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Five ways virtual and augmented reality will revolutionise real estate written by RoofandFloor, published in The Hindu. August 8, 2017

Being home is a priceless experience &ndash one of comfort, security and personalised living. When an individual purchases real estate for personal use, he or she doesn&rsquot just buy land and construction. A large part of the purchase involves the expectation that the home will promise a specific experience. However, until recently, meeting that expectation has always proved to be a bit of a gamble. Enter virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR).

 

Virtual reality is a computer-generated simulation of real-life environments that are primarily achieved with the use of headsets. When worn, the user&rsquos vision and hearing are stimulated to provide realistic experiences.

 

Augmented reality, on the other hand, is the superimposition of computer-generated images on existing environments to make them more interactive. It is utilised in the form of applications for mobile devices.

 

While VR and AR find wide applicability across industries, they are poised to be game changers for the real estate industry in India. They allow prospective home buyers to view properties as finished products even when they are actually under construction through 360-degree, 3D videos. Touted to be the next big thing in realty, VR and AR currently find the highest demand in the technology-driven city of Bengaluru compared to other cities in India.

 

Here are some ways VR and AR are revolutionising the realty business in India:

 

Enhanced perspective

 

At the heart of it, both allow home seekers to see what properties would look like when they are ready to be lived in. This means that real estate companies who have projects with construction in progress can provide an accurate idea of what the homes would look like when they&rsquore completed.

 

From checking the amount of natural light in rooms to deciding if a particular piece of furniture would match the rest of the interiors, VR and AR can help visualise homes from various angles and leave almost nothing to the imagination.

 

Heightened customer experiences

 

Employing VR or AR can greatly boost customer experiences. Traditional 2D images have never been specific enough when one is considering a home purchase. Both VR and AR take away the ambiguity of what living in such homes may feel like. The interactive nature of this technology improves engagement with prospective buyers and facilitates higher real estate sales.

 

Technological ease

 

One doesn&rsquot need to be technologically savvy to enjoy one of these immersive experiences. AR can be accessed by simply downloading an application on mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets. This facilitates easy adoption and improved customer experiences.

 

Marketing magic

 

The use of AR and VR can make marketing practices a lot more sophisticated. For starters, when deliveries meet expectations, customer satisfaction can significantly rise. Happy customers also have the facility to recommend projects and properties to their contacts improving referral rates.

 

Also, the applications can provide data-driven insights to in-house teams to provide clarity on what tactics are working and what needs to be improved.

 

NRI purchases

 

VR and AR also allow builders to target overseas buyers who may be interested in real estate investments back home. Since location and time constraints don&rsquot apply, NRIs or foreign investors can view the property from where they are at their convenience. They don&rsquot need to worry about arranging for site visits to get a clear idea.

 

VR and AR are currently in nascent stages. There are some kinks to be worked out such as technology costs, gaps in projections, and occasional experiential hiccups such as nausea with VR headsets. However, with improved sophisticated and user-friendly features, higher numbers of real estate companies will invest in this technology to meet the evolving preferences of tech-savvy homebuyers.

 

This article is contributed by RoofandFloor, part of KSL Digital Ventures Pvt. Ltd., from The Hindu Group