When it comes to applying VR for Real Estate Developers and Constructors as part of the Design-Build process, the rules of engagement are very different. Over the past year or so there has been a lot of discussion regarding VR and its strengths and weaknesses. In reviewing a large number of these articles we’ve found that either these points of view are speaking very broadly about the VR industry as a whole or very specifically about VR gaming. There are significantly different assumptions when specifically applying VR to a Design and Build workflow.
False Assumption #1. VR has a lack of engaging content.
When you’re walking around at your project there is an immediate emotional connection. It’s your house, building, design, etc. The author of the content does not have to spend time developing characters because you’re already interested. Walking around your own space is inherently interesting to you. Any game, VR or otherwise, has the burden of creating an emotional connection between the player and the characters within the game.
The process of content creation is also very different. With software applications like LiveHome3D, Revit, Rhino, and SketchUp the creation of the 3D model is already a part of the design process. This 3D model is getting created regardless. Converting this model to VR just leverages the 3D model that was already created. A game must create this content from scratch for one singular purpose.
False Assumption #2. It has to be in VR.
It’s not necessarily about VR. You can gain a lot of information by navigating through the space. Walk from the entrance, down the hall, look up and see the clearances. Forcing VR also limits the accessibility. You can’t look behind you while sitting on a plane or on a subway. Not to mention, sitting at your desk or in a conference room. Full immersion isn’t always welcomed there.
Instead, it’s about options. Allow the user to view in VR or not. Let them view the design from their PC, MAC, or mobile device. Not all buyers are acclimated to the VR experience. By giving them options you keep them in their comfort zone. Additionally, non-VR modes give more people the chance to view the walkthrough simultaneously. This increases the amount collaboration by allowing each viewer have the same experience, which cannot be accomplished while a user is in VR.
False Assumption #3. VR is expensive to produce.
Expense is a multifactorial term. As mentioned above, content creation can be relatively inexpensive if the 3D model is getting created as part of the design process. Focus on experiences that utilize devices we already own. Computers and mobile devices. This results in the greatest accessibility.
Accessibility is the primary benefit to walkthroughs made for mobile devices. The walkthrough is anywhere the user is and has the ability to become a VR walkthrough at a moment’s notice.
False Assumption #4. 3D CAD and VR viewers are complicated.
A lot of 3D CAD viewers take a “center-pivot” approach to navigation. While CAD designers will be familiar with this method, most users will not. That’s why the vCAD navigation is built as-if you’re actually walking through the space. Click and drag look around, and pinch in/out walking is very comfortable. It makes walking around a design just like zooming into a picture. Hence, a navigation that is familiar to everyone.
In VR mode, one-touch navigation® is still the simplest way to walk around a model in VR. Turn the direction you want to move, and then hold the button to move.
The big difference between VR for gaming vs design-build
Take into account the follow quotes from Forbes and ConstructionWorld.
The Future Of Real Estate, With Or Without An Agent, Jarred Kessler
“The revolution of cellular technology, with Wi-Fi being available almost everywhere, means that people are no longer tied to the office. People can send or receive listings while sitting at their kid’s Little League game or camping at the lake. Advancements like this may eventually spell the end of the real-life, in person office for at least part of the real estate industry.”
The future of construction: 2017 and beyond, ConstructionWorld- ebook
“The use of virtual reality in the construction industry continues to grow, providing an extremely immersive experience for users. While the entertainment and automotive industries have been quick to adopt this technology, the construction industry is not far behind. Real estate developers, designers and architects are taking advantage of this newfound design experience to take potential customers and clients on a virtual tour of homes, buildings, skyscrapers and offices – before a project even breaks ground. On a smaller scale, home and office renovations, redesigns and small construction projects can also take advantage of 3D models, to create a more accurate plan of client’s demands, established during the pre-construction stage.”
There are many applications to utilize VR, now you have to decide what to do with it. If you work in the Design and Build space or have a 3D model of your product, then 3D walkthroughs and VR are ready for you today. Both the buyers and construction team are ready to add value to virtualized project.