According to Goldman Sachs, virtual and augmented reality (AR) will become an $80 billion market by 2025, and $2.6 billion will be specifically for real estate. The medium is extremely powerful. About 30% of the neurons in the brain are dedicated to vision, compared to only 8% for touch and 2% for hearing.
Over the past week, Zillow announced the rollout of their 3D Home tool, which lets real estate agents show immersive VC views of homes for sale.
Virtual reality and AR have the potential to transform a number of areas within real estate and the building process:
Property walkthroughs that can accelerate the sales process for residential brokers.
Site tours of construction projects that are geographically distant, reducing travel time.
Project management and supervision of subcontractors on construction sites, and assistance from offsite experts for projects that require unexpected expertise.
Information modeling for contractors during the building process, allowing stakeholders to avoid costly rework and design that often happens mid-build.
Tours of commercial spaces for leasing firms, making decision times faster and more efficient for hot markets where properties are often leased before site visits can even be arranged.
Meet the tech companies transforming real estate using VR and AR technology:
VirtualAPT develops autonomous robots that scan rooms and capture 360-degree video content that customers can then use to market their spaces. VirtualAPT content is integrated with property listings, on building websites, on social media and many other places. According to the founders, properties using the VirtualAPT content have seen over 300 percent increase for new building lease-ups.
Matterport has the largest repository of 3D space models in the world and is the leader in virtual reality for real estate. The company recently raised $48 million at a pre-money valuation of $325 million, and the team has developed a full platform to capture, create, search and utilize 3D imagery. Matterport offers a number of camera options for capturing 3D images, and users then purchase a subscription plan to manage content and view analytics.
RealVision is a Minneapolis-based real estate marketing platform that offers 3D virtual tours as part of a package of marketing tools for people or agents selling homes. The company, which raised a $1.3 million seed round in 2017, uses DSLR cameras and computer vision to create 3D experiences. The startup partners with local real estate photography and video firms to get its product into the hands of users.
Rooomy (not to be confused with Roomi) specializes in virtual staging that allows users to transform 2D product imagery into 3D models and renderings. The startup has raised over $13 million to enable designers and individuals to build dream homes using a massive product library of digital furniture from retailers like Amazon, Houzz, and Wayfair.
Truss is a technology-enabled leasing transaction platform that uses virtual reality and AI to streamline the leasing process for finding office space, industrial space, or retail space. The company partners with Matterport to create a turn-key process of creating virtual tours for its clients, which include CBRE, Cushman & Wakefield, Colliers, Equity Office, and Tishman Speyer. In industries like industrial real estate, where vacancies are at all time lows and inventory disappears fast, being able to see spaces with virtual reality can be critical in speeding up the process for customers.
Strayos works with some of the leading mining and industrial companies with aerial data that provides industrial-grade precision for site surveys and inspections. The software includes an AI engine that can give feedback on rock size and distribution, which is critical for project leaders dealing with muck piles (the broken material at sites that are being dug or bored into the ground).
IrisVR, which raised an $8 million Series A round from Emergence Capital, is built especially for the construction industry and allows users to take floor plans and turn them into VR experiences. The product offers 3D file support for AEC design tools like SketchUp, Revit, Rhino, and FBX. For construction projects, IrisVR helps project leaders to easily resolve conflicts using VR project reviews (case study), keeping projects on track in terms of time and budget.
Realar is an Australian based augmented reality startup that allows users to visualize property plans and do walkthroughs before properties are built. The startup doesn’t require expensive gear and can easily convert floor plans into virtual experiences within minutes. Users can take a floor plan or 3D model created in Matterport or Autodesk formats and then create a augmented reality experience, allowing users to see the walk-through in life-size, spot issues that they may not have thought about with just a floor plan view of the project, and give potential home buyers the additional comfort they might need to make a purchase.
Revit Live by Autodesk is part of the product offering from one of the leaders in BIM software in the construction industry. The Revit Live product turns Revit models into immersive experiences. The company has a unique advantage in entering the VR space, since so many AEC firms are already using the Revit product to build 3D models and to collaborate with stakeholders on projects.
Floored Build (formerly Floored before being acquired by CBRE) is the interactive 3D environment creation tool from the commercial real estate giant. Floored Build enables a high-quality, interactive, next-generation customized 3D “walk-through” experience for new, unbuilt and repositioned spaces. This technology has been used to visualize space from project concept and design all the way through leasing and marketing efforts. CBRE also offers Floored Plans, which allow users to visualize and edit floor plans in 2D and 3D (including accurate external window views from each floor) and to create customized space layouts in real-time. Floored Plans has been utilized in over 65 million sq. ft. of properties.