What is it about virtual reality and real estate that seems to work so well together? Well, for one, COVID-19 has completely changed the way people work, and businesses operate. We, as a society, had to change our practices – things and situations we were accustomed to – to survive the current pandemic. Because of this, the growth of artificial intelligence and virtual reality skyrocketed, not just for real estate but in almost every industry that exists today.

Real estate is perhaps one of the most dynamic industries truly maximizing the use of virtual reality technology. Research from Goldman Sachs estimates that the market for virtual reality in real estate alone could generate as much as $2.6 billion by 2025[1]. That is because sizeable investments are being made into virtual reality technologies within real estate. About 90% of real estate agencies have started using these technologies to provide better services for their clients [2]. These services range from printing catalogues to a virtual presentation of the properties; that was how it was before the integration of virtual reality.

How Has COVID Affected Today’s Real Estate?

Undoubtedly, the ongoing pandemic has systematically changed the way our society works – from social distancing, the shift from in-person to remotely online, amongst many other changes. The real estate industry is not an exception; personal viewings had to be postponed, open houses were limited, sanitation increased, and a lot more precautions had to take place before buyers had a chance to view potential properties. In addition, agents had to make arrangements to ensure that can complete the process of buying or renting online.

Needless to say, although there were a lot of unprecedented setbacks due to COVID, this situation also created new opportunities that can and will impact the real estate industry in the long run. While in-person viewing was limited and the supply chain was interrupted, COVID forced people to gain a new appreciation for the value of the ‘home’ [3]. On top of that, people were allowed to be more creative and innovative in their personal and professional lives.

For an industry traditionally built on physical meetings, it is safe to say that the real estate market has successfully adjusted to current conditions; they are creatively utilizing technology to operate and flourish in the new normal. Virtual reality is being adopted for walkthroughs, 3D mapping, and drone surveys of residential properties. This technology has been so well-received that there are now signs it could be leveraged on a long-term basis in the real estate market[4].

How Does Virtual Reality Assist with the Real Estate Market?

Virtual reality technology is so versatile that there are so many ways a client can explore a property in detail and actively engage with what they see. The most common use of this technology in real estate is the virtual tour of the property. This function provides a 360-degree view of the home, 3D floor plans, and an interactive location experience.

The 360-degree view of a property is created by strategically placing cameras at different points of the property to create a smooth and continuous view at all angles. The footage is edited together for a seamless, real-life, 3D experience. This virtual experience allows clients to feel like they are in the actual physical home without actually being in it.

Meanwhile, 3D floor plans allow users to make measurements and learn dimensions within the home. However, it is primarily used to gauge an emotional appeal from potential buyers since it provides them with a chance to “feel” the property. This technology also adds a layer of depth compared to the previous use of two-dimensional videos and traditional real estate photography.

Today's Real Estate Market
Photo by Binyamin Mellish on Pexels.com

Elements of virtual reality can also be included in real estate agents’ more comprehensive marketing strategy. This is significantly more prevalent now that tools like Matterport’s 3D data platform have made virtual reality much more accessible and affordable[5]. Real estate agents now have the power to showcase properties that are not yet finished and also project a furnished interior for unfurnished buildings. Not to mention, digital walkthroughs can be replayed from various angles and are added as futuristic content to agents’ websites. Statistics show that real estate agents who advertise using drone shots sell homes 68% faster than those who do not know because of the property’s more comprehensive visual presentation [6].

For realtors, virtual reality technology can be used as a tool that contributes to higher sales success, plus a more accessible experience with greater transparency. Similarly, it makes listings and pitches a lot more compelling; it also portrays sellers who are embracing advanced technology in a positive light. With virtual reality, people do not have to repeatedly welcome or visit strangers, and they are not disrupted during the search process. Although it may seem reclusive, the reality is that many people prefer to view properties at their own time and at their own pace; virtual reality technology gives people more freedom to do so.

What Are the Benefits of Using Virtual Reality in Today’s Real Estate Market?

Although virtual reality has been an effective way for real estate to adapt during COVID, it will no doubt reach a stage where it will become a permanent part of the industry. Many sectors are choosing to embrace various digital means and advanced technology. Virtual tours and virtual staging technologies have the capability to benefit both potential buyers and developers. But for what reasons, really?

Easier Viewing

A benefit of virtual tours is that prospective buyers and renters can view properties directly from their own personal devices like computers, tablets, and phones. These tours can create a sense of ownership where viewers can envision themselves in the space. To which an added perk is that clients do not necessarily have to see the physical place to be convinced to strike a deal. This also allows real estate agents to have a 24/7 open house, with no restrictions on viewings or time clashes – ultimately, maximizing the client pool [7].

