair of consumer-grade AR glasses costs around $2500, and the field of vision is limited, about the size of a postage stamp, making them unsuitable for immersive use.
The Future Use of Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality in Real Estate
Although augmented reality is not yet applicable to real estate, it is more likely to be in the future. You might be able to create engaging augmented reality experiences in the real estate market in the future. For example, one can look at a wall or a lighting fixture and see details such as who developed it, the pricing range, and whether you want to add it to your cart. Depending on the end user’s preferences, it can be played in various ways.
VR offers convenience and exclusive access to the end-user, allowing you to transport them to places they could never visit or that are extremely difficult to reach. For example, if the investor cannot fly or leave their country, you may send out a crew to construct either a digital photo reel version or an actual live-action version of the property and offer them a home tour. End-user could see the ceiling and the floor and put the 360 camera in any position that the user would ordinarily stand or sit in that room, giving a perspective of the entire space rather than just one or two like 2d photos. You can see things that aren’t immediately obvious in 2d with 360 VR. It also adds to your overall impression and comprehension of the property.
End users can view residences through a VR headset as if the user were standing there.
Immersive VR and Microsites
There’s a vast difference between experiencing immersive media in a headset and doing it on the website where you’re clicking and dragging. VR headset gives you the feeling that you’re there; you have this thing called presence. Microsoft, for example, gives you interactivity, and interactivity gives you agency as an end-user. An agency drives engagement, so it is like you can choose to go over a place and interact how exactly you want to. A microsite, on the other hand, is a website that a user clicks on it and takes the user into an interactive experience on a website.
How Expensive is Immersive VR?
Because VR is expensive, it is not widely used in real estate today. VR can be done on different levels; there are different levels of cameras and a headset. VR can be done at various levels with various cameras and headsets. Only recently have headset prices reduced, with the arrival of Metaquest’s Oculus Quest, which costs $300. It’s a delivery platform, which means you can use it to view videos, play games, and take guided tours. What’s impressive about Oculus Quest is that it’s a consumer-friendly version; you could package it up and ship it to someone with everything on it. There’s also a $6,000 headset used to design cars and produce space shuttle components, but it has to be plugged in and powered by a powerful gaming tower computer. Apart from the headsets mentioned earlier, other headsets are on par and cost between three hundred and a thousand dollars, such as Pico’s VR headgear, which users can set into kiosk mode. Kiosk mode means you can only view what you placed it, launch the app, and then guide you through a tour or experience.
Furthermore, it is best to work with an expert because there are many factors to consider in virtual reality, including capture, technology, and headgear deployment. They can assist you on both a financial and a practical level. The realtor or the technology partner could purchase a prosumer-level back-to-back 360 camera. You could amortize it over several listings. You could conduct a simple tour by mounting it on a tripod or monopod and taking 360-degree still photos in each room. Then, have your technology partner put it together into a guided tour or on a microsite website where the end-user or end client can view it. You can also send a headset to your customer. The headsets used and whether your technology partner charges will determine the cost. There are lots of YouTube tutorials available to assist you in gaining a thorough understanding of the pricing scale.