In the next two to three years, cardboard may begin to revolutionize how new homes are marketed. No, this isn’t April 1st – and yes… I said cardboard.
I shouldn’t be surprised, but I am. A couple years ago a device called the Oculus Rift was developed to allow a true virtual reality (VR) experience that up until then had been promised, but never delivered. Even after years or work and multiple revisions, it is estimate when the device launches to consumers it will thousands of dollars. Well, Google has come out with their own version that will set you back about $25. It’s called Google Cardboard, and it will accelerate the adoption of VR technology at scale by decades.
For the last 10 years or so, home builders have worked with digital artists to create 3D renderings of their homes with the understanding that giving your prospects the ability to visualize the product before it is built is a huge advantage. Some progressive companies have even gone so far as to create true “virtual” walkthroughs of their homes, or well edited videos that take this idea to the next level. However, these were never meant to replace the furnished model home – because nothing comes close to matching seeing it live and in person… until now.
I know it sounds like hyperbole, but VR will change how we market and sell homes forever. These new devices allow realistic and immersive experiences that will have a deep impact on someone looking for a home. They give a true sense of space, depth, and dimension as if you were actually in that space – and this will allow consumers the ability to “walk” hundreds or even thousands of homes from the comfort of their couches.
What is truly revolutionary is that Google Cardboard allows you to use your existing smart phone as the VR device. YouTube will soon also allow users to upload virtual experiences using a software tool called Jump allowing the content to be easily streamed. Google is even teaming up with GoPro to develop an easy way to allow virtual content to be created. This part of the process won’t come cheap (the setup uses 16 individual GoPro cameras synced together), but you already probably spend thousands a year on renderings.
Renderings will still have their place, as the Jump recording process can only be done on existing structures. Renderings will simply evolve into no longer being 2D, but fully interactive artistic environments.
It’s too soon to tell exactly how VR will change what we do, but it’s clear that the impact is going to be felt sooner than later thanks to cardboard.