Saves Time

Through the use of virtual tours and virtual staging, the search and assessment of a property can be done on a much quicker basis. As mentioned beforehand, clients will no longer need to travel to a property’s physical site in order to get a feel for the property [8]. This saves time for both clients and realtors. On one hand, clients will no longer have to spend enormous amounts of time and energy viewing various properties. And on the other, realtors can showcase the same property at the same time through means of virtual reality.

This is also a great bonus for those who are looking for a property at another time zone and/or across the world. They can view properties at the comfort of their own, at a time that is most convenient for them.

Cut Down on Costs

Developing feature-rich 3D virtual tours may seem expensive but think of the investment in traditional real estate marketing. Not only do you need to stage properties, but you also need to provide high-quality pictures and lots of print materials, especially for new properties entering the market. In actuality, virtual reality cuts down on the costs for a lot of the marketing materials. That is because, making a guided video tour around a property today requires just a panoramic camera and basic rendering[9]. And at this day and age of modern technology, these means are not as complex as they used to be.

Today's Real Estate Market
Photo by Bradley Hook on Pexels.com

The Final Rundown

Sometimes, it takes more than just one viewing for clients to fully convince themselves that the property they saw, is the one they truly want. Virtual reality technology allows potential buyers to view the property – once, twice, or as many times as they like. Virtual reality provides a more immersive and true-to-life experience of viewing properties without the inconvenience and time commitment of physically viewing the properties. While technology alone cannot sell homes, it can certainly help buyers make decisions more quickly with more accurate information, resulting in less hesitation and reduced buyers’ remorse[10].

Consumers are now, more than ever, wanting to see homes on their own, without the presence and involvement of agents. Meanwhile, agents want to leverage this technology in order to create more traction with their sales. For these reasons, the demand for virtual reality technology has greatly increased, and will only continue to increase moving forward.

Some people don’t like change. We think change is good. Whether we purposely try to change, or situations force us to change, change is the one thing in life that is constant and inevitable. In this case, the change is transformative and gives us a sense of what the future will be like in the real estate market.


[1] https://www.avantica.com/blog/ar/vr-technology-connects-buyers-with-homes-in-the-real-estate-market

[2] https://www.realtrends.com/5-ways-ar-and-vr-are-transforming-the-real-estate-sector/

[3] https://www.propertywire.com/blog/how-the-real-estate-market-can-leverage-virtual-reality-post-pandemic/

[4] https://www.propertywire.com/blog/how-the-real-estate-market-can-leverage-virtual-reality-post-pandemic/

[5] https://www.propertywire.com/blog/how-the-real-estate-market-can-leverage-virtual-reality-post-pandemic/

[6] https://www.propertywire.com/blog/how-the-real-estate-market-can-leverage-virtual-reality-post-pandemic/

[7] https://www.propertywire.com/blog/how-the-real-estate-market-can-leverage-virtual-reality-post-pandemic/

[8] https://www.fool.com/millionacres/real-estate-market/real-estate-innovation/virtual-reality-in-real-estate/

[9] https://rubygarage.org/blog/virtual-reality-in-real-estate#article_title_7

[10] https://www.avantica.com/blog/ar/vr-technology-connects-buyers-with-homes-in-the-real-estate-market

Your company already has a recycling program, has invested in training around minimizing waste of all kinds, and routinely seeks to purchase materials and services ethically. But is that really enough? Could you be pushing the boundaries a little bit more to do your part in creating a future where we aren’t worried about sustainability?

The answer is a tough one because most of us want to do all we can to ensure future generations are left with a planet that is healthy. But there may be ways you can do even more using technologies you previously wouldn’t have considered. 

How VR and AR Can Be Used to Further Corporate Sustainability Initiatives

Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) likely weren’t what you guessed when you thought of technology to improve corporate sustainability initiatives. But these two related technologies are some of the best for helping corporations to reduce their environmental footprint and increase their long term sustainability. 

Sustainability encompasses more than the environment though. There are four pillars to sustainability:

  1. Human
  2. Social
  3. Environmental
  4. Economic

When evaluating the different corporate sustainability initiatives that your organization could invest in, be sure to look at all four pillars. Human sustainability relates to how business activities impact communities around the world, and ensuring that all humans involved in the services and products provided are supported, especially in terms of health and wellbeing.

