Advancements in the technological revolution of virtual and augmented reality are on the cusp of transforming not only entertainment but also education, the workplace, healthcare and real estate as we know it. When it comes to real estate in the Silicon Valley and beyond, soon buyers from anywhere in the world will be able to virtually walk through a home in Menlo Park or Los Altos without ever crossing the threshold. And they will do this using the tools of virtual reality.
The Difference Between Virtual And Augmented Reality
Through the use of a headset, virtual reality (VR) surrounds the user in a 360-degree digital world where everything-the people, objects and environment-are simulated. Augmented reality (AR) enhances our actual surroundings using special glasses. AR connects the user visually to his or her environment, enhancing it with an additional interactive layer of 3-dimensional content.
Uses for Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR)
In addition to the uses in gaming and entertainment, VR and AR technologies are opening up doors in a number of areas including:
- Education-Students will be able to virtually visit far-away places including other countries, historical sites, museums and inside of laboratories from within the four walls of their classrooms. Mountain View’s Google is already offering this type of VR experience with their Google Expeditions. High school students can experience over 1,000 different colleges and universities using YouVisit.
- Healthcare-AR can supplement medical training, minimizing errors and ultimately saving lives while VR tools can assist in various anxiety therapy stimulus treatments while patients remain in a safe environment.
- Current Events-Journalists are beginning to use VR to offer point of view experiences while the New York Times developed its own app for VR storytelling.
- Real Estate-360 degree VR open houses for high-end, luxury homes allows potential buyers all over the globe to experience a number of homes, narrowing down their decision before they visit it ‘in reality’.
Google Street View and Google Cardboard already employ this technology but by 2020, it’s expected the market for virtual reality hardware could reach close to $3 billion.
The 5 Senses and VR
Being able to experience a home virtually using VR hardware is really just beginning. Technology is being developed to simulate our other senses, with the goal to ultimate provide a complete sensory experience of a home. Haptic technology will allow VR users to see their own hands in the virtual world so they can open doors and use their sense of touch to experience a property. Stimulating the olfactory senses is also underway, which would enable us to smell freshly baked cookies or others aroma, offering a complete and well-rounded virtual property experience.
Just as our computers and smart devices are now an integral part of daily life, so soon will be virtual and augmented reality. It has far-reaching uses, including touring luxury homes anywhere in the world from anywhere in the world.