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The use of Augmented Reality in Real Estate is no longer a gimmick | Technology

The use of Augmented Reality in Real Estate is no longer a gimmick | Technology
The use of Augmented Reality in Real Estate is no longer a gimmick

Augmented Reality is no longer a real estate gimmick 

Technology has completely infiltrated the built environment.  Between IoT connectivity in buildings, indoor wayfinding and virtual tours, real estate is no longer the tech-averse industry it once was.  In the context of digitization, there are new uses for Augmented Reality (AR).  The technology has evolved from a marketing gimmick to a solid strategy for asset managers to improve their built environments.

The premise of AR technology is the real-time integration of digital information to "augment" the user's physical experience.  It is often confused with virtual reality (VR), where the user is completely immersed in a manufactured digital world.  But AR takes advantage of the existing environment while layering computer-generated displays that embellish the real-world experience.  In essence, AR creates an enhanced representation of the actual physical environment by combining many aspects such as digital, visual, audio, and other sensory inputs.  Leveraging AR technology is something tech-savvy owners and managers are just beginning to act on, thanks to a huge product flop that derailed consumer interest in AR technology just a few years ago.

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Victim of the advertising machine

Augmented reality sparked consumer interest nearly a decade ago with the much-hyped launch of Google Glass, a wearable computer that was meant to look like a pair of glasses but looked more like the first prototype of the iconic Star Trek visor from LeVar Burton.  The hype for Google Glass was intense, with Time magazine naming it the "Best Invention of the Year" in 2012.

Google Glass's argument was that a $1,500 pair of AR-powered glasses could improve everyday life beyond comprehension.  Not only could Google Glass act as a smartphone with the ability to make and receive phone calls, as well as take and send photos and text messages, the device was the first big push to bring useful augmented reality apps to a wider audience. wide.  Through the lens, users could receive live directions to their destination while roaming the city streets.  Reminders and calendar alerts would be synced to the lens.  Translations of foreign texts in the user's native language could be transmitted in real time.  Users could see their flight information and gate number on screen while navigating through an airport.

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So why did it fail so spectacularly?  Well, it's because Google Glass marketing didn't highlight these experiential features and instead focused on novelty.  Google Glass was more of a toy than a tool.  "Google ruined the AR dream," CCN's William Worrell wrote.  “Augmented reality used to be one of the hottest fads in the tech industry, until Google Glass squashed that dream.”  While emerging technologies must provide demonstrable value to their consumers by solving real problems in an increasingly digital marketplace, and since the aforementioned features were never clearly defined for the consumer (that and the fact that the glasses were flimsy and unattractive), the marketing of Google Glass missed the potential of AR.

Despite its demise, Google showed where AR technology was headed with the launch of Google Glass: that the physical environment could be a canvas for digital innovation.  But, when the product flopped, it severely damaged AR's reputation as the next "big" technology.  Thanks to Google Glass, AR embedded in the physical world went from life-changing technology to a fringe novelty, at least for now.

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Digital infrastructure for the built world

Google Glass failed so badly that not only did the product fall into obscurity, but so did the hype around AR for a few years.  "There's still a stigma associated with AR that it's a bit of a gimmick," Mike Roberts, General Manager of Engineering and Digital Technology at John Holland Group, a construction major, told me.  “But there is a push to adopt technology in this sector, so I think AR is going to be the new norm in the next five to 10 years.”

Since AR allows users to perceive data that is overlaid on their natural surroundings, it is becoming a great tool for real estate brokers as they encourage prospective buyers to visualize a building's potential, which means that deals can be closed even earlier.  "From the owner's perspective," Roberts added, "you can have potential buyers and renters visit the site and use AR to provide an augmented site tour so they can better understand the potential of the space."  In the age of AR, organizing a property could be a snap, as you no longer need to haul fancy furniture back and forth to see possible design options.

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On the developer side, even before construction begins, developers can use AR to better visualize what the property will ultimately look like, reducing the margin for error should building adjustments need to be made.  According to Roberts, developers can scan a blueprint of the building and the AR technology will generate 3D holograms of the building that developers can manipulate to gain a clearer understanding of how the building will function.  AR is also particularly useful during the construction process and site security.  Roberts believes the typical pair of safety glasses worn by construction workers will be intertwined with AR technology in the years to come.  "Theoretically, you could have visibility into your health stats, like your heart rate, see the layout of the building, and get notifications about work orders," Roberts said.  "There are a lot of opportunities through AR solutions."

Of course, the potential of AR is not limited to property displays and development stages.  AR changes what buildings can do for us and what we can do for them.  One company creating a symbiotic relationship between the physical and digital ecosystems is Resonai, a location-based augmented reality platform that enables property owners, retailers and others who manage physical places to weave AR technology into their spaces.  But if you ask Jeremy Bergstein, vice president and global chief experience officer, Resonai is "where the digital twin stops and AR begins."  His technology creates a digital twin of a given building and integrates it with AI and real-time data, creating environments where people and devices work seamlessly.  "We're creating these ecosystems, which are spatially accurate and positionally correct, within these built environments for asset owners to control," Bergstein said.

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There are many more potential uses for AR.  We could start to see buildings use it to allow building managers easy access to smart building devices and information or even provide vendors and contractors with an easy way to get up to speed on a job site.  Buildings could also one day feature a digital concierge, one that occupants and visitors can help make their property experience more efficient and enjoyable.  Imagine being able to show you where your next meeting is or have a digital assistant explain a coffee machine to you.

Artificial Reality has tons of practical applications in our buildings, but its biggest challenge is shedding its reputation as a tech gimmick thanks to products like Google Glass.  “Consumers are still thinking about the digital augmentation, so educating the customer on AR technology and how it applies to commercial real estate is the most important thing we can do right now,” Bersgtein concluded.  By reshaping the collective understanding of what AR is and the value it can add to real estate, we will hopefully start to see more new technology companies harnessing this powerful technology.

Source: Propmodo, Direct News 99