Social and economic sustainability are closely tied. Both are in support of equality and the rights of all people, as well as the environment. Economic sustainability looks to improve and maintain the standard of living, and to utilize assets as efficiently as possible. And lastly, environmental sustainability, which most are familiar with, is ensuring that businesses are doing everything they can to ensure their impact on the planet itself is not doing any harm to the ecosystems or environment. 

Here are three different examples of how VR and AR could be used to further your sustainability commitments.

1. VR Can Bring the Overseas Suppliers to You

Living through the COVID era of remote work, it’s now easier to see how people could be employed, from their homes, without needing to travel. Extend that even further to how business meetings are conducted, and there would also be limited requirements for in-person meetings when it comes to new suppliers, new partnerships and forming teams of external contractors.

VR can be used to take the current Zoom-intensive remote workforce to the next level. By immersing people into a different environment, they are able to “meet” with new business contacts in a way that is very close to in-person meetings. All the while, there’s been no air travel, no car rentals, and tons of time saved. All of these efficiencies are benefits to sustainability. Jeff Ross, VP of Engineering at MasterpieceVR describes the technology and its benefits eloquently:

“VR is a technology that allows people to work in a completely immersive environment either individually or collaboratively. As such, it is much more suitable for remote working than existing tech like teleconferencing and WebEx. People can share their work and collaborate effectively in a workspace unconstrained by the need for physical spaces.” 

–Jeff Ross – Vice President of Engineering at MasterpieceVR

In addition to the environmental benefits of VR in the workplace, the social and human sustainability pillars are also deeply impacted. No longer do cities need to accommodate skyscrapers and transportation options that are not helping the environment. Cities can actually become more human-centric. 

“Cities could focus infrastructure development on social living rather than on office space. We could build a global workforce without a single building. You could work wherever you have internet connectivity.”

–Jeff Ross – Vice President of Engineering at MasterpieceVR

2. Realistic Portrayals of Climate Change via VR

VR is already being used to raise awareness of the environmental impacts of both positive and negative actions. The technology allows users to be immersed in another world, where they can visualize firsthand the impacts of our environmental sustainability initiatives, and what will happen if we don’t commit to preserving our planet and doing business more sustainably.

If your enterprise is committed to planting trees to offset its environmental footprint, or is donating to charities that will help clean up oceans and do good in global communities, you could be using VR to drive home how important these steps are today. To show employees, leadership and shareholders the results of your corporate sustainability initiatives, VR can show how the world will change. Nihanth Cherukuru explains:

“The inherent immersiveness of VR combined with the realism of AR can help us connect with people at a visceral level, thereby highlighting the importance of sustainable living.”

–Nihanth Cherukuru – Project Scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)

As an example, a few large enterprises and organizations teamed up to show how the Rimbang Baling wildlife reserve in Indonesia would be impacted by tree planting initiatives. VR let people see rainforest conservation in action. The project was completed in 2017 by the WWF, Google, Lenovo and the ArtScience Museum.

Corporate Sustainability Initiatives

3. AR Will Help Train Employees More Sustainably

AR can be used in large training exercises, where employees can experience a near-real world scenario. Getting new hires as close as possible to the real thing, without needing to immerse them right away into the job will help to prevent costly mistakes in businesses (aiming to reduce unnecessary expenditures and thus improve economic sustainability). 

Big businesses are already using AR to train their employees in controlled environments. For instance, WalMart and Chipotle are both using AR to train their employees right now. AR allows employees to train for their jobs without materials, consumables and office space needing to be purchased. Environmental sustainability is also met by limiting the production and consumption of resources.

VR and AR Will Be a Part of the Corporate Future

There are many articles about how VR and AR can be used to further business’s bottom line and to stay ahead of the competition. But the heart of the matter is that technology should also be doing good in our society, both for our efficiencies in resource/capital management at work and in our efforts to leave the planet better than we found it for future generations.

Virtual Reality or VR is a fast-growing sector of the technology industry, but before you pass this off as a fad or something that’s only being used for gaming, read on. VR is not just for video games anymore. Big business is using the tech to put their workers into the situations they need, virtually. 

The pandemic has forced many people to work from home. How do you get people into the same room when there are social distancing requirements? How can an employee help another troubleshoot a problem on a manufacturing shop floor when they aren’t allowed in the building? How can people receive hands-on experience during this time? The answer: VR in the workplace.

While the idea of VR may feel a bit futuristic to some and cause some fear and uncertainty, the real-world potential for it as a tool is impressive. Just like any other cutting-edge technology, when applied to a particular business use case and industry by the development team, VR has the potential to save enterprises millions of dollars. 

Beyond its projected value into the next decade, VR is already being used successfully across industries. VR can prevent expensive design failures before production or physical prototyping, and it brings with it the ability to test in a virtual environment. VR isn’t just a method of simulating an environment though. It actually allows businesses to collect massive amounts of data and identify strategic insights from the data they collect. This article will detail just a few of the VR use cases in different industries right now.

VR Use Cases for Your Sales Team

The architecture and home design industry has been using VR for a long period of time. You see it on every home improvement program that shows a virtual walkthrough of how a home will look after renovations. This same idea is valuable to many other industries too. With the advancements in VR, instead of using the technology for a home walkthrough, you could provide a digital showroom experience. Your customers could use VR to:

  • Interact with your products, getting up close and personal
  • View products from all angles by moving around them
  • Talk to staff in real-time and as close to in-person as possible
  • Shop without the worry of being in crowded spaces, especially in light of the global pandemic

Because the VR environment is brought to life through programming, it’s less expensive to improve the customer experience on the fly. With the data collected from the first VR code release, you can change the virtual representation of your space using a keyboard and dedicated programmers/engineers instead of a team of builders, designers, and project managers. You could even have the VR experience customized to each particular client when they log on. 

VR Use Cases Future is now. Handsome young man in VR headset gesturing and smiling while sitting in creative office

VR Use Cases for Product Prototyping

VR is also frequently used for rapid prototyping. Many of the largest airplane manufacturers have been using VR to finesse the details of plane design virtually before building physical models. Engineers can then test endless iterations of a design without the cost of actually mocking up a physical version, saving them millions of dollars not just on construction costs but on safety precautions, testing, and staffing. 

Design prototyping using VR can be performed in an office. There’s no need for a massive hangar facility to store prototypes within, which also results in additional real estate costs. VR, by extension, reduces the strain on the environment because fewer raw materials and resources are consumed to build prototypes, heat large spaces and power workshops.

Consider all the different industries that could put this virtual prototyping to use, such as:

  • Furniture designers mocking up sample pieces to receive initial feedback before purchasing materials
  • Car manufacturers laying out the interior of the cabin for the best driving experience
  • Urban planning could even allow for walkthroughs of entire neighbourhoods based on the drawings created

VR Use Cases for Training Specialized Professionals

VR trains pilots and astronauts in a much more cost-effective way than in-flight training, or even specialized simulators. Flight simulators, unfortunately, are still extremely expensive. The technology that powers them is quite realistic, requiring large computational resources and expert simulation engineers to run the apparatus, which typically takes up an entire room. 

In the past, training simulators were only available in larger tech centres. But with VR, there’s no need for a hulking physical apparatus. A pair of goggles can simulate the training environment anywhere in the world where you can access the internet. A VR system like an Oculus Quest 2 is affordable for enterprises and can be shipped in a small box. 

But VR isn’t just for the aviation industry now. Doctors are using it to practice high-risk medical procedures. And more recently, Walmart used it to help employees prepare for the high volume of Black Friday shopping. The potential for training applications is limitless. 

VR Use Cases a lady is wearing vr headset while touching an augmented screen in front of her

VR Training Use Cases for Improved Health and Safety

VR training is a massive asset in industries with significant safety risks, such as construction or the oil and gas industry. VR simulations can give workers a much broader range of experiences, so they’re more prepared, calm, and have practiced how to manage an emergency as safely as possible. 

In difficult or risky situations, where a repair is required on an oil rig or at the top of a scaffolding on a large construction project, minimizing the number of workers at risk is essential. Using VR goggles, the engineers and management off-site can evaluate the problem, the risk and the possible solution without needing to be in harm’s way. Then, one professional can be trained on the same scenario in VR before attempting the solution in real life.

Current VR Technology Is Just the Tip of the Iceberg

When it comes to VR, the sky is really the limit for businesses. It’s a perfect solution in today’s climate to: 

  • Give your customers next-level shopping options virtually
  • Provide your staff with tools to design and create while out of the office
  • Training employees from the comfort and safety of their own home

But then imagine combining this technology with others. A customized shopping experience using VR could be assisted by a chatbot within the software that not only helps, just as a human sales associate would but also collects data on your sales processes. 

If you’re curious about chatbot technology, or how VR might disrupt your industry, reach out to talk to one of our cutting-edge consultants today. We’d love to hear about your VR use